Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cafe Bar Pasta

Owner Tom Bielecki with wife and designer Christine opened Cafe Bar Pasta in July of this year. Located at 1588 Dundas St. W between Brock and Sheridan Ave, head chef Jay Scaife (@chefjayscaife) of Cafe Bar Pasta serves up a variety of tasty starters, a selection of fantastic house-made pastas as well as hearty mains such as a roasted lamb with pumpkin & amaretti gnocchi and a whole roasted Branzino. Cafe Bar Pasta (Twitter: @CAFEBARPASTA, Facebook: Cafe Bar Pastaalso sports a short bar menu consisting of charcuterie, cod fritters and empanadas.

The black, white and red themed dining room is creatively furnished with the most eye-catching piece being the long red mural. Wrapped around the room against the white brick wall, it is bold and strikingly modern. I particularly appreciate all the neat details in the space like their shiny chandelier made out of silver cutlery, the large cork wall beside the hostess stand, their beautifully hand-painted plates, and the gorgeous brightly lit chef's table.

The Italian eatery offers both wines by the bottle and wines on tap. Master Sommelier John Szabo (@johnszabo) has hand picked a selection of local, premium estate wines. Exclusive lots are tasted and approved then kegged without fining, filtration or unnecessary preservatives. The wines are delivered through a wine-on-tap system at optimum temperature, kept fresh by a blanket of nitrogen and argon gas. Patrons can enjoy in 3oz, 5oz, 8oz, ½ litre or full litre pours.

I was invited to Cafe Bar Pasta's media event where we sampled several appetizers, pastas and desserts. I can safely say that their impressive pasta machine stole the spotlight from the red mural that night.

Orata tartar, citrus, frisee, puffed caper ostrich tartar, grainy mustard, toasted walnut, wild boar crisp

With grapefruit chili marinade, lemon aioli

Passata + parmesan

Situated at the back of Cafe Bar Pasta's space is their open kitchen. 

Chef Scaife with a tray of freshly made rigatoni. All their pastas are made fresh in-house with house-made gluten free options available. 

This classic zesty pasta sauce coated the bucatini wonderfully. Bucatini - the thick, hollow spaghetti-like pasta - has a bit more texture and "spring" to it than spaghetti allowing it to soak up all that rich and voluptuous sauce. Yum.

Shredded duck leg, five spice corn creme, chanterelle
Pieces of tender shredded duck meat, chanterelle mushrooms with rigatoni cooked to a perfect firmness, this was a wonderful dish. I personally love the addition of mushrooms in pastas because I find that they have the perfect "meaty" texture to complement any kind of meat.

A preview of what's to come...

Sous chef Eddie Vargas

Braised short rib, white truffle, bone marrow, parsley, burnt orange
This was a good dish but not my favourite. With a lovely hint of white truffle and tasty braised short ribs nestled inside the ravioli, I actually couldn't taste much of the bone marrow. The burnt orange component also didn't work for me. 

Last, but not least...

Once again a great call in switching to tagliatelle (spaghetti is traditionally served with a carbonara sauce). With its thin, flat ribbons and a slightly rougher texture than other types of pastas the tagliatelle was superb with this rich, creamy and aromatic sauce...it clung to every strand of tagliatelle like bark on a tree. So delicious and satisfying! This was my favourite pasta dish out of the four.

After the pasta tasting we headed downstairs to Cafe Bar Pasta's private dining room in the wine cellar. What a cool wine rack!

You will also find a pasta drying room downstairs.

Time for some dessert!

Cheese danish with chocolate drizzle, salted chocolate truffles and pumpkin white chocolate cheesecake

The pastas at Cafe Bar Pasta are simple - no fuss, no frills. There are only a few ingredients in each but that's what make them so darn tasty. However this is only possible because chef Scaife uses fresh house-made pastas with quality ingredients...and since that's the case why not let these ingredients shine on their own? I know where I'm going next time I'm craving a bowl of fresh pasta.

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

Cafe Bar Pasta on Urbanspoon