Review of Barista & Chef on St. Clair Ave W

Annabelle Goodman –

I recently discovered this new gem on St Clair near Oakwood. We had a spectacular dinner and I vowed I would return soon for a brunch. The perfect opportunity came when my musician grandson arrived from New York on route for a Western Canadian tour. I had him all to myself for one afternoon and evening. My grandson is a coffee expert.    Hednor is a true barista. He is the co-owner with Elton, the chef. The two were childhood friends in Albania and now are the co-owners of this fine establishment. It is unusual to have a barista in attendance at a fine dining restaurant. Hednor is so proud of his coffees, all listed on the board. I must say my Macchiato was exceptional. My grandson agreed that the Cappuccino was of very high quality and flavor.

The plane was late and we didn’t even arrive until 3:00 pm., after brunch time. No problem. Hednor was very flexible and it was greatly appreciated. I could still order from the Brunch Menu. The Chef’s Omelette was filled with mushrooms, sweet peppers, caramelized onions. It was so delicious! The filling was sufficient for 2 people. Everything was steaming hot and cooked to perfection. The wonderful green salad was dotted with feta cheese. There was enough food for the whole restaurant .2 Eggs Any Style is served with sausage, roasted potatoes and fries. Eggs Florentine is served on a potato, bacon pancake with sautéed shrimps, wilted spinach, fruits and a cheese sauce.

We both enjoyed the warm high quality bread. The hummus was flavorful with a touch of lemon. My grandson is a young healthy man. He opted for a more substantial meal. The Shrimp Linguine was a large bowl of steaming al dente pasta with shrimp, garlic, chili, anchovies, olives and tomato sauce. I have never seen a dish devoured with such enjoyment. Several appetizers appealed to me. Lemon Feta Shrimp is served with crostini, fresh herbs, feta, cream and lemon. The Eggplant Parmigiana is prepared with white cheddar, bread crumbs and basil. The Roasted Beet Salad is offered with spinach, charred scallions and goat cheese. Pears & Gorgonzola are served on baby arugula with candied walnuts

Pasta and Risotto are prominent on the lunch and dinner menu. Crespelle crepes are filled with feta and spinach and topped with a rose sauce. Mushroom Risotto is prepared with field mushrooms, truffle oil and parmesan.

Special Entrees are served in the evening. Braised Lamb Shank is served with caramelized onions and a red wine demi with scalloped potatoes. Rainbow Trout is perfectly prepared and comes with a citrus salad and roasted potato

Chef, Elton, skillfully prepares the food. Hednor served the clients with charm and warmth. They work so well together. I love the fact that all this gourmet food is enhanced with extraordinary coffee. It is all so affordable that you can take the whole family. The outside patio is very spacious and sits on the side street. The total package is worth the trip. I plan to go back soon.