Of the few that we do have, Scaramouche is up there as one of the best. Headed by Keith Froggett, Scaramouche has now been around for 30 years! That’s a serious anniversary in the restaurant business so I say the place deserves a lot of respect.
I love the room at Scaramouche because its bright (well, it is when the sun is still up because of the huge windows that overlook the city), and the tables are situated far enough away from each other that you get your privacy, but still hear enough noise to feel like you’re in a happening place.
Service is also ideal. Our server was friendly, funny and casual, but also very knowledgeable and professional. Water glasses were consistently full, timing was perfect for me, and the sommelier was always close by to answer questions and offer tastes of wines.Speaking of drinks, I started with a really delicious cocktail that had ginger beer, pear nectar, vodka and citrus. Light, fruity and delicious.
Lets go onto food. We both were given a nice amuse complements of the chef:
Gorgonzola Cream Cheese on Walnut Toast with Berry Puree
I can’t say I detected much walnut flavour in the toast, but regardless the bite was divine. The cream cheese helped temper some of the strength of the blue cheese and the berry puree added just enough sweetness to balance.
Foie Gras Terrine with Toasted Brioche, Rhubarb riesling jelly, Pickled wild leeks, Rhubarb chutney, Hazelnuts
The first thing I noticed was the massive portion of foie, making the $26 price tag significantly more justifiable. While it was difficult to get all of the components into a single bite, my efforts were rewarded with a gastronomic orgasm. The silky smooth foie was supported perfectly by the brioche toast, which someone managed to be crispy on the outside while retaining a buttery soft interior. The generous dollop of chutney yielded a perfect amount of sweetness that was cut by the savoury acidity of the pickled wild leeks. Perhaps my favourite garnish was all of the tiny beads of jelly that upon reaching my mouth melted into a sweet and acidic juice with a distinctive wine flavour. Offering a nutty aromatic flavour, and contrasting crunchy texture, the scattering of halved hazelnuts was just enough to balance all of those melt in your mouth components. Feed-me-more.
Soup of the Day: Roasted Onion Puree with Toasted Walnuts, Duck Pastrami and Belgium Endive
A really delicious sweet onion flavour, without being offensively sulfurous. The pastrami offered a balancing salty component, and while I don’t always love endive, I thought it was an appropriate garnish for cutting some of the sweetness of the onions.
Sustainable Blue European Sea Bass: Grilled Calamari, Sweet Garlic Whipped White Beans, Chorizo, Tomato Confit, Saffron White Wine Herb Nage, Fine Olive Oil
Absolutely gorgeous. The sea bass and calamari were perfectly cooked with a nice smokey flavour from the grill. I loved the bright tomato flavour of the confit, and felt it cut the creaminess of the whipped beans perfectly.
Elk: Bacon wrapped Loin, Mushroom Flan, Wild Leeks, Small Beets, Red Wine Glaze, Triple Crunch Mustard Cream
Absolutely delicious. Three medium-rare, meltingly tender medallions came adorned in crispy salty bacon and drizzled in a full-bodied wine glaze. The sweetness of the glaze in tandem with the roasted baby beets helped to balance out all of those earthy, peppery flavours of the elk beautifully. Further, all of that natural sugar was cut nicely by the slight sharp bite of the leeks and the aromatic mustard cream. Perhaps my favourite part of the meal was the buttery smooth mushroom flan, as its umami flavour, and creamy texture both complemented and contrasted the meat. Throw in a generous scattering of mixed wild mushrooms, and I was in game-meat heaven.
Coconut Cream Pie with White Chocolate Shavings and Dark Chocolate Sauce
I definitely do not usually order pie, as I don’t like pie crust very much. I’m also not usually drawn to coconut desserts. But as this is their signature dessert, I knew I wouldn’t be let down. And thank G-d I trust my instincts, because this was a like a cloud in my mouth. Unlike so many of those pudding-like, semi-gelatinous coconut pie fillings, this one was airy and pillowy with real coconut shavings in it for texture. The white chocolate added a beautiful element of sweetness on top of the whipped cream, and the bitterness of the dark chocolate helped to balance out all that cream. What about the crust? I actually liked it. It was crispy, flaky and tender, without tasting overly dry, or soggy, as I often find pie crust to be. Delicious.
So, for 2 apps, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 2 cocktails, 1 glass of wine, sparkling water and 2 cappuccinos (which were delicious), the bill was about $250 with tax and tip. Twice as much as most of our Toronto dinners, yes. But in a totally separate class. It was a near flawless experience, and for that reason, Scaramouche is place I will continue to return to when I’m in the mood for getting dressed up and thoroughly enjoying what I’m eating. All of it. No hits and misses. Every single bite.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.