BRUDA: Decent, but no wows until dessert

416-927 0222    |    $16-24 mains


I’m guessing you’ve never heard of Bruda unless you’re an avid reader of Toronto Life or following Dish Duel. This place just opened at the end of last year and is still relatively unknown in the Little Italy area. The ‘European’ menu looked interesting to me, invited them to participate in Dish Duel, and next thing you know we’re there tasting a bunch of stuff. Here’s the rundown:

Photo Credit: Post City


The menu is deemed European, but from the average observer I’d just say its eclectic. The starters range from crispy spring rolls, to bisques, to back ribs; mains cover most proteins you could want other than beef (so don’t come looking for a steak frites). 

We started with the duck confit spring rolls (above) with crushed peanuts and sweet and sour sauce. Cool concept, nice crunchy exterior, but I found the duck kind of indistinguishable and a little dry inside. Duck confit screams moist to me and it wasn’t there. Good thing there was some sauce.

Next we had the bourbon braised back ribs (above). They came off the bone pretty easily, which was a good sign and the sauce worked well. Couldn’t quite place the taste, but not overly sweet and definitely not conventional. The issue again was dryness of the meat, which luckily had sauce.

Our first main, entitled New World Carbonara, was my favourite savoury of the night. The inclusion of a healthy number of chanterelles was the difference maker. Accompanied by serrano ham and a gooey duck egg, I quite enjoyed this. The papardelle may have been a bit thick for some people and the amount of egg white and shape wasn’t particularly appetizing. Generally though, good dish.

The final was the Dish Duel pork tenderloin dish. My ‘judge’s take’ for the competition went like so:

Moist pork wrapped in bacon is always a good way to start a dish. Stella and I referred to it as the ham you wish you had at thanksgiving. Also thought the flavour of the coffee and fig reduction was on point, just needed a tad more of it. Didn’t understand how the gratin and veg tied in though, so those weren’t quite as memorable.

For dessert we tried two dishes. The first was an assortment of their three ice creams. To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember two of them (I guess that means they were forgettable?). The third you should just get three scoops of: jamaican pumpkin with pine nut brittle! So good. Had more of a paste texture than ice cream, but who cares. Loved it.

Then came the smoked chocolate tart with sour cherries. Looks ordinary, isn’t though. I’ve never had smoked chocolate and I clearly had no idea what I was missing. The flavour was genuinely smokey, and when combined with sour cherries was surprisingly delicious. 

Service and Ambience

There aren’t necessarily a lot tables, but the room feels spacious with the high ceilings and spacious benches. Also, really liked the wooden tables, couldn’t tell you why though. Just want them. The walls were admittedly a little bare and could use a few more pieces of art in my opinion. 

Photo Credit: Toronto Life

It was a pretty slow night during the week so service was understandably speedy and attentive. Don’t really have too much more to say about it, but met the two owners Victor and Neil: both nice dudes. 

The Reco?

Little Italy has become incredibly competitive for new restaurants, so for that reason I can’t say I’d make a point to come back to Bruda if I were in the area for the next little while. Would give it a few more months and some menu cycles. The apps and mains had a few flaws, but I’d likely drop by for some dessert. Gotta have some of the pumpkin paste and smoked chocolate. I’ll end with that.

Other reviews:

 Posted by: Jacob, Visited Feb 12, 2012

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