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Annex Favourite: The Harbord Room

Where the Fashionistas Feed

 still remember my first visit to the Harbord Room a few years ago because I sat on the patio shaded by a large, beautiful pear tree. I was pleased to find the food was as flavourful during my recent visit as it was the first time under the pear tree.

We were greeted by a cute hipster with a bandanna in her hair eager to get us seated because we had to be out by 8:30pm. This time, I sat inside, near the front of the restaurant on a comfy bench so I could admire the pretty pink walls and all the fashionistas that frequent this restaurant.

I started with a glass of Pinot Noir ($15) and the octopus salad, which consisted of bitter greens, citrus, marcona almonds, dried olives, piquillo peppers, warm chorizo and a vinaigrette ($13). I loved the combination of seafood and chorizo. It was perfect to share.

We also ordered the local cheese platter with Ontario wildflower honey and crostini that came with a small bowl of green olives, which were the reason I ordered this starter in the first place (I’m an olive-lover). It was a good decision. The olives reminded me of my travels in Spain, when I sat on yet another patio, enjoying the view while eating local olives. These olives were as fresh, juicy and full of flavour as the ones in my Spanish memory. Best. Olives. Ever. ($10)

The first main we ordered was duck Bolognese with house-made tagliatelle ($20). My fiancé said it was as good as his favourite restaurant’s tagliatelle pasta dish at Enoteca Sociale. Score!

I had the pan-roasted sea bream, which was served with crispy fennel and potato pavé, and heirloom tomatoes with a fennel and olive oil emulsion ($25). This dish was recommended by our server, who said it was her favourite dish. Interestingly, I really dislike fennel, and I would have never ordered this dish if I actually read the menu description and knew it had fennel. Good thing I didn’t taste any fennel, hurray! I absolutely loved this dish. The fish had a crispy outside and the local heirloom tomatoes reminded me of my mom’s organic garden tomatoes. I would order this dish again because it was something I would cook at home, but don’t have the talent to make it quite as fancy, or delicious.

I’m not normally a dessert person, but since I was reviewing the Harbord Room for Tonic, I thought it was only appropriate I indulge my senses – and boy, am I glad I did. We ordered the Japanese-style cheesecake, which – unlike your typical cheesecake – was surprisingly fresh and light. It came with Ontario peach ganache, an inventive dollop of basil mousse and a malted milk crumble ($9). The dessert was worth every morsel, or rather, calorie.



Joy McCarthy is a Holistic Nutritionist food lover and owner of joyoushealth.ca