http://encorecatering.com/ (416) 661-4460 open whenever you need them
I love food. I love parties. What is a party without good food? Encore catering has been in the business for years – 35 years to be exact – and has organized over 30,000 events for both corporate and private functions. When I asked owner Cary Silber what the smallest event size he would cater and he cleverly replied, “the smallest event we cater is 2 people, because no one should eat alone”. Grinning from ear to ear, I started out into the kitchen, gorgeously looking very cirque du soleil-ish for this evenings open house.
Frankie Solarik, owner of Bar Chef has set up shop in one corner to dazzle us with his luscious cocktails inspired by the evening’s menu. I’ve frequented his spot on many occasions, themed nights are what he is known for and after leaving one of his absinthe parties I have to say whatever happens at Barchef, stays at Barchef. Below, starting on the left: Candied Orange Sour, Rocket, Backwoods Boulevardier.
That said the food is really the star of the evening, a build your own spring roll stations is a dream come true. Fresh rice wraps around a choice of your filling: Peking duck, soya chicken, lobster, jumbo tiger shrimp, mango, lettuce, herbs, rice noodles, carrot cucumber, celery, leeks, Thai basil, papaya, peanuts, dry pork floss, peppers.
Chef Roshan Wanasingha, kept this evenings menu a secret so that everyone would be completely surprised, and who doesn’t love surprises? Roshans culinary background is extensive, classically trained in French cooking. His innovative approach created the most interesting dishes I’ve seen – not just from a catering standpoint – but from what I’ve seen and eaten in Toronto. I’ll start with the Mac and cheese stuffed chicken wing, fascinatingly delicious because of the pan fried brioche stuffed with creamy Caesar butter and anchovies, sitting on a bed of romaine lettuce, garnished with a red beet ring and housemade truffle ketchup. Love the pan seared scallop and parmesan crusted petite filet mignon, papaya mint cranberry salsa, watercress spaetzle, green patty pans, red radish, cucumber conch and Romesco sauce. Piroshky: slow braised beef , housemade mini bun.
I stayed away from the odd cupcake looking muffin below until my curiosity got the best of me and then I’m glad it did ’cause they turned out to be freshly baked stuffed corn bread with BBQ pulled short ribs and Cajun onion straws. A trio of Philly cheese steaks, open faced are perfect to appease the masses: smoked turkey (cranberry jam, avocado, swiss cheese, cranberry focaccia), Filet Mignon (wild mushroom, jus, shaved gruyere on Yorkshire pudding) and heirloom tomato (mozzarella, pesto, fresh basil, Gran Padano, olive bread). Butter chicken Paratha’s, bit sized versions done right.
Another first: pecan and parsley macaroon topped with foie gras pate garnished with fig and a kumquat chip. Black and red Caviar with a dollop of creme fraiche rolled in a crepe tied with a chive string makes this cannoli my latest addiction – I ate like 10 of these they were…AMAZING! I didn’t get to try the lobster clam chowder shooter, but I heard (from boyfriend) the buttermilk bacon jalapeno Havarti biscuits make it so much better.
I did have issue with the Lamb breast confit (white dauphinoise,red pepper glaze, oven dried tomato, basil) being a little dry. Finishing with a made-to-order Kaiserschmarrn Emperor’s pancake leaves my palate happy.