Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I've been to Ursa twice now; first time for drinks at the bar with my party guru friend, Kristina from Not Your Average Party (@notyouravgparty) where we had cocktails, a bottle of Cava (hey it was a Friday night, don't judge lol) and shared two appetizers: the Hamachi and the Whitetail Tartare with Blueberry Cured Foie Gras. We both thought the appetizers were phenomenal; especially the foie gras, which had a subtle blueberry tone and was so buttery. After that night I wanted to go back to Ursa for a full meal. 

Ursa serves contemporary Canadian cuisine, focusing on using modern techniques and dehydrators that preserve the nutritional value of their ingredients as much as possible. Having said that, there's still meat on Ursa's menu (albeit in smaller portions) as well as alcohol *phew* =D The cocktail I had the first time was "A Rose By Any Other Name" with Wray & Newphew Overproof Rum, Vermouth Muddled Limes, Rose Water, Golden Cane Sugar, Citrus was delightful~

Dangling LED bulbs at UrsaIt's all about the cool lighting these days, huh?

Ursa 's appetizers sounded more appealing to both my friend, Cindy, and I so we decided to share four apps and one main.

Thuet Bread with Housemade Butter

With the folded napkin and all, it is evident that Ursa is very meticulous when it comes to presentation. I personally didn't like the flat-bread...I found it bland and way too "grainy" for my taste. I loved the sour dough and the house-cultured butter w/ sea salt though.


Mushroom Broth - Wild Mushrooms, Chestnut Agnolotti, Kombucha ($13)

Poured at the table, the kombucha-sherry broth was extremely flavourful. Kombucha, a tea-based drink often consumed for its health or medicinal purposes, gave the broth a slight acidity / cider-y element while the wild mushrooms contributed a rich, smoky flavour. Lots of depth, something that I wouldn't have expected from a mushroom broth. 

Winter Roots - Raw, Dried, Preserved, Walnut Vinaigrette, Kefir ($13)

This was almost too pretty to eat. An exquisite presentation of assorted root vegetables such as burdock, parsnip and different kinds of radishes. This salad was really unique in terms of the different textures involved: the freshness and crunchiness from the raw, the crispiness from the dehydrated and the softness from the preserved, all on one plate (and sometimes in one bite!)  The walnut vinaigrette with kefir, bee sugar and pickled walnut were also very interesting. 

Housemade Tofu, Soy & Freshwater Bonito, Radish, Ginger, Yuzu ($12)

Soft and firm house-made tofu with radish top & leaves, ginger and yuzu, all in a light soy. Fanciest tofu dish ever! However, this was my least favourite appetizer. I was longing for more soy sauce...more flavour. 

White-Tail Tartare, Blueberry Cured Foie Gras, Icelandic Moss ($16)

I ordered this again because it is just that good. Another vibrant and colourful display, the white-tail deer tartare coupled with the blueberry house-cured foie gras is melt-in-your-mouth soft and so scrumptious. The appetizer came with bread but I didn't eat any of it... I wanted to savour each bite in its purity (I know that sounds intense lol). 


Whey Brined Niagara Pork Loin & Apple Cider Glazed Belly, Lentils, Kale, Sunchoke, Bullberry Mustard ($24)

Since my friend and I were sharing this, we both had one piece of pork and halved the pork belly. Not a big portion here, even if just for one person, but this was sufficient to us given all the apps we had before. Anyway, cooked slightly pink, the pork was tender and juicy. However, what made the pork  "good" to "fabulous" was actually the bulberry had a real good kick and boy, did it go well with the pork! The luscious piece of fatty pork belly was also tasty and the kale visually stunning.


Milk & Honey - Sweet Ricotta, Rosewood Honeycomb, Leatherwood, Bee Pollen, Pear, Spelt Rye (made to order for 2) ($16)

We debated between the yuzu lemon curd and the milk & honey but I'm glad we chose this one. This is probably the most "natural" dessert that I've had in a long time and definitely a nice change from the usual heavy chocolate desserts that I get. The ricotta, boiled upon order, was served with bee pollen. Spread it on the rye with a bit of the sweet was unreal~ So light and pure. Oh and don't forget the pomegranate, apple, dehydrated grapes, and the warm whey from the ricotta in those tiny viles =D

This was given to us after dessert. Underneath the "cracker" was an assortment of finely sliced pickled veggies. I can't say I liked it, more so because I was already very content with the dessert I just had (and its sweet aftertaste) so I didn't enjoy eating this afterwards. On the other hand, I probably wouldn't mind having it before the meal. Maybe this helps with digestion? I don't know. Meh, maybe it's just me and some may find this to be refreshing after dessert.

Ursa's attention to detail is apparent in its execution and whimsical presentation  Executive chef and co-owner Jacob Sharkey Pearce takes every ingredient very seriously (our server also recited almost every component of each and every dish to us) and his dishes are both creative and sophisticated. I really hope Ursa can keep up with its complex dishes over time. Yes, portions are small and for sure you won't be "stuffed" from dinner there but we were both content and satisfied with what we had. 

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