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Oct 6, 2010 08:16 AM

Fabbrica - Lunch Review

I had lunch at Fabbrica last Saturday (the day after their official launch). Others interested in lunch should be advised that the hours posted on the website are incorrect; they open at 11:30 a.m., not 11 a.m. I showed up a few minutes before 11 a.m. and although staff were inside, no one informed us of the later opening time. In a span of about 10 minutes, I saw at least 15 interested diners walk away discouraged because they too had arrived for 11 a.m. (no hours are posted on the door). I discovered the real opening time by going across the street to McEwan's and doing some investigative work.

Now, onto the food! I dined with my sister which allowed me to try quite a few dishes.

Funghi pizza with cremini mushrooms, mozzarella and truffle crema - I have not had Buca's version, but I really, really enjoyed Fabbrica's. As advertised pre-launch, the pizza cooked quickly and arrived at the table piping hot. The crust had a perfect amount of char, crispness and chew – no undercooked dough here! They were very generous with the truffle, but not to the point that it overwhelmed the other flavours. Based on this experience, I do prefer Fabbrica’s pizza to Libretto, and am anxious to go back and try their Margherita.

Pappardelle with crab, guanciale, cream and soft poached egg – This dish was fabulous. As much as I enjoyed the pizza, I loved the pappardelle more. The fresh pappardelle was cooked al dente and the dish offered generous chunks of crab, lots of small salty strips of guanciale to add another flavour and texture dimension and a perfectly poached egg. To top it off, the cream sauce was flavourful and garlicky, far exceeding my expectations of this seemingly simple dish, of which I could not get enough. I actually used my pizza crust to sop up every last bit of the sauce.

Panna cotta with streusel, olive oil and roasted figs – The crunchy streusel offered a welcome texture change to the creamy panna cotta that was bursting with fresh vanilla bean flavour. Surprisingly (at least to me), the olive oil tossed roasted figs was the perfect complement. Such a refreshing end to a carb-heavy meal.

Zeppole filled with orange cream and dusted with cinnamon sugar, and white chocolate sauce – I love sweet desserts, but even this was a bit much for me. After the first mini doughnut, the rest tasted like nothing special. I also found it odd that there was nearly a bowlful of white chocolate sauce. The doughnut was already sweet enough without that accompanying sweet soup. I actually prefer C5’s mini doughnuts to this. Would not order again.

All in all, a great meal. I am looking forward to going back and trying some other dishes, including the house cured meats, which are stored in a room with pickled veggies. You can see it all thanks to the big glass windows.

On a semi-related note, I’ve visited other McEwan establishments and found it funny that the female wait staff is all glammed up and wearing outfits that offer little coverage. Speaks to the location, I think, as I’ve read that Glow is similar in this regard.

Also, I ran into Mark McEwan on the way out. As expected in these early days, he is a constant presence at the restaurant.

Pictures are attached (sorry for the low quality; forgot my camera and was using my BlackBerry). I’d love to hear others’ thoughts if they’ve also had an opportunity to try Fabbrica.

604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

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  1. looks great! will probably try to go soon :)

      1. re: Helen

        I didn't find the prices to be expensive actually, especially because quality ingredients are being used, but I guess that's subjective.

        1. re: LTL

          are lunch prices different from the prices on the dinner menu online? i did not see a lunch menu online.

          1. re: szw

            That explains why I didn't see items like the veal brain ravioli! At a quick glance, lunch prices are the same (I think) but with a much more limited menu.

      2. The Papperdelle (House made) withCrab is delicious, but I found specks of Crab in my dish.
        The Sweetbreads are well prepared as well, but remember that everything is an add on.
        No Veggies or sides with plates.
        They do not serve bread????
        Our friend had the Gnocci and was really impressed despite the fact that her dish was lukewarm.
        DH had the Pizza and I would put the Crust on par with Libretto.
        The tastiest dish was the Octopus Chick pea Salad, as the Octopus was Charred and very tender.
        Service is too good at this point, but hopefully will return to normal once they settle in.
        For Salumi lovers (we are not) you would be in Pig Heaven.

        3 Replies
        1. re: erly

          Sorry to hear that you found crab shell (I assume) in your dish. Quite an amateur mistake on their part. I didn't notice sweetbreads on the menu; their online menu has some items I didn't see in the restaurant either (e.g. veal brain ravioli). I heard a waitress mention to a neighbouring table that bread is available for $2.

          Just wondering - did you happen to dine during dinner? I popped in another time for dinner (no reservations) and they seemed quite overwhelmed which would help explain but not excuse the issues you had.

          1. re: LTL

            We were there for Dinner.
            I meant that there was very little Crab (just specks) not Shell.
            It is a bit tacky not to serve Bread.
            The espresso was also lukewarm, but we didn't say anything because they need time to get their act totally together.
            Can't remember if the Calf Brain Ravioli is on the Menu or not.
            They are heavy on Pig, and short on Poultry.
            None at the moment.
            Can't decide if I like the place or not, but the Papperdelle will probably draw me back, even though they were Chintzy with the Crab..

            1. re: erly

              I agree regarding the bread, especially since at McEwan's other restos, bread is ample, hot and walked around every 5 or so minutes (referring specifically to Bymark). That bread better be amazing for an extra $2!

              I'm sorry to hear about your experience but glad you are willing to give them another chance. I had a few issues as mentioned above, but overall a bit more pleasant than yours. Again, I think this is because I went during lunch. The day I walked in at dinner, they told me the kitchen was totally backed up and front of house was visibly stressed. I walked out because it was too chaotic for me. Hopefully things settle down soon.

              66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA