Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maialino Media Tasting [VLOG]

Maialino Enoteca Italiana (Twitter: MaialinoTO, Facebook: MaialinoTO) is an Italian restaurant located on Queen street east of Roncesvalles (right next door to Keriwa Café). Maialino opened their doors in December 2011 to bring Sicilian cuisine with "traditional recipes, updated classics, and Old World flavours" to the city.

With owner Mike Rutigliano and chef Roberto Marotta's initial plan to open a small charcuterie bar, the name Maialino, which translates to "little pig", seemed to be a perfect fit. However, when the idea of a charcuterie bar was scrapped in favour of a traditional Sicilian restaurant, the name Maialino was stuck.

I was invited to Maialino's media dinner on Tuesday night where I had the opportunity to indulge in a five course tasting expertly prepared by chef Marotta and his team. 

Patrizia Rosati, who designed Rutigliano's other restaurant, Barista Espresso Bar, also took on the task in designing Maialino. I love this "graffiti" accent wall....

Cured and curing meats on display at the back of the restaurant.

Owner Mike Rutigliano and chef Roberto Marotta.

La Mortadella e il Tartufo - specially-made Mortadella for Maialino, served with shaved Italian truffle
Testina di Maiale - jellied pork head
Wild boar salami
(Both the jellied pork head and wild boar salami are made in-house by chef Marotta)

Taleggio - an Italian, washed-rind semi-soft cheese
Ragusano DOP - an aged Sicilian cow's milk firm cheese
Pecorino Ennese - semi-hard sheep's cheese from Sicily
Served with merlot gelatin (from a local producer)

Parmigiana In Vetro
Layered 36-month Parmigiano mousse, roasted eggplant purée, gueginotaomato sauce with crostini, Olive Oil Mandranova Cerasuola
2008 Colline Teatine Bianco IGT, Nicola Di Sipio, Abruzzo

Authentic rice cone, stuffed with chicken and veal ragu, green peas and fresh Scamorza
Bufala e Fichi
Fresh Buffalo mozzarella and roasted figs served with crudo di parmi (aged 24 months) and homemade crostini
2008 Colline Teatine Bianco IGT, Nicola Di Sipio, Abruzzo

Ravioli alla Norma
Eggplant-filled house-made ravioli, cherry pachino tamato sauce with aged baked Italian ricotta
2010 Cerasuolo D'Abruzzo DOC, Nicola Di Sipio, Abruzzo

A bit about chef Roberto Marotta...

Born in the Sicilian port city of Milazzo, chef Marotta grew up in a traditional household and started cooking at an early age, using recipes passed down from generation to generation. Chef Marotta got his professional start while travelling alone through Europe. In 1998, he worked in a small French restaurant's kitchen, and after that he made his way to Spain, Holland, and England, discovering different ingredients and culinary techniques all the way. In 2005, chef Marotta and his family opened their first restaurant in Milazzo, where he worked day in day out creating the dishes that helped shape his upbringing. In 2010, chef Marotta made the trip to Canada and partnered up with Rutigliano to open Maialino.

Ha! I'm a pro when it comes to nursing drinks. I know. I'm pathetic.

Costole di Manzo al Nero D'Avolo
Slow-roasted short ribs, Nero D'Avolo wine sauce, with roasted shallots and potatoes
2008 Nero d'Avola "Chiaramonte", Firriato, Sicilia

Flan di Cioccolato
Warm 70% chocolate cake served with salted caramel mousse and peperoncino
2010 Moscato d'Asti, DOCG

Hand-made cannoli shells stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese

A stellar meal at Maialino. The house-cured salumi and cheesees were a fantastic start to our dinner (with the jellied pork head and taleggio being my personal favourites). The beautifully layered Parmigiano mousse with roasted eggplant purée and gueginotaomato sauce was outstanding; mix it up with a spoon and you have a wonderfully creamy and smooth savoury pudding. The arancini was packed with all sorts of deliciousness, a delight when paired with the fresh, luscious mozzarella.  What stole the show for me, as well as a few others around me, was the slow-roasted short ribs (my favourite course of the night). Extremely tender and moist, the short ribs went beautifully with the rich and slightly syrup-y Nero D'Avolo wine sauce. Yum =) The night ended on a high note with the oh-so-chocolaty chocolate cake, which was served with salted caramel (for those who like sweet and savoury) and peperoncino (for those who are adventurous and like a bit of spice with their chocolate!). 

Check out Nicki's (from View The Vibe, @ViewTheVibe) vlog of our tasting~

Thanks chef Marotta, Mike, Adam (@amazerall) and Jacqueline (@JacNicosia) for a wonderful evening!

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

Maialino Enoteca Italiana on Urbanspoon

 Maialino Enoteca Italiana at