We are so blessed to have friends that love food and wine as much us we do. Last week we had a Saturday night dinner date with such friends. Spencer loves the adventure of dining and Kelly although a non drinker, is willing to try most things. We always have a fabulous evening when we get together.
Trying to find a new place to eat is a challenge in our neighbourhood so I started the hunt just outside the area we normally frequent. I'm not sure why we have never been to Campagnolo on Dundas but I was determined to get a reservation and ask to sit at the Chef Bar.
After being married for 36 years, the conversation on a dinner date can sometimes be sparse so we love the entertainment of "Kitchen Theatre". Spencer and Kelly love this kind of evening as well.....so tick box 1 and 2. One of the other things we love when we go out to dine is a tasting menu and flight of wines. Because Campagnolo's menu is relatively compact, we could order almost everything and create our own tasting menu. As for the wines, we all have similar likes so we ordered a lighter Barbaresco for the apps and a full body Valpolicella for the mains.
Firstly, I want to say that the complete staff are amazing, friendly and knowledgable. Sometimes you go to a restaurant and the food can be great but the staff have challenges, that can determine if you ever return. At Campagnolo, it seemed that any of the staff knew where we were in our dinner and could speak details of both the food and the wine as well as anticipate your needs. Kudos to Craig Harding (chef/owner) for providing a great experience for his customers.
Personalized Tasting Menu
House made Baguette and Gougeres
These olives were a collection of Italian olives, with citrus peel, olive oil and dried herbs. The citrus lightened and brighter these addictive morsels.
SMOKED VENISON TARTARE pickled mushrooms, sauce gribiche & sourdough crostini
I love a great tartar and this ranks right up there with my favourites. I think it was the texture for the miniature cubes of venison along with the tanginess of the mushrooms that won me over. It was perfectly seasoned.
OLIVE OIL POACHED ALBACORE TUNA taggiasche olive, blood orange and frisee
The saltiness of the olives and the citrus and acid of the blood oranges was the perfect compliment to the delicate flavour of the Tuna.
FRESH BURRATA CHESE with roasted grapes and toasted bread
I love the taste of warm grapes. I have never had them that way before but would certainly look for ways that I can incorporate them at my next dinner party.
ROASTED BONE MARROW with Oxtail marmalade and Plums
The Marrow was cooked to a firm but yet wobbly texture that made it easy for spreading on toast, and the Oxtail marmalade made it like a protein butter and jam. Yummmmm!
a Barbaresco that was light enough to compliment but not over power.
This is the house signature dish, although simple, the tomato based sauce took us back to some of the most memorable meals we had in Italy.
ONTARIO RICOTTA AGNOLOTTI cookstown beets, coppa, flowering kale & salata
Although we didn't order this dish, it came compliments of the kitchen staff. The ricotta filling was smooth and well seasoned inside pockets of tender delicate pasta.
PAPARDELLE WITH WILD BOAR BOLOGNESE rapini & grana padano
The pasta at Campagnolo is truly amazing. All three dishes were perfectly al dente and yet tender which can sometimes be difficult for in house made pasta. the wild boar is a traditional Tuscan dish that didn't disappoint. with it's robust flavours.
ROASTED CORNISH HEN heirloom cauliflower, toasted hazelnuts & brussels
The hen was super moist with a beautiful jus drizzled over brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Not too many people like brussel sprouts but I think this dish might change a few minds.
SLOW COOKED BEEF SHORT RIB scamorza pomme purée, black trumpet conserva & dandelion
This was my favourite dish. the beef just melted as it had been sous vide for 36 hours then grilled to create a crusty exterior full of flavour.
An amazing Valpolicella that was superior.
This was a fun evening with great friend that needs to be repeated.