The premise of the column is simple; work with restaurants of all kinds in this amazing city to explore what they have to offer and what makes them unique. In a city like Toronto, the choices are sometimes daunting and the food reviews and critics can be snotty and too complicated for their own good. So why not keep this easy?
Drinks. Appetizer. Main Course. Dessert. All along with a bit of information about what makes them our choice for Daniel’s Dish and why you should try them right away!
Bivy, 1600 Dundas Street West (416) 534 8800
Yet again I find myself headed west for this edition of Daniel’s Dish (see my most recent post in Little Portugal). This time, I head into Brockton Village & The Brockton Triangle for what may be one of my favourite dining experiences in a long time with Julio.
What I didn’t see coming nestled in this cute nook of the city is one of the best French-inspired restaurants I’ve yet to visit. BIVY Café is the epitome of quaint, nestled into a space with enough tables to count on two hands. White walls, wood furnishings and unique art hanging on the walls. The feeling of being at home wraps its arms around you and holds on tight from start to finish.
Classically French trained Chef & owner, Pascal Vernhes omitted no detail when he decided to open up his French café styled space. “When I opened BIVY Café, I wanted to create a relaxed, casual environment that meets the needs of our neighbours at any time of day. Be it a coffee and pastry in the morning, lunch and now dinner,” says Pascal. You can feel the love from the salvaged wood table tops to the antique light fixtures. Best of all, La Pollera Colorada plays softly in the background and if I closed my eyes, I could swear I was back in Paris.
When I think of a romantic evening out, I imagine candle lit dinner when the server makes delicious recommendations. Eating with my fingers and feeding one as you smile and laugh and talk of life. Delicious food, sumptuous wine and an experience that leaves you anxious to get home for more romance. In this way and so many more, Bivy Café stole my heart and will certainly steal it again. For romance and fine french cooking, and all of the dishes I am about to tell you about, this is why you shouldn’t miss out on this culinary experience.
I’m a firm believer that a good restaurant will have staff I can trust and can turn to and ask for recommendations based on quality and won’t necessarily pick out the most expensive items on the menu. Wine, as you all know by now, is one of my loves; a good glass of wine can soothe any woe and bring any meal to a whole other level.
So when my waitress looked me in the eye and told me about the Les Deaux Anges Côtes de Rhones, I knew I had to trust her whole heartedly. Your server is one of the most knowledgeable people you have when you visit a restaurant and if you trust them with your night it’ll be one to remember. A beautiful bottle of wine that you can even order in half liter format for your next visit. Mild bodied and acidic, this wine smells of strawberry jam and tastes like heaven. If you are going with red wine for dinner, always remember lighter bodied more acidic wines will help to enhance the flavours of any dish and not overpower them.
I am quite the indecisive person when it comes to choices. I blame that on being a Libra. Or maybe it’s the fact that I want to eat everything. Either way (though most likely the latter), a good sample platter style dish is always a good way to start the night. The Picnic Platter is served on a wood cutting board, comprised of house cured salmon gravlax, homemade pork pate and the star of the night, the in-house made sun-dried tomato hummus. Fresh bread, salty crackers, and pepperocini peppers.
One of the biggest portions of the menu is dedicated to P.E.I. Mussels. Served ten different ways, I knew with so many choices that these were going to have to be the indulgence of the night. In keeping with the French style of the evening, I decided that Moules Frites would be the main course of the night. The direct translation means Mussels & Fries and trust me when I tell you this is one of the greatest combinations ever thought of.
Julio & I decided to stay classic and ordered the Pistou Mussels, which are elegantly steamed with white wine, onions, pesto, parsley and garlic. While the mussels slowly open and release their beautiful salty flavour, the wine itself takes on a creamy buttery flavour that is hard to explain. Served in a huge bowl full of delicious broth, so good I was tempted to lift the bowl to my lips to slurp out the broth, this dish was délicieux! Pair this decadent creamy dish with salty fresh-cut fries & homemade mayo for an experience you could only find on the streets of Paris.
What dessert comes to mind when you think of French Cuisine? Why, Creme Brulée of course. I have to be honest and say I found our creme brulée rather over-cooked and bordering on burnt. A fine fine line to walk with this incredibly difficult dessert to make and unfortunately we fell on the wrong side of it during our visit. But the remaining part of the night was so elegant and romantic, it couldn’t possibly take away from it all. Although I don’t think I’ll ask for this particular dessert again, it was great to try and makes me want to see what else the Chef has up his sleeve on my next visit.
Secret You Should Know:
I’ve come to be quite proud of my secrets and this one I am proud to bring you exclusively from #DanielsDish & #FASHIONIGHTS. Though there is no delivery per se at BIVY Café, but if you’re a regular and live anywhere between Brock to Sheridan, the staff will in fact deliver your food to your door. They are so driven by customer service and maintaining a loyal clientele that not even with a full restaurant and freezing cold weather will stop them from coming to you if you can’t come to them. Now that is what I call dedication to what you do.
One word comes to mind when I think of BIVY Café and that’s romantic. From the French inspired eclectic menu, to the attentive staff and shelves stocked of delicious products you can purchase on the way out to the cash register. The kitchen so open that it feels as though you’re in there alongside the chef cooking your meal.
For more behind the scenes of this and other Daniel’s Dish visits, follow my Instagram!