Furlough Meets West Queen West

Furlough, a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar from the owners of Bar Chef, opened in late January in the West Queen West space vacated by Ursa late last year.  The look is dimly lit French bistro romantic, with food and drinks served using classic crystal and china.  The service is excellent and my water glass never went empty (not an easy feat considering the size of the glass and my seemingly endless thirst!).

dimly lit room with a long bar and a row of high top stools

Furlough’s bar area (Photo Credit: Furlough)

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Bar Chef, you’ll know that housemade bitters, syrups, and infused liquors form the centrepiece of Frankie Solarik’s unique cocktail concoctions.  Bar Chef was arguably first to launch the molecular mixology concept in Toronto’s bar scene after all.  Furlough offers slightly more subdued but nevertheless tasty libations (no $45 Vanilla and Hickory Smoked Manhattans here).  Cocktails are generally $14, with a few offered at $16 and $18, plus a small wine list, craft beers and absinthe are also available.

a crystal glass garnished with basil next to a candle in a dimly lit room

London Dry Gin, Elderflower liqueur, cucumber, fresh lime juice, fresh basil and vanilla are muddled and then shaken over ice to chill and fine strained over fresh ice, topped with soda.

a cocktail in a crystal chalice style glass

Pastis, Amaretto, fresh lemon, almond orgeat and pineapple juice are shaken and fine strained into an almond sugar rimmed cocktail glass.

The menu is fairly small but we still had trouble deciding between the variety of mouth-watering dishes. We started with Lobster Toast ($11) which offered a generous portion of buttery lobster, though we could have easily ordered two rather than sharing one portion.

Two very small pieces of toast heaped with lobster on top, on an floral blue and white square plate

Lobster Toast ($11)

Both main courses were delicious. My black squid ink risotto and scallops was a beautiful combination of colours, sublimely smooth textures and excellent flavour which resulted in it promptly being wolfed down!  The Linguine Vogale was spicier than expected, but loaded with clams and paired with a huge piece of crusty Italian bread.

black risotto, 3 large scallops, topped with green fennel

Squid ink risotto, scallops & shaved fennel ($26)

lots of clams, pasta and big piece of bread on top

Linguine Vogale ($21)

For dessert we settled on a deconstructed raspberry and chocolate mousse that comes with a shot of Frangelico (yum!). Great topping to a lovely evening…and I left with my water glass still half full.

a round dish filled with chocolate and raspberries on a plate next to a shot glass

Raspberry chocolate mousse with Frangelico ($12)


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