Mar 6, 2009

Festival of Chefs 2009: Mistura

Breemer and O-reagano's quest for Festival of Chefs continued with a visit to Festival regular Massimo Capra (who appears on May 9) at Mistura...

Sitting unassumingly on Dupont between Bedford and Avenue Road is Mistura. An elegant establishment, open only for dinner, it offers a warm and intimate atmosphere that was perfect for a cold night. Nice dark wood was accompanied with many mirrors. A great thing about the large mirror spanning the entire back wall was that it allowed people who were seated with their backs to the room an opportunity to still see the space… and people watch.

A cast of super friendly staff, all of whom beamed wonderful smiles and stopped for friendly banter. Perhaps the friendliest of all was Executive Chef Massimo Capra who not only came to chat with us about his adoration of Cheese Boutique, but also stopped at many of the other tables to check in on how everyone was enjoying their meals.

We began with splitting the bufala mozzarella appetizer. This ultra-fresh cheese (from CheeseB, naturally) simply melted in your mouth, while we were both caught off guard by the enjoyable crunchiness of the fried chickpeas.

Fresh Bufala Mozzerella and the concentrated flavours of baked tomato

Next we had the sardine “in saor” with soft pickled sardines, sweet and sour onions and endive salad. Massimo told us this dish was a traditional Venetian recipe.

Sardine “in saor”: sweet, sour, and salty!

For a tentacle treat we tried the grilled octopus-- served with two magnificent looking tentacles draped over a bed of potato salad with olives, capers, sweet white onions and a lemon dressing.

Tender grilled octopus

O-reagano had a scrumptious black truffle gnocchi dish, a hearty yet delicate pasta humming with the subtle aroma of truffle.

Creamy bowlful of comfort

Breemer opted for a pasta dish as well, however this one was with hand-cut spaghetti, Nova Scotia lobster and garlic and topped off with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Hand-cut Spaghetti and Nova Scotia Lobster

Offered on the dessert menu was a cheese board with specialty cheeses selected by the chef and served with mustara di cremona, truffle honey, preserved fruit and walnut bread. But this night we opted for chocolate over cheese…

The pièce de résistance was dessert. A warm chocolate cake overflowing with rich flavour, our jaws dropped when it was brought to the table. Cascading on top of the cake was a silky espresso white chocolate sauce, while infused inside was liquid chocolate that gushed forth with every bite. To the side lay a pretty arrangement of feather-light meringue stick and a chocolate tower filled with whipped cream and capped with a raspberry coulis.

Chocolate, chocolate, rivers of chocolate goodness

We floated out of the restaurant completely satisfied and with a bit of a chocolate-induced rush (even the coffee came with a chocolate coated spoon, genius!). A nice walk to take the time to reflect over every savoured bite was an excellent end to an excellent evening.

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