Once in a while I like to give myself a break and indulge in amazing food that ranks high on the carb Richter scale. These moments are few and far between so when they do occur, I like to make sure the cheat day is going to be worth it. A couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the newest restaurant addition to Dundas St West in Toronto, Cafe Bar Pasta and let’s just say I left with no regrets or carb remorse.
The quaint space, which has exposed brick walls, an enormous cork wall, large carerra-marble bar and an artistic bold mural that flanks the wall; used to be an insurance office belonging to owner Tom Bielecki’s father-in-law. The beautiful bar area, where I had the pleasure of meeting C.B.P’s Master Sommelier, is where patrons can enjoy specialty cocktails and vino fans can sip on a hand picked selection of local, premium estate, and single vineyard wines – which are all on tap by the way. These wines are all kegged without filtration, fining or unnecessary preservatives. I happily enjoyed a few glasses of full bodied reds, which tasted so delish and were poured through the most advanced wine-on-tap system.
Above: Homemade Rigatoni noodles being pressed and Head Chef Jay Scaife prepping the Bucatini Amatriciana
My Godparents are Italian so I’m a self proclaimed pasta snob because I am used to getting the homemade “good stuff”…and can easily detect the difference between store bought and fresh hand pressed. I have to give credit when it’s due…these guys really know how to throw down in the kitchen with their pasta dishes. After eagerly stuffing my face with passed canapés consisting of Tuna Tataki, Passata & Parmesan Meatballs and Ostrich Tartar; I somehow had room to sample the four courses of pasta dishes that were served next. Head Chef Jay Scaife and Sous Chef Eddie Vargas treated us to some of the best pasta I’ve ever had in my life…
To start off, we had the Bucatini Amatriciana, which is a bit more thick and dense version of a Spaghetti noodle with amazing texture may I add and was accompanied with a simple tomato sauce. But as simple as the dish was, it packed a ton of flavour. I am not really a big fan of duck…actually I don’t like duck at all but the way the Rigatoni looked, there was no way I wasn’t trying it. These thick noodles were lathered in shredded duck leg, five spice corn creme and chanterelle. Not to be outdone by the savoury Braised Short Rib Ravioli with white truffle (aka pure heaven), parsley and burnt orange. BUT…if you really know your pasta and are a fan of Carbonara, then I am leaving you with no choice but to go here and try out the Tagliatelle Carbonara, which is topped with pancetta, pecorino romano, grana padano, egg yolk and chopped parsley. Are you drooling yet? I am…so much so, I literally stopped in the middle of typing this post to make a reservation for Friday evening!
What To Expect: The menu is split into three sections; First Taste (appetizers) $8-$15, Second Taste which includes the Bucatini, Carbonara and Rigatoni dishes $16-$22 and their Created Taste that features Roast Lamb, Branzino and the Braised Short Rib Ravioli $22-$28 *Gluten free pasta is also available upon request
Where: 1588 Dundas Street West. Toronto 416.534.4794
When: TUES-WEDNES 6PM-10:30PM, THURS-SAT 6PM-12:00 AM