Getting to know Toronto over the last two months, I have quickly learned that some of the best food in the city can be found around St Lawrence Market. Having now ventured to Barsa Taberna, a Spanish inspired eatery, you’ll be hard pressed to drag me away from Market Street. Like…ever.
The best evenings often happen after a kindly person hands you a glass of Cava, and this was certainly the case on Thursday evening as I ventured into the white washed stone inner belly of Barsa.
Other than to be plied with wonderful Spanish wine, I was visiting Barsa to check out their brand new menu. Created under the guidance of chef Chris McDonald, who is kind of Toronto food royalty, the spritely and extremely talented Guillermo Herbertson has developed the menu to bring a new Spanish dining experience. And what an experience…
We started the night by sampling a foie gras atop a bone marrow creation, served on a bed of decorative sea salt. Already it was clear that McDonald and Herbertson were pushing some boundaries and I liked it. Later we were treaty to a similarly wacky snail and rabbit paella, but not before sampling Jamón con Melón, sea bream ceviche and a life altering sample of the Vieiras con Chocos, a seared scallop with a “cuttlefish stew” and chorizo topping. Oh my god. Was this one of the best pieces of Spanish inspired food I have ever tasted? Possibly.
Other than the Vieiras con Chocos, some of my personal highlights of the evening included the Jamón con Melón which fused crispy serrano ham and a mouth-watering melon consommé, as well as the beautifully spicy ceviche with delectably fresh sea bream.
That was just the beginning… who knew that I could fall in love with a SALAD? Not me! But lo and behold, a kale, hazelnut and current creation stole my heart and the best part was I couldn’t even feel guilty about it. I was about one glass of wine away from demanding the waiter’s box up a portion of the salad for me to take home but luckily my dignity remained intact. Just.
Whilst I found the paella a bit disappointing (a teeny bit bland with slightly overcooked rabbit) I basked in the Mediterranean glory of a portion of grilled Sea Bass with piquillos peppers and house-pickled vegetables (“Robalo a la Parrilla”). Yuuum.
Dessert wine? Yes please. And what a treat it was! Glugging back a full bodied and sweet treat between mouthfuls of a autumnal spiced crème brûlée is just about my idea of heaven. Usually vanity would prevent me from finishing an entire dessert after around 7 prior courses, but my kale friend from earlier on was telling me it was okay…it was more than okay. It was glorious.
So, the Barsa Taberna new menu. Did I love it? You could say that.
Barsa Taberna Spanish restaurant is located at 26 Market St, Toronto, ON M5E 1M6. Visit their website for reservations and/or further details.