Taste Buds go to Church Bistro
Conveniently located at 555 Church Street in Toronto Ontario, Church Bistro is amidst many restaurant options. We decide not a matter of better, but pleasantly different. Foodie self-help rule number one is ‘Do not get into a dining rut’. This restaurant is a breath of fresh air, with that rule in mind, and qualifies to be on your “must try” list.
The decor is fabulously chic yet bohemian. They have combined black and silver chandeliers with colourful ethnic pillow bench seating. It is truly a visual representation of the menu. The restaurant seats 40 comfortably, while never sacrificing the romantic ambiance, if that’s what you are looking for. The music playing is a soft, smooth jazz that carries with it the amazing aromas of the open kitchen.
Everything on the menu has an Asian touch. Fusion is an overused restaurant description. What the Chef at Church Bistro does, is better described as magic. We chose cauliflower pakoras, Kashfiya calamari, lentil soup, shrimp cocktail, and of course the complimentary garlic bread to start. Each was truly a unique version of very familiar flavours. We did not feel like we were trying something new but rather something improved upon. The pakoras were perfectly battered and so lightly fried that there is no trace of oil.
The shrimps were large and plump. They do not skimp on quality ingredients here. The calamari was lightly seasoned and served with aioli. The lentil or dahl soup would have made Natalie’s’ Mother envious, as it was spiced to perfection.
The servings are healthy but we managed to make room for the garlic bread, infused with basil and cilantro. We know that many people have a biological aversion to cilantro however we would venture to say that these combination of spices on the bread topping might just be the oral inoculation for this condition. We thought it was delicious, for the record. AJ, the owner, has the childlike excitement of every restauranteur who is completely vested in his or her endeavor. Although he does not boast about his talent, he is clearly the Executive Chef designing every dish listed on the menu. He was very gracious to serve us his veritable masterpiece, an order of mussels’ gorgonzola that tested all that we learned about sharing as children.
Equally inviting and somewhat unique is Church Bistro’s cocktail menu. We are not familiar with beer cocktails, but they did sound wonderful and we made a note to try them on our next visit, as the temps get warmer. The drink list includes standard martinis along with a nice variety of Canadian white and red wine to choose from.
Our mains arrived when we were already in love with the menu and did not disappoint. We tried the Pan-seared grouper, Moroccan Spice pork tenderloin, and Dungeness crab. The crab is a messy meal, as AJ warned us, but fully worth the bib and adventure. All of the ingredients are organic where possible, and freshly made to order.
We believe that dessert, although it ends a meal, is truly the beginning of a long lasting restaurant relationship. We tried the Raspberry Cheesecake, warm Chocolate Cake, Gulab Jamun (an Indian sweet treat) and Crème Brulee. All are home made. The Crème Brule was delicious, but the Gulab Jamun sealed this meal with a kiss. While difficult to say, Gulab Jamun is so easy to enjoy.
These Taste Buds thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience at Church Bistro! Ambiance, appetizers, service, cocktails, mains, and the abundance of food served, are amazing and will not hurt the average working person’s budget. We officially and highly recommend this place for either a romantic dinner or even group adventure.
Stay tuned for our follow up on Church Bistros brunch menu and outdoor patio experience. Please introduce yourself to AJ when you make your reservation or arrive at the restaurant. He truly loves what he does, not to mention impressing his customers. Mention this blog review and “The Taste Buds” for a discount.
Like their Facebook page to keep up to date on menu changes, specials, and much more.
About the Author
Joie Lamar recently released her first novel 'Mambo Lips' to rave reviews, and is working on volume two of the series titled 'Salsa Hips' which will be out in November 2015. Natalie is famous for her ‘Dessert Diva’ cheesecakes and especially busy during the spring season baking for numerous long term clients and new celebrations. They both enjoy travel, writing, food and the arts.