Although Winterlicious wins in forcing much needed get-togethers during the coldest time of the year, I knew our love affair was over when I began being seduced by the main menu, never to look another Prix Fixe in the eyes again *sigh*. Yes, it’s a great way to test a restaurant on a budget, but I have found that the portions are small and the dishes are never perfect. Of all the Winterlicious’ dinners I have been to, FRED’S NOT HERE on King West is by far the best food and menu combination. All hail Fred (seriously). Canoe is good too, as they f*cking should be.
As most Torontonians don’t know, a handful of private food events take place during Winterlicious that stay under the radar thanks to the many underwhelming 3 course menu’s offered at over 100+ restaurants around the city. Yes, they are more expensive, but it is the experience that counts.
This year, $75 / ticket later, I opted for a 5 course dinner put on by Toronto’s very own Group Of Seven Chefs. This was my second Group Of Seven Chefs experience, and it was awesome.
The dinner took place at Parts & Labour and was cleverly called #DinnerFiveWays. Five of the Seven chefs would prepare a 5 course meal for 20 attendee’s. The catch: you have no idea which menu you will be served until you take your seat. Brilliant, right? The five menu options were : Nose to tail, Hunter’s feast, Italian family style, French gastronomy and Contemporary Chinese. I would have been content with any of the options, however Nose to Tail was at the bottom of my preference list.
Of course, I got the Nose to Tail menu, and embraced it whole heartedly by slinging back two bottles of wine and almost ordering my date and I another. Our chef for the evening was Matty ‘Deathbro’ (Matty Matheson), the owner and head chef of Parts & Labour. We offered for him to come have a drink with us to which he exclaimed, “I can’t drink anymore, I’m pregnant”.
The restaurant was set up in family style tables so you got to discuss and clink glasses and cheers with complete strangers every 5-10 minutes. This the proper way to experience a restaurant, and to get the real firsthand culinary experience that the chef cooking for you wants you to have. This is a gallery of his art that only you and 19 others get to view.
My favourite dish was the celeriac 3 ways, but I wish i had 4x the amount. The beef dish was also a showstopper. It was so simple and clean, but the beef, which was way undercooked for my usual liking, was phenomenal.
Each ingredient was unveiled as is, no need for heaps of sauce or seasonings or sodium (oh my). Divine.
The Group Of Seven Chefs has a foodie event like this at the end of every month, so keep your eyes peeled!
This is not a prix fixe you want to miss.
See my review of A Tavern- Style meal put on by the Group Of Seven Chefs @ The Saint Tavern: