Winterlicious in Toronto always offers a flurry of excitement to see which restaurants will be offering unique wares to celebrate the season.
This past Saturday night, I decided to check out Berber Social tucked downstairs behind an ornately designed door between Front Street and Church in Toronto. I wanted comfort, warmth, great service and most importantly top food for my money.
BerBer Social takes you back to a time, when the Berbers of North Africa bestowed exquisite gifts of urban living on medieval Europe. The focus at Berber Social is that of a style artisan selection. The ambience in the space was casually decadent, with ornate furniture, chandeliers, luxe pillows and soft furnishings. The ceilings were low and the vibe extremely sexy but yet sophisticated.
I was seated in a gorgeous enclave with a lovely set table, chiselled wooden painted chairs and the most comfy pillows. After walking down King Street in the cold – this was a welcome spot.
I was greeted by Rebecca, my server for the night. She was gracious and gave me some lovely insight on food and drink choices. There was a lot of room to breathe and take my time. This really echoed the energy in the space. I decided to pick my three courses from the Winterlicious menu that included of the Duck Confit (Muscovy duck confit, served with cranberry chutney and toasted brioche), Braised Short Rib (Tender fall off the bone beef, braised with traditional spices, Finished with a rich red wine demi-glace, Served over creamed leek and potato mash and Accompanied by seasonal vegetables) and the Creme Brulée du Jour (A rich and flavourful crème brulée).
The Duck Confit was just the perfect palate lure into my entrée. It was light, tantalizing and easy to eat. It indeed left me wanting more. I decided to sip my Kiss Me Cosmo (Absolut, Peach, Grand Marnier, Pomegranate and Lime Juice) as I savoured each delectable bite. The cranberry chutney highlighted the Muscovy duck gorgeously while amplifying the crunchy brioche. A true surprise.
Upon completion my plate was quickly taken away and replaced with the Braised Short Rib. If you are looking for a true winter treat – this is your choice on the BerBer Social Winterlicous menu. I would suggest going to Berber Social for this alone. Fall off the bone beef is an understatement. This beef was like butter. The beef I was told by Executive Chef Erik Kekes-Marshall, was braised for close to 8 hours. It oozed goodness on top of a bed of a flavourful but simple creamed leek and potato mash. I felt like I was back in England again as I sopped the beef up into the mash. Ladies and gentlemen, a true Winterlicious winner.
Before my dessert I opted for the Blue Berber Martini (Blueberry Liquor, Hypnotq, Sparkling Wine and Lemon Juice). It was lovely taking a moment in to inhale the relaxed ambience of the restaurant. The drinks are extremely generous made for an even more delightful experience.
Again almost like magic my plate was replaced with the Crème Brulée du Jour. Sipping my martini in between bites of my dessert was a true ovation. The Crème Brulée du Jour was light and the sugared crust made for a nice play on sweet and crunchy. Toffee like but still staying true to the essence of a well-made Brulée. My only quip would be to add some berries on the side for a lil added zest. Overall – divine.
Both Executive Chef Kekes-Marshall and Head Chef Harrison need to be applauded for putting such a cohesive but light menu together. The meal as a whole was a perfect aperitif to an evening out for more drinks and merriment.
I left Berber Social feeling satiated. The martinis offered a nice interlude in between the courses. I recommend looking at the drink menu and also if you have a chance the luxurious tea box as an after dinner warm treat. BerBer Social has some lovely staples that even past Winterlicious is worthy of making an investment to visit time and time again. If not only for the food but the true experience of being in a unique dining space.
Winterlicious runs from January 25, 2013 – February 7, 2013.
BerBer Resto Bar Lounge
49 Front St E