Shakespeare was wrong, you know. There’s a lot in a name. A name entices. It can define you. It can entice you. A name – to state the obvious – reminds people who you are. Can you imagine Harry Potter being renamed as… Henry? Or Houdini being known as.. Holud? Madonna as uhm…Madeleine?
I had just missed an exam and was solely in need of sympathetic ears, and distracting company. Feeling rather despondent and glum, I was texting my friend when he suggested we go for dinner at yours truly.
Now if you’re anything like me, your first reaction will be one of befuddlement.
“Yours Truly. 229 Ossington Avenue” comes the response.
And just like that, based on the name alone, my spirits were lifted. Weird, I know. But who wouldn’t want to go eat at a restaurant that has such an intimate name? How comforting. How.. aapon*.
Armed with just the name, I set off for Toronto to park at my friend’s building, switch into his car, wait for a third friend, and then drive together to our destination. Located in the heart of Little Portugal, an area I’m vaguely aware of, Your Truly is snugly situated on a strip with other awesomely named restaurants like The Saint, The Painted Lady, Fishbar, The Communist’s Daughter – aish!! I want to give 4 stars to each of these places just for the names alone!
Anyway, I digress. Back to Yours Truly, where yours truly opted for the vegetarian tasting (fixed) menu of the week.
The first course was popcorn seasoned with one of my favourite spices – sumac , avocado soup, and salad in a teaspoon. There was also a poppadom style popper served with a version of sambhar. In essence, it was Toronto on a plate. Such an eclectic mix is not only possible but expected, which is why I can honestly say – the soup was all right, the popcorn, popper and sambhar delicious, and the salad had a little bit too much vinegar in the dressing that left a weird aftertaste. Again, typically Toronto – you don’t know what to expect next.
Feeling a little curious now, we waited for the second course: green tomatoes with sliced beet, over a cornbread crumble. Mmmm… not bad, not bad at all!
Fortified, we looked forward to the next course – a poached egg served with onion, garlic, chickweed and ash.
My picture does not do justice, and indeed I don’t know if anything short of ordering seconds would do this dish justice. It took a while for this course to come out – we learnt later that the egg takes 35 minutes to poach. But OH how it’s worth it. If you don’t almost lick you plate clean – a rather embarrassing thing to do in public to be sure, but sometimes..you gotta do what you gotta do – then you clearly have a cold, and can’t taste your food properly.
At this point, we’re getting ridiculously full** but raring to try the next course, which did not disappoint me at ALL. We’re talking fluffly pillows of gnocchi in a butter sauce with sorrel, mushrooms and hazelnuts!
Let me repeat that statement: We’re talking fluffly pillows of gnocchi in a butter sauce with sorrel, mushrooms and hazelnuts!
Did I mention the hazelnuts? Pure “I wants to marry the chef” genius. This was the course that had my friends and I brimming – all over the communal table where we sat – with excitement and the kind of satisfaction of those who like what they’re eating. The couple who sat at the other end of the table struck up a conversation with the three of us, and we bonded over our laments that we couldn’t order seconds and thirds. This, my dear friends, is what you’d call a perfect dish.
We finished off our meal with a layered milky dessert – a milk pudding, layered with chamomile syrup, currants and honey milk foam, which was chilled just right and tasted so good that even my lactose intolerant friend couldn’t resist finishing hers.
Overall, Yours Truly was a delightful experience. I’d write more, but I’m kind of busy looking up recipes to mimic that gnocchi dish… 🙂
* aapon : there’s no direct translation of this Bengali word; it implies a feeling of “You are my own” to demonstrate one’s fondness /closeness. It is meant to evoke a cosy, warm feeling. Trust me.
** A ridiculous idea in itself since the portions are minuscule sized, but what do you know? You don’t need to supersize anything for a filling meal.