It’s our first-ever fully edited video here on the site and we’re ecstatic to bring you this terrific tour of Toronto’s Pantry hosted by owner Greg Bolton. Pantry (974 College St.) is an absolutely lovely family-run café, take-out counter, caterer and gourmet store. They use only farm-fresh, local, sustainably raised produce and meats, and from what we tried, you can really taste the difference. Most people come for the prepared foods, but we sat down at their communal harvest table to check out the new weekend lunch menu.
Rather than saving the best for last, our visit to Pantry started off with the most delicious bowl of Squeaky Cheese Poutine ($6). This was so good that I was dreaming about it for days to come and even considered playing hooky from work to go for another bowl. The generous portion was shared by four and we were all stunned into a satisfying silence by the fries (which tasted more like actual potatoes than I’d ever experienced) and squeaky cheese curds covered with chicken gravy. As you can see, we polished off the bowl pretty, pretty well.
Next up were the mains. I’d have to say that in comparison to our starter, these were smaller portions than we expected, but the quality of food was evident. Pantry’s House-Made Bacon Taster with Baked Egg and Toast ($10) immediately caught our eye since we all love bacon and couldn’t resist trying their four different types. We were not disappointed. The blue plastic sectional plates reminded me of my beloved camping days and was a great presentation for the Whitefish Gravalax and Latke Platter ($14). This was good too but got gobbled up much too quickly.
The stand-out main was the Oxtail and Mushroom Tart on Bed of Greens ($10). It didn’t stand a chance when everyone at the table wanted a taste. It was demolished then devoured, and named the table’s favourite. The only dish we didn’t love was the Grilled Miami Short-Ribs with Roast Garlic and Horseradish Mash ($12). We found the ribs dry and overcooked, but the mash was a good accompaniment. We decided in an ideal world, the tart would come with a side of mash.
For a bunch of first-time visitors, Pantry won us over. We were so swept away by the cozy ambiance, shelves filled with fascinating products and wonderfully hospitable service that we didn’t realize two-and-a-half hours had passed since we first arrived. Pantry is that best kind of place to visit, ’cause you immediately feel like you’re right at home.