Grove feels like a good little secret (for now). Opened now for about 5 months on the Dundas strip near Ossington, it's too good to be a secret for long. There's buzz about the food from social media and my friends are already talking about it; but the unmarked restaurant may be a bit hard to find, it's at the verge of it's tipping point.
An old dental office come rustic restaurant with high ceilings (15 ft), open concept kitchen and exposed brick walls with knickknacks all around including a vintage fridge from the 50s, mismatched chairs and a long harvest country dining table in the front window space for good people. The dishes are inspired by British classics but chef/co-owner Ben Heaton aims to change our minds and appetites about what British fare should be with a modern and whimsical approach to his food.
While in our minds, the Brits have unhealthy diets and heartier cuisine, the dishes that come out are carefully crafted, feel and look lighter and expand our palettes and exceed expectations.
The amuse are english chips with a potent curry dipping sauce. The chips were perfectly salted, crispy and piping hot and I enjoyed them so much that I burnt the top of my mouth because I didn't want to wait for the chips to cool down.
My appetizer was the parsley-root soup - a must have. Presented with juicy and plump snails, crispy sourdough bread cubes and bacon nubbies while a velvety and creamy puree of simplicity was poured on top making the soup whole. My friend had the first spoon full and she literally closed her eyes and relished the goodness of the soup for a moment. It was amazing to watch and more amazing to taste!
She had the chanterelle mushrooms, black pudding (yes, blood sausage out of the casing) on toast served with a poached duck egg which was nice and flavourful as well.
Our mains came shortly after and while they looked like small plates - they were quite hearty.
Heaton's beef, oyster dish is his take on surf and turf as he pairs beef two ways—skirt steak and short
ribs—with fried oysters, over greens. My girlfriend once again after taking a bite of the oyster lost herself as her eyes closed and she stopped in mid-conversation to savour the bite. She wouldn't even share her other oyster bite with me as it was that good. The beef was very tender as well but the highlight was the oyster.
I had the cod served with small clams and crispy bacon slices in a beurre brun. The cod was melt in your mouth delicious infused with flavours of bacon - it was so good!
**** 1/2 stars
1214 Dundas St W (West of Ossington)