By Sonja Cloutier
Ufficio is the newest addition to the vegetarian/pescatarian dining experience in Toronto. I was invited to attend their media launch on Tuesday, February 10, 2016 to taste their delicious new menu and tantalizing cocktail selection. Located at Dundas Street just west of Ossington Avenue, Ufficio is in the heart of the foodie mile in Toronto including Archive Wine Bar and The Black Hoof: this is definitely the neighbourhood to eat in!
This venue is beautiful – it just calls out for you to take a seat and enjoy its relaxing feel and modern architectural design. With large turquoise booths for group dining and smaller seating for more intimate dining experiences, I was very impressed by the design of this restaurant.
When we arrived, we took a seat at the bar and were quickly greeted by the bartender, whom we later discovered after a few of his delicious cocktails, was named Adam Bates. Adam informed us that he would be serving a cocktail called a Boulevard Dundas, which was a boubon-based drink that included their home-made bitters (delicious).
We were also able to sample other cocktails including their Cosmonaut, Fennel Sour and Picante Pasini, which had a nice kick to it. My favourite of the night by far was the Boulevard Dundas (I have a weakness for bourbon). Ufficio also offers a long list of Italian wines and a couple of beer options, both bottled and draft.
• Cosmonaut: Eristoff Vodka, Luxardo Maraschino, Buckthorn Shrub, Fresh Lime ($14)
• Fennel Sour: Bombay Sapphire, Pernod, Fennel Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Egg White, Orange Bitters (house made) ($14)
• Picante Pasini: Cazadores Tequila, Asperol, Chili, Grapefruit, Fresh Lime ($14)
The Menu was designed by Chef Jeff Lapointe, formerly from Splendido and Consulting Chef Craig Harding, formerly from Campagnolo. Now, I want to start off by saying that I am not the biggest fan of fish. I know…what am I doing testing out a pescatarian restaurant right? Well, I am always up to try new things and wow, am I ever glad I did. This menu is divine: many of the dishes incorporate fish. but do not have an overpowering fishy flavour. Take the Fish Crockett Ball, for example. You would think a ball made of fish would be extremely fishy, but you’d be wrong. This dish (careful, I burnt my mouth on one) was the perfect texture, so creamy and buttery I could eat them forever and it only had the slightest taste of fish, which added an extra layer to the dish.
Next, we tried the Tuna Tar Tar, which was served on a polenta chip, topped with a sliver of heirloom radish. This dish was so refreshing with a zesty flavour I could hardly tell it was made with tuna. It reminded me of a zesty salsa. I very much enjoyed that dish.
Next we tried a pasta dish, Proscini Agnolotti, with Hedgehog Chanterelle and Perigord Truffles. Wow, this was by far my favourite dish. Although it was a pasta dish, it was so light and was filled with a delicious cream. (This dish did not contain fish.)
They did not sample their dessert menu, which would have been nice to end the evening with, but I am sure that I will be returning for that pasta and indulge in some dessert.
Ufficio is located at 1214 Dundas St West, Toronto. Their hours of operation are Tuesday to Sunday, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.