I had lunch at Fabbrica last Saturday (the day after their official launch). Others interested in lunch should be advised that the hours posted on the website are incorrect; they open at 11:30 a.m., not 11 a.m. I showed up a few minutes before 11 a.m. and although staff were inside, no one informed us of the later opening time. In a span of about 10 minutes, I saw at least 15 interested diners walk away discouraged because they too had arrived for 11 a.m. (no hours are posted on the door). I discovered the real opening time by going across the street to McEwan's and doing some investigative work.
Now, onto the food! I dined with my sister which allowed me to try quite a few dishes.
Funghi pizza with cremini mushrooms, mozzarella and truffle crema - I have not had Buca's version, but I really, really enjoyed Fabbrica's. As advertised pre-launch, the pizza cooked quickly and arrived at the table piping hot. The crust had a perfect amount of char, crispness and chew – no undercooked dough here! They were very generous with the truffle, but not to the point that it overwhelmed the other flavours. Based on this experience, I do prefer Fabbrica’s pizza to Libretto, and am anxious to go back and try their Margherita.
Pappardelle with crab, guanciale, cream and soft poached egg – This dish was fabulous. As much as I enjoyed the pizza, I loved the pappardelle more. The fresh pappardelle was cooked al dente and the dish offered generous chunks of crab, lots of small salty strips of guanciale to add another flavour and texture dimension and a perfectly poached egg. To top it off, the cream sauce was flavourful and garlicky, far exceeding my expectations of this seemingly simple dish, of which I could not get enough. I actually used my pizza crust to sop up every last bit of the sauce.
Panna cotta with streusel, olive oil and roasted figs – The crunchy streusel offered a welcome texture change to the creamy panna cotta that was bursting with fresh vanilla bean flavour. Surprisingly (at least to me), the olive oil tossed roasted figs was the perfect complement. Such a refreshing end to a carb-heavy meal.
Zeppole filled with orange cream and dusted with cinnamon sugar, and white chocolate sauce – I love sweet desserts, but even this was a bit much for me. After the first mini doughnut, the rest tasted like nothing special. I also found it odd that there was nearly a bowlful of white chocolate sauce. The doughnut was already sweet enough without that accompanying sweet soup. I actually prefer C5’s mini doughnuts to this. Would not order again.
All in all, a great meal. I am looking forward to going back and trying some other dishes, including the house cured meats, which are stored in a room with pickled veggies. You can see it all thanks to the big glass windows.
On a semi-related note, I’ve visited other McEwan establishments and found it funny that the female wait staff is all glammed up and wearing outfits that offer little coverage. Speaks to the location, I think, as I’ve read that Glow is similar in this regard.
Also, I ran into Mark McEwan on the way out. As expected in these early days, he is a constant presence at the restaurant.
Pictures are attached (sorry for the low quality; forgot my camera and was using my BlackBerry). I’d love to hear others’ thoughts if they’ve also had an opportunity to try Fabbrica.
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA