What an exquisite feast and foodie adventure we had at Boralia! Ai Ling, Jing, and I haven’t dined together since our summer trip to Montreal three years ago. I came across Boralia by chance when I was searching up restaurants to dine at earlier in the week. A lot of restaurants on a top Toronto food list were already booked for this Saturday night but Boralia still had a table for three for 7:30 p.m. I love using the online system to book restaurants now. It’s so fast, convenient, smart, and they even send you a confirmation e-mail a day before the booked date to confirm your seating. It was so easy that it was fun!
Boralia used to be called Borealia and features “Canadian” food and their menu “draws inspiration from traditional Aboriginal dishes, as well as the recipes of early settlers and immigrants of the 18th and 19th centuries”. This was incredibly unique and I was so grateful that I stumbled upon this one-of-a-kind restaurant! Boralia is also nominated for Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2015! So cool!
We arrived a little after our reservation time at 7:30 p.m. and waited a little bit for Jing to arrive before we ordered food. Our server for the night was very friendly, well-informed about the menu, and did a great job attending to us. She introduced the menu a little bit to us and said that each person usually orders 2-3 dishes to share together. I absolutely love sharing plates and tapa spots! The more dishes, the merrier and the more we can try out different dishes! 😀
So we chose two dishes each for a total of six dishes to share for the night. I liked that the kitchen spaced out the dishes, two per round, so that we didn’t have a table full of dishes getting cold. In this way, we got to enjoy every single dish with care and attention. 🙂
The first dish that came was the Bison Tartare. I really adore eating tartare and this was my first time having bison tartare. It was a dimly lit restaurant unfortunately (which sets the mood), so please pardon for the relatively dim pictures for this blog post.
The Bison Tartare came was topped with wild ginger & garlic aioli, piment d’espelette, pickled fennel, and served with grilled bread with crema di lardo. The bison tartare was quite raw (as tartare usually is) and very smooth. It was a little chewy in some parts but didn’t taste very gamey at all. I really liked the grilled bread and everything went well together. The piment d’espelette gave it a little kick of spice as well. Delicious! I love tartare. The bison meat wasn’t too strong but definitely tasted different than usual beef tartare.
The second plate was the Grilled Mushroom Salad. Since this dish was grilled, it wasn’t really a salad so much as a plate of grilled mushrooms. The presentation of it was so nice; with the mushrooms arranged in a circle on the plate. The mushrooms were very nicely grilled with a little flavor from the watercress sauce, which I loved, and there were scattered bits of crunchy hazelnut corn cake. Considering that the rest of our dishes were all seafood or meat based, this was a good dish to share.
The Rabbit Rubaboo contained roast saddle and sausage, pine mushroom duxelle, and beet. We carefully cut apart the two slices of rabbit meat in order to share. I really liked how the rabbit meat was firm and juicy. It was really good! It was a really delicate plate of food and plated beautifully. The beats and veggies around it were very fresh.
Wow, up next was the L’éclade which contained mussels smoked in pine needles in a soup of pine ash butter. When the server brought this dish to us, it was covered in a big cover top. Once she opened it, large wafts of heavy smoke was released from under the cover. I intended to take a video of it but accidentally hit the ‘stop’ button after I started recording so I missed out on the release. It was really cool! What we didn’t anticipate was how amazing the mussels tasted in the pine ash butter. First of all, these mussels were unlike your regular mussels because they were so plump, juicy, soft, and fresh. I’ve never had such plump and soft muscles before! There was nothing chewy or rough about them. So rare to have! Secondly, the pine needles and the pine ash butter added an incredible smokey flavor to the entire dish of soup. We couldn’t stop scooping up the soup to drink. The server did ask us if we wanted bread to soak up the soup, but we were okay with just drinking it with a soup.
This was an incredible dish! We all raved about it!
Very quickly, we were at the last two dishes for the night. We had the Pan-Roasted Elk which was plated with a wild rice-crusted egg in the centre of the plate with cranberry gastrique (sweet-and-sour sauce), burnt onion, and radish. All the dishes of the night were carefully crafted and plated. It was definitely a foodie feast! 😀 The pan-roasted elk tasted a little chewy but it was pretty good. What was very interesting was the wild rice-crusted egg in the middle. You take a knife and slice it open and the yolk would coming spilling out of the soft egg. It was a very unique dish. I really liked the burnt onions. They actually tasted like coffee-infused onions to me! Very interesting!
Lastly, we all had our eyes on the Pigeon Pie which included roast squab breast and green beans. Before I get to the Pigeon Pie, even the green beans were very soft and fresh and boiled to perfection. The Pigeon Pie had a very flakey crust and was steaming hot. The pigeon meat wasn’t very apparent to me in the pie, but this was a very good meat pie instead! I really wanted more of it hehe.
The slab of roast squab breast was tender and a little mushy. Both Ai and Jing didn’t like it very much, but I enjoyed it. 😀
Before the night was over, we were fairly full from all the dishes that we shared, but the server did present us with the dessert menu just in case. Because we didn’t want to miss out and were YOLOing, we ordered one dessert to share — the Syllabub Cake. The name sounded so interesting to me but it was just a lemon pound cake, with sherry sabayon (French name for zabaglione, a light, mousse-y Italian dessert), toasted almonds, and blistered coronation grapes. However, even though it was just a lemon pound cake, it was supremely light and really well made. How did they make such a light pound cake that tasted like air? The grapes were fresh and didn’t taste bitter at all and even though I am not a huge fan of almonds, these toasted ones were very light and matched well with the pound cake.
We ended up splitting the bill to be around $40 a person which is about average for all the unique meats and food that we shared. I definitely recommend you to come check out Boralia for all the unique food that was inspired from the natives and early settlers. It’s definitely a foodie feast! 🙂
My favourites for the night included the Bison Tartare, L’éclade (a must-try when you visit!), and Pigeon Pie. If I return again, I’d love to try the rest of their dishes, especially the Devilled Chinese Tea Eggs, Venison Liver & Foie Gras Parfait (I love foie gras!) and Spiced Scallop Crudo (I’m sure they do seafood well here if they made the mussels taste so amazing), and the Louisbourg Hot Chocolate Beignets for dessert (haha, sounds like I’ve already planned my menu for the next visit to Boralia! :D.) But we shall see. Until then!