I like liquids better anyway – BarChef – no food please!

Taken from its original location www.urbandiner.ca

The BarChef

June 2, 2009 at 11:05 am · Similar Stories in Cocktail Culture, Lauren Mote, Talking Points

barchef_frankie-solarik

Frankie burning absinthe back and forth through metal pitchers.

As a continuation of my cocktail adventures in Toronto a few weeks ago, I met up with a friend, and one of the talented mixologists that I had met on the Grand Marnier trip to Vail. His name is Frankie Solarik, and he is the co-owner of BarChef – located in the old Opal Jazz Bar just west of Queen and Augusta. What Frankie does here is something that most Canadians have never seen before.

lauren-and-frankie

Lauren presented with very own "smoked" cocktail... thanks Frankie!


The term BarChef itself intrigues, but also gives some obvious hints to the philosphy held at this bar. Classic and housemade ingredients meet science and experimentation, and the entire process is entertaining and delicious. As a trained chef in the kitchen creates dishes using a unique balance of flavour, weight and acidity, the same is true of the barchef.

Here are just a few cocktails found on their 5 page list:

Recession: an ode to a classic style with a BarChef twist Four Seven Two… bourbon, housemade cola bitters, fresh lime, mint syrup

Sweet Vanilla Grapefruit
… (2008 Ontario Champion “Arbiter of Cool National Competition”) fresh red grapefruit, muddled sage, vanilla simple syrup, vodka grapefruit, vanilla-sage sugar rim

Sour Sake Sour… nigori sake, cardamom cumin syrup, fresh lime, egg white, apricot bitters, coconut rum, thai basil sugar rim

Savoury Dirty BarChef
… (in the good way ;) muddled rosemary, gin, brine, olive and rosemary puree, olive-bread crumb-madlon salt rim

Molecular Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan… (our take on an all time classic) vanilla and hickory smoked crown royal extra rare, fresh lemon, housemade cherry vanilla bitters, hickory smoked syrup, vanilla cognac

I was fortunate enough to be in Toronto for BarChef’s Absinthe night – L’Heure Verte. Including the use of Hill’s Absinthe, Frankie has made his own take on an absinthe infusion using neutral grain spirit, with prominent flavours of wormwood, cinnamon and coriander seed. This spirit infusion is 152 Proof (76%abv)  and serious. After having a absinthe listed cocktail called Louvre (absinthe, advocaat, grand marnier, fresh orange, cracked black pepper), Frankie thought it was time for a straight up shot of the homemade stuff… from what I remember it was a great night, and I left a nice tip!

The really cool thing about BarChef is that there’s always room for a freestyle – for $20 a guest can slide into a cocktail personally constructed for them; it even went a little further the following night, where buds from my bouquet of lillies made it into a couple of cocktails. Welcomed hallucinations and the fireworks show are just two of the exciting effects of getting carried away on the menu – personally, the cocktails were so delicious and skillfully made, I wanted to keep going, but I really thought it important to remember this experience sharply.

Next time you’re in Toronto, visit Frankie at BarChef – he will blow your mind. ~ LM

Barchef on Urbanspoon

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About Lauren Mote

Lauren has been an intricate part of the food industry for many years. Whether it’s behind the bar, in the kitchen, tasting and learning about wine, or sitting with her laptop writing food stories and reviews at the local coffee house, it was clear at an early age that Lauren’s professional and personal life would be completely consumed by the joy and passion of edibles.
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