Sunday, February 1, 2015

Urban Eats @ Città

By: Alison Silveira
Dynamic duo, Charles Khabouth and Hanif Harji have partnered once again to open their new rustic Italian restaurant, Città at City Place downtown. No strangers to the restaurant and hospitality industry, Khabouth and Harji have found success with their wildly popular restaurants, Byblos, Patria, La Société, and Weslodge. Città's kitchen is helmed by Chef Ben Heaton, who focuses on creating authentic, hearty Italian fare using fresh, local ingredients. I recently attended a blogger brunch to sample some of Chef Heaton's novel menu offerings. 
To begin, an abundance of freshly baked goods were presented family style, including deliciously moist, fresh zucchini olive oil muffins and  savoury formaggio speck scones. 
What followed was a seemingly simplistic burrata crostini with wood roasted tomatoes and onion agrodolce, but the flavours were anything but! The crispy textures of the bread, made in house, along with the creamy burrata cheese and sweet and sour agrodolce made this dish a favourite of mine. 
The second course featured succulent duck eggs Benedict with tomato and peperonata on foccacia drizzled with velvety hollandaise sauce, a brunch favourite. Eaten with a side of thick house cured pancetta rashers, the combination was impeccably savoury. 
I also sampled the mouthwatering baked eggs braciole with tomato, pancetta, gremolata, and short ribs, which was well layered and irresistible. The robust, meaty flavours enhanced that of the baked eggs and it was divine.  
The wood fired patate alla carbonara pizza is a heavier dish with potato, guanciale, eggs, pecorino and bechamel sauce. Contrasting textures of the crispy guanciale and the delicate eggs made the pizza a scrumptious and flavoursome choice. 
A rustic Italian meal would not be complete without a pasta course and the buffalo mozzarella agnolotti did not disappoint, with its rich and tasty sauce topped with freshly grated cheese.
My sweet tooth was satisfied with a delightful assortment of pastries and Italian cookies. The home style cannoli with light, fluffy ricotta filling was pleasantly sweet and enrobed in a crisp outer shell. With hazelnut and chocolatey goodness, the Nutella bomboloni will please any palate, as the delectable doughnuts are freshly baked in house daily. What a way to end the bountiful brunch!
The restaurant features large floor-to-ceiling windows that let in natural light, which floods the elegant and open, airy space. Unique country style patterned serving dishes perfectly reflect the rustic theme of the restaurant. Service is professional, prompt, and I was never left without a drink, be it a Bellini or a spicy Caesar.  
After feasting and enjoying Chef Heaton's innovative brunch menu, I know that Città is well on its way to becoming a neighbourhood gem with its simple, yet appetizing rustic Italian cuisine.
Photos: Città (interior) and Alison Silveira (food)

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