Taken from its original location www.urbandiner.ca
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.
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