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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.