It’s interesting to see how different Queen West versus Queen East are like in terms of restaurant and local shops. For me, Queen West is the older and hippier sibling, whereas Queen East is the quieter and younger counterpart (I secretly hope it stays this way).
As a foodie, I’m quite embarrassed to admit that I’ve only recently begun to explore more of Toronto’s East End. With cheaper restaurants and much more unique local shops, Queen East is new IT place to be! In terms of hidden gem in the area, Core Restaurant is definitely in that list and I highly recommend everyone to check it out.
Core opened back in late March and they offer contemporary Canadian cuisine focusing on tasting menu (though they also offer a la carte as well). The team consists of GM/Sommelier/Partner Mark Moffatt (ex-Bosk, STK, Crush wine bar), Chef de Cuisine Lewis Robinson (ex-Omaw, Canoe, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park) and Executive Chef Hyun Jung Kim (ex-George, Globe bistro).
As their tasting menu reflects the availability of the ingredients in the surrounding farms and changes as accordingly, what I had here might no longer be available anymore. Both my friend and I each got the 5 courses-tasting menu for $65 (now the priced at $70), these dishes also available as a la carte and comes with bigger portion.
Below were the dishes that came with my tasting menu:
Left: Ryerson Farms Radish dipped in fermented radish butter w/ maldon salt; pear vinegar.
Right: Pickled muscles on a pumpkin seed chip and fermented pear.
Course #1: Aged Beef Carpaccio (150 days) w/ wild fennel, spruce vinegar, crispy shallots & mustard flower
Course #2: Duck terrine, duck liver mousse & confit w/ shaved & poached rhubarb and hibiscus leaves.
Course #3: White asparagus spruce vinaigrette, bay leaf oil, puffed grains & pork jowl
Course #4: Cod with fava beans, glazed carrots & Crème fraîche
Course #5: Aged pork tenderloin, blood puree, asparagus, pork belly, Tokyo turnip.
Dessert: Chocolate Gateau, chocolate & espresso cremeaux, chocolate cake crumble, home made chocolate espresso ice cream.
I was glad that they gave us only one portion of this dessert as it was quite heavy – being that inside the chocolate dome is filled with a rich & dense dark chocolate mousse. For me I would have preferred a lighter dessert but that was only because both my friend and I were stuffed after the fifth course. Otherwise the chocolate gateau was not too sweet and it was a great way to end the meal.
You might think that Core restaurant is a fine dining place that will attract the pretentious crowds, but I assure you the latter is not the case here. There is this minimalistic and charming vibe to the restaurant, and the big window that let in a lot of light which bathes the dining room with a bit of warmth.
The overall meal was delightful and I cannot stop raving about the restaurant to everyone. Although the dishes sounded simple, with an immense amount of attention to detail for each dish, Core definitely delivered on the flavour complexity. Combined with impeccable service, I dare to say Core will one day appear in the Top 100 Restaurant List in Canada.