Two weeks ago I ventured into The Gabardine for the first time and was quickly impressed by the venue’s decor and vibe. The Gabardine is not your traditional Bay Street restaurant catering to the suits and ties in the financial district. It’s a more relaxed joint with a passion for all things tasty and yummy, an open concept kitchen and waiters that know their drinks and food really well.
Accompanied by a trio of female foodies, we decided to make this night an unforgettable one and indulge in almost every dish The Gabardine offered, which turned into a four hour ordeal.
Our night kicked-off with the Deep Fried Beer Cheese Croquettes.
These bundles of joy tasted like heaven and were oozing with cheese. The batter was delicate and thin and had that extra beer-tasting note one often needs on Thursday night, just when the work week is about to end. We dipped these ooey-gooey creatures in a maple mustard sauce, which brought another dimension to the dish. The result? Double-dipping!
Next up, we ordered the Rabbit Rillettes. This was basically a rabbit pâté sitting on a bed of sour cherry preserve and accompanied by small pieces of toasted baguette. Though pâté tends to be silky-smooth, we did not mind at all the chunky pieces served on the rillette as it gave more texture to the dish. Rillettes are very similar to pâtés but made a little coarser and are traditionally made with fatty pork belly or pork shoulder.
Once our palettes were enchanted by all the fried, buttery and fatty goodness from our appies. We decided not to deviate from our goal – have an awesome time with zero worries on fat and calorie intake. As such, we decided to continue on the same tune and ventured into The Gabardine’s infamous Mac & Cheese.
For me, this was the star dish of the night; I’ve yet to try a Mac & Cheese like this one. The pasta is perfectly cooked and baked with tons of cheese and what I assume a cream sauce made with endless amounts of butter and milk. Topped with breadcrumbs and herbs, this dish had flavour and texture like no other.
Back on the deep-fried tune, we decided to split in 4 sections (regretting afterwards) the Shrimp Po’boy. A perfectly assembled sandwich with pieces of deep-fried shrimp wrapped in butter lettuce, tomato relish and aioli. What we liked most about this dish was how well balanced it was with the greens and the sauce. Not too dry or mushy, just the most succulent bites of deep-fried shrimp. And since we were kicking ourselves for not ordering more, we settled for devouring the tasty french fries that accompanied the dish. The fries, were almost as good as my fave fries from Marben.
And since we were in a butter and batter comatose, we ended the night by cleansing off our palates with a smooth and refreshing Goat “icebox” cheesecake with roasted almond granola and berry jam coulis. The creaminess and mild sweetness from the goat’s milk ice-cream was probably my favourite part of this dessert. A perfect de-constructed dessert that just hit the spot.
Until next time Foodies!
Venue: The Gabardine
Specialty: Canadian comfort food
Location: 372 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario
Menu items: Deep fried beer cheese croquettes, Rabit Rillettes, Mac & Cheese, Shrimp Po’boy and Goat “icebox” cheesecake.