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Friday, November 22, 2013

[Toronto] Cafe Bar Pasta

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLocation Review
1588 Dundas St W
Toronto, Ontario

Cafe Bar Pasta (@Cafebarpasta) is located just at Dundas and dufferin, in a welcoming little space. Just as the name would lead you to believe, their modus operandi are coffees, pastas, and drinks. Luckily for me, I got to experience all three at a media preview dinner!

Passed around before dinner were sample offerings of on-menu appetizers. The Two Tartar consisting of an Ostrich and Seabream tartar were particularly memorable.

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Tuna Tataki - grapefruit chilli marinade, lemon aoili

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Two Tartar - citrus, frisee, puffed caper ostrich, grainy mustard, toasted walnut, wild boar crisp

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Meatballs - passata and parmesan

In the middle of the dining room, a demonstration of handcranked pasta happens throughout the night. There's nothing like freshmade pasta!

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Freshly Made Pasta

And now on to dinner. In an adjoining room, an open kitchen with a chefs table welcomes us. Chef Jay Scaife(@chefjayscaife) walks us through as he prepares each dish for tasting. He has so much knowledge and passion, it gives you a new appreciation for even the simplest plate of noodles

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Showing us the pasta

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Tossing the Bucatini

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Bucatini Amatriciana

Up first is the Bucatini Amatriciana. These were thick chewy noodles with a hollow center which really helped that spicy marinara thoroughly enrobe the pasta. The spaghetti lover in me was completely satisfied.

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Rigatoni - shredded duck leg, five spice corn creme, chanterelle

Up next is the Rigatoni. A nice sweetness from the corn, crunch from the crispy duck, and a slight dash of cinnamon. In a way it felt like Thanksgiving with every bite!

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Ravioli - braised short rib, white truffle, bone marrow, parsley, burnt orange

The most savory of the four pasta dishes we had that night, the Ravioli is rich in all flavour profiles. The duck filling is well seasoned and complimented by an equally flavourful orange sauce. While not my favourite of the night, it definitely had its merits.

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Tagliatelle Cabonara

Perhaps they saved the best for last because this Tagliatelle Cabonara was in my opinion the standout dish. While it wasn't a hard hit of flavours like the first 3 dishes, I actually enjoyed it the most. Chef Scaife describes the Cabonara sauce at Cafe Bar Pasta to be more traditional than most, avoiding the use of cream to create a smooth texture. Instead, a perfect balance of egg yolk and cheese is used to create a nice creamy coat of sauce. Simple yet creamy and tasty!

After dinner, a selection of desserts was served.
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Desserts! - White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake and Cheese Danish

The Cheese Danish was my preference for dessert of the night. Can't go wrong with cheese and flaky pastry!

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White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes

This is a lighter cheesecake in terms of both density and flavour. Not too heavy a pumpkin flavour, and with the cinnamon and caramel its enough to make it taste like fall.

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

A gooey rich confection with a hint of a sea salt. These truffles are normally served complimentary alongside their wide selection of coffees and espressos.

And while the meal here satisfied many a pasta craving, the "bar" part of their name is not to be unmentioned. One of the greatest highlights of my night was experiencing the excitement and appreciation that the sommeliers have to serving great wines. A good meal is made even better when the right wine is had alongside!

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Wine on Tap

While they have many bottles of wine (many stored in a cellar spelling out "WINE"), more interestingly is they have many wines on tap. Tapped straight from the barrel, the wines were all easy drinking and complimented the food well.

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A fresh pour of vino, straight from the keg!

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The most notable of the wines we tried was the ontap Rosé from Pearl Morsette Estate Winery. The sommelier described it as "wine the way it should be" without any additives that are included as part of the modern wine making processes. Its quite an interesting wine, and you can definitely smell and taste the difference from the natural fermenting process.

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience at Cafe Bar Pasta, and would not hesitate to come back for their fresh made pastas and wide selection of wines. A great little spot! :)

**This meal was provided complimentary, but as always the opinions expressed here are my own**

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