HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE STAFF AT DELECTABLY PIGGING OUT! 🙂 I hope everyone’s having an amazing time, whatever they’re celebrating. I’ve been very busy with exams and the like, but since I’m done, I’ve got a few good eats to share with you all that you’re going to love. This place in particular was recommended to me by fellow staff member TheOtherAnnie. She may grace us with even more photos! (Rejoice!)
Location: 519 Church Street
Price: $$ For what they serve it’s pretty affordable, more on this later in the post 😉
Phone #: 416-335-6781
This is a small restaurant. It’s only got about 20 seats, though I think they have another section somewhere else for larger functions. The tables are pretty communal, so sometimes you can sit with people you don’t know. It’s a little bit of a hidden gem — a few tips for finding it! Get off at Wellesley Station, walk up to Church. It’s hidden within a community center which is directly across from “The Beer Store.”
As Fabarnak’s website explains their menu, “at least 55% of everything listed is sourced from local farmers and producers “. We always hear about locally-sourced stuff these days though, especially on Food Network Restaurant makeover shows. So is this any good? For Fabarnak, I think their focus on local, fresh ingredients has been really good for them! They’ve managed to have some great food for fairly affordable prices. At lunch, you can get a “Square Peg” that’s $10. Served in a bento box, the contents of the box change every day according to their daily specials. They also have a more expensive variant that has more for $15. They’ve also got daily soups and entrees! With the non-appetizer items, you can choose between a smaller or larger portion, both appropriately priced.
Also bad quality image now that I look at it. When I went, they were serving (From top left, clockwise) warm wild rice salad, roasted vegetables (a root vegetable on this occasion) with boar bacon, a mini carrot cake, and braised reindeer shortribs. While the wild rice salad wasn’t exactly to my taste (I don’t particularly like certain combinations of herbs that include heavy doses of cumin), the other items were all extraordinarily delectable. The roasted vegetables had just the right amount of texture to them while remaining buttery, probably due to the delicious bits of boar bacon (leaner than regular pork) scattered throughout. I usually don’t eat carrot cake, but this had just the right amount of sweetness, a nice smooth cream cheese topping, and it was the perfect size for a one bite finish. The reindeer ribs (playful, since it’s the holidays) were succulent and juicy, coming with a red wine reduction that was simply awesome.
Bone marrow brule! Delicious, but be prepared to get your hands dirty. This is a pretty interesting dish actually. You’ve got to really dig your knife into the hole to scoop out the marrow so you can spread it over the bread, kind of like some sort of butter. You can also add the greens or the mushrooms to add more textures and a little bit of flavor variation to the dish. I know marrow LOOKS frightening and it might not be for the faint of heart, but I assure you, it was pretty good! It actually does have a buttery taste and texture, along with a bit of a meaty taste as well. Definitely worth trying once, even though it’s a bit of a hassle.
Your hands WILL get dirty trying to eat this $10 beef brisket sandwich. the picked pepper sauce will see to that! Fortunately this brisket sandwich is so delicious that it makes up for it. The beef is tender, not tight and chewy, and the creaminess of the sauce really helps smooth the whole thing over. The bread used for the sandwich is great too, with a crispy exterior and a soft, fluffy interior.
This came with a soup too! I opted to be crazy and try their daily soup, the parsnip and pear.
If there’s one thing I don’t really like about Fabarnak, it’s their soups. Maybe they’re just too much for my refined palette, but the flavors for this one didn’t really agree with it. It was sweet and mushy, kind of like an apple sauce. I’m 100% sure their more standard soups, like the tomato bisque, the chowder, and the field mushroom soup would be great — maybe these crazy flavors weren’t meant for me. My friend tried another one of their crazier soups (Root vegetable and Star Anise) and echoed my thoughts.
Final Thoughts: Here’s the thing. Sometimes I bash restaurants when I know they’re really bad or something, but I can tell that these soups are probably just not my cup of tea — that is, I’m sure other people would really enjoy the different flavors. I may be a little too traditionalist to go with a star anise soup though! Besides that, Fabarnak serves up some great local grub. You guys better find it before too many other people do. It’s really crowded! Play it safe the first few times and then experiment a little. I’ve already been here a couple times and hopefully TheOtherAnnie can give us her thoughts as well. 🙂 For me, this is a 8.5/10.