Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ufficio - Coastal Italian Inspired

UFFICIO Toronto - Inspired by Coastal Italy

What:  Dinner with Natalie (Cooking Quidnunc)
When:  December 30, 2016
Where: Ufficio Restaurant
Location: 1214 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON
Tel. 416.535.8888
Social: @ufficiotoronto

I joined my blogger friend Natalie (Cooking Quidnunc) for a tasting dinner at Ufficio Restaurant translated in Italian to "office",  on Dundas West in Toronto's Little Portugal.  Ufficio has been open for about a year.  With a new Chef in the kitchen,  Francesco Venditti, formerly of Jamie's Italian Kitchen and Bar Buca,  has developed a new menu for Ufficio.

We got there just as they were getting ready to open, we usually like to go early for dinner before crowds of people.  We were greeted by John who directed us to a lovely blue booth next to the bar.

Ufficio is a really beautiful neighbourhood space that is very warm and cozy.  While the lighting isn't as food flattering in the evening it was very people flattering.   Ufficio is a Pescatarian sustainably sourced seafood inspired by the Italian coastal towns.  The recipes are Italian inspired and made with Canadian ingredients it's like an Italian transplanted in Canada missing home.

The first dish we tried was the Tuna Crudo with hazelnuts and celery leaves.  It was the Crudo del Giorno.  It was very light and fresh.

The blow your mind dish was the Gamberi Fritti ($16) a squid ink battered striped prawn over a spicy aioli with a dusting of sweet smoked paprika.  The smell of this dish and the look was incredible.  Hard to photograph because of the squid ink but hopefully you can get the picture.  Crunchy outside but tender shrimp outside with loads of smokey flavour.

The interesting dish of the night was the Arugula fettuccini ($33) with BC striped prawns and crab in a crab reduction.  Nice fresh pasta with a lighter touch than most pastas.

The dish we really wanted to finish but didn't have any more room for were these Brussel Sprouts.
This is one of their seasonal vegetables.  It was oven roasted and caramelized and drizzled with honey and parmesan cheese and hazelnuts.  A really interesting combination.  The honey takes away any bitterness in the Brussel sprouts.

The freshest tasting dish was the Zuppa Di Pesce Allabruzzese ($29)  In a sweet fresh tomato brodo laced with Mussels, Clams, Rainbow Trout and BC striped prawns.  The broth was amazing and light.

 John explained to us that they like to showcase their Digestif (Bitters) for after dinner along with or in place of dessert.  He gave us a sample of one of them.  They have an assortment and have a special deal to sample a selection of them.  This one had cinnamon and a few other things.  Natalie had never tried it before and I tried to explain what they were like but I think you have to try it to see for yourself.  It's not for everyone.  It's a bit like an alcoholic strong cough syrup.  It's very concentrated and you feel the warming through your digestive track after you take a swig.  It's meant to aid in digestion.

And to top if all off even though we were thoroughly stuffed we wanted to try one of the desserts to complete the meal and see what they have on their dessert selection.   We chose the Panna Cotta which was like a take on a Tiramisu.  With an espresso panna cotta topped with cocoa and a Marscapone quenel and biscuits on the side.  It was kind of like a jiggly creamy creme caramel, tiramisu, jello combination.   Close your eyes and taste it and it tastes exactly like Tiramisu.  A really great after dinner dessert if you want to skip the coffees.

Ufficio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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