A Brunch at Ufficio / by Didier Young

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We all have specific food items that we would not be able to resist if we were faced with a plate of it. For some people it’s salted caramel and chocolate chip cookies. For others, it might be a bowl of chips with a side of freshly made guacamole. In my case, I’ve always had a soft spot (a.k.a my belly) for Italian cuisine. Who can resist a beautiful plate of pasta, a burrata salad with roasted beets or a bowl of tiramisu? If you disagree, we are probably not meant to be friends. Obviously the more variations of the same item you eat, the more you start to learn what you like and dislike in the making of the dish. You start becoming a picky eater. You begin to expect to be blown away at each bite of your Margherita pizza and it is with high expectations that I visited Ufficio for brunch a few weeks back.

Located near Dundas and Ossington Avenue, Ufficio is a recent addition to Little Portugal. The restaurant serves a selection of pescatarian dishes imagined by chef Jeff Lapointe of Splendido and also has multiple vegetarian options. Today’s trip to the restaurant marks my first time at the institution even though I’ve been wanting to try it out for the longest time. Upon arrival, one would undeniably be blown away by the gorgeous decor of the restaurant. The frontal part forms a small solarium with a patchwork of red, grey and white honeycombed tiles.Two circular white marble tables are closely hugged by comfortable sofa banquettes in a pleasing shade of grey. The brick walls are painted white to create a very clean look and the whole area is accented with pops of black and brass. Small succulents and fresh tulips adorn each one of the tables. The whole place was designed by the Instagram Gods and acts as the perfect location for a photo pilgrimage.

Our small gathering was large enough to order the whole menu, a fact that Isabelle was quick to mention and whose suggestion we were all glad to follow. As most morning meals begin, a cup of coffee first made its apparition in front of me. I am often disappointed by the coffee offerings at restaurants but I am glad to mention that Ufficio served perfectly good coffee in gorgeous cups in vintage patterns of blue and white. The first dishes to come to our table were the Insalata Di Puntarelle (Red wine maple Vinaigrette, poached eggs, pickled puntarelle flower, spuma di parmigiano) and the Ontario Burrata (whipped burrata with Cookstown carrots, carrot purée, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with wildflower honey). Soon after, we received the Toast All’Avocado (House made focaccia, avocado with ricotta and mascarpone, poached eggs), the salmone affumicato (house cured smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, mixed micro greens), the polpo benny (house made english muffin, poached eggs, grilled octopus, hollandaise, romesco, anaheim chilis) and the Uova Cotte (Baked eggs, pomodoro, ricotta, focaccia).  We polished off our meal with the Sweet of the day (Fried bread filled with ricotta, maple bourbon syrup and blueberry compote) and a round of the Bellini of the day.

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Everything was absolutely disgusting. I’m joking, I loved it all. The Toast All’Avocado was an interesting take on the brunch staple and it had a creamy and light texture which was quite pleasing. My favourites were definitely the Insalata Di Puntarelle, a fresh salad with a fantastic depth of flavour, and the polpo benny, a tasty take on the traditional benedict dish on every brunch menu. I would definitely include the Bellini in my list of favourites as well because juice mixed with Prosecco is always a great idea.

I will definitely be including Ufficio in my list of places to go whenever I am asked for a recommendation. One can only hope that they will soon open up for lunches. If they do, you know that I will settle in and call it my office.

-Didier

 

Tee shirt: Maison Kitsuné/ Pants: Kit and Ace/ Shoes: Nike/ Watch: Triwa/ Ring: Gucci