Actinolite is tucked away in a not-so-foot-heavy-traffic spot on a residential corner. I had read some reviews about it and had been excited to check it out. So I grabbed my partner in dine and we headed over for a Tuesday evening dinner.
The place was relatively full for a Tuesday. The vibe reminded me of a rustic, luxury cottage with its dark green walls and wooden decor. The restaurant is so-named for the chef’s hometown. So with that said, the ambiance evokes a homey feeling as opposed to a trendy/hip spot to hang out.
As usual, we opted to share several of the dishes.
I started with the Leather Jacket, a cocktail composed of Calvados, rum, lemon juice, simple syrup and a slice of apple for garnish. Don’t be fooled by the smaller-sized cocktails here because one sip will make you realize that if they were any larger you’d need to call a cab.
My partner in dine had a glass of white wine. I must say that the wine menu is a bit scant (if you’re ordering by the glass) and consisted more of imported wine as opposed to local.
The kitchen was very kind to bring most of the dishes out on separate plates (e.g. they split them for us) so that we didn’t have to cut anything thus ruining the presentation of the dishes.
At one point the chef personally came out to speak to us as he saw us snapping photos and took an interest in finding more about where it’d be posted (if at all, this was probably around our 3rd course).
House made bread was brought out for the table and it was delicious. It was a traditional Italian loaf and a very crusty one at that. FYI The earlier you come, the warmer the bread. I devoured the entire bread basket by myself (just to give you an idea as to how good the bread was).
To start we had the Chantarelle Mushroom Soup with truffle oil and parsley. This was a very flavourful soup and the truffle oil was definitely the dominant flavour. A great way to start off the meal.
Next came the Winter Pear Salad, with winter greens, pear, and oyster mushrooms. The salad was beautifully presented and the pear was very crisp.
The third appetizer we opted to share was the Slow Roasted Shrimp + Chicken with salt cod potato purée, artichoke and smoked pepper sauce. This was probably my favourite dish as it was extremely flavourful.
For our main, we had the Grilled Ontario Skirt Steak with broccoli + potato leek purée. I must say the cut was not my favourite as it was a tougher cut of beef. The potato leek purée however, was rich and creamy.
We decided to skip dessert as none of the offerings (Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate Mousse nor Cheese Board) appealed to us.
The damage at the end of the day was about $60 each. I didn’t leave feeling particularly full but my appetite was satiated because the food was tasty.
I left with a feeling of indifference. I dine out not infrequently as a food blogger and the dishes, while not technically flawed, nor off in terms of flavour but I wasn’t particularly excited by the food I ate.