gracecheung604 | write on time: Al Fresco at Buca

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Al Fresco at Buca

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Another European restaurant beckoned while I was in Toronto, after a delicious experience at Edulis a few days before. The location of Buca is well-hidden and you could easily walk past the entrance, but do so and you will miss out on one of the "best of" in Toronto. 
menu cover buca Their menu is updated frequently and there is a date-stamp. But that's not the only thing that gets stamped, stay tuned! I lost my notes on a few of the items in this post, and had to email the staff for details, after pointing them to the photos on my flickr page. 

My response came from Davide, and it shocked me in its details, this was clearly a man who loves food and is very proud of his ingredients. And rather than letting his efforts to to waste, I will quote him on what was "in the glass" or "on the plate" and then give you my take on the items. 
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On the left is the "Testarossa, made with Prosecco, Raspberries, Campari, Honey and fresh lemon, served in the champagne glass." Not being a fan of overly sweet cocktails, I requested that they go easy on the honey. Love the fire-engine red, a tip to its namesake. On the right is the "Tempesta, made with Kraken spiced rum, Cynar, House ginger beer, fresh lime, served in the tumbler." This drink is very fresh and the ginger and rum work well together.
charcuterie at Buca Toronto "As for the salumi, looking at the picture, starting from the left is a hand cut of Prosciutto di Buca (the back leg of the pig, curing in the our salumeria for 18 months, the meat is from Church Hills farms in Ontario, on the side you had the pickled cinnamon caps mushrooms). 
In the centre there is the Lonza (the loin of pork rubbed with pepperoncino and black pepper, curing here at Buca for 3 months circa on the side we served Swiss chard with pickled garlic, first press olive oil and 33 y aged Buca's red wine vinegar).
The last on the right is the Salsiccine ( A classic of Buca, a calabrese style sausage with chillies, the only salume we don't make in house. They are made by John Orofino, where we buy different animals and also Mr. Orofino is one the first "maestro" who taught Rob Gentile (Executive Chef) how to cure meats. On the side of the salsiccine we served the cipollini onions in white vermouth and white wine brine." See how lovingly he describes everything? The prosiutto was very tender and a bit fatty, just the way it should be. The lonza has a faint hint of heat, and the fat is very marbled into the meat itself. It has a dryer mouth feel and the Swiss chard worked really well with these slices. I can see why the Salsiccine is a classic, the flavour is intense and holds its own again the cipollini onions. 
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I had heard lots about these Nodini, essentially little bread nuggets, simply baked and then brushed with olive oil, and topped with a bit of rosemary and sea salt. The outside is a bit crispy, and the centre is soft and doughy. They might not look like much, but they do pack quite a punch! Want to learn how to make them yourself? Here is the recipe
IMG_3586 Remember how I said the menu wasn't the only thing that was stamped? Weill so is this prettily presented Corzetti ai Peperoncini. Each of these little discs of pasta is infused with chili pepper and hand stamped. There are also fresh porcini mushrooms and some shaved prosciutto. It is a very delicate pasta, but the texture is quite pronounced, like eating one side of a thin ravioli. I have no idea how they get the dough so thin, and I think it makes me appreciate it all the more. 
IMG_3587 Another fantastic hand made pasta is the Trofie allo Zafferano. The short noodles have saffron in them, giving them a light orange tinge. It is then tossed with bits of braised baby octopus, some fava beans, and   few cherry tomatoes, in a bone marrow and chili sauce. The heat factor is minimal, but it's the chewiness of the pasta that really gets you. Believe it or not, the braised octopus is so tender that the pasta has more of a bite to it. Add the colourfulness of the green fava beans and the bring red cherry tomatoes, this dish is a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.

Take Note:


  • Make a reservation, you will need one
  • Try a pasta, any pasta and you'll never regret it
  • Skip the wine and go for a cocktail, they are lovingly crafted and potent! 


Buca Osteria & Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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