Earlier this year, I walked past the front window of Terroni on Queen Street West, caught a glimpse of two friends sharing a giant, mouthwatering pizza and instantly fell in love. With the pizza, not the people (no offense to the people, I’m sure they were nice). I remember seeing arugula. Lots of arugula. And some sausage. On a very big pizza pie. Enjoyed by two smiling people. Oh how I wanted to join in on that pizza party and bask in the joy of delicious food here! But alas, I had eaten already so I wistfully walked away. But not before I mentally plugged them into my “must-come” list for all things pizza, pasta, cheese, panini, and meat in all their Italian glory!
That was months ago and that is how Terroni and I officially became acquainted. My fellow icing sugar queens at Le Dolci, Lisa and Miya, had sung their praises during my cupcake days at the studio, but I had to see it for myself. And did I ever! Just one look and I fell so hard (cookies for anyone who gets the reference), much the same way I fell for Black Skirt and Trattoria Mercatto. Fabulous Italian food with regional nuances and seasonal dishes and ingredients. And while my first meal here at Terronit didn’t end up being an Italian pizza or pasta lunch or dinner, it was instead an Italian pasta and soup weekend brunch! With tea! Glorious, delicious tea in a pot! Welcome to Italian weekend brunch at Terroni Bar Centrale!
Terroni Bar Centrale, located at 1095 Yonge Street at the corner of Price Street and sandwiched between Summerhill and Rosedale subway stations, is a sister restaurant and an arm of the Terroni restaurant family with two other locations in Toronto, one on Queen Street West and the other on Adelaide. Terroni is simultaneously hip and posh, casual and relaxing with the ground floor devoted to weekend brunch, morning yummies, and lighter fare, and the upper level for more intimate Italian fine dining. Oh! And a rooftop patio! Even though much of the ground floor is inhabited by the bar counter where you can watch espressos being made and drinks being concocted, it has such a relaxing, casual vibe that makes weekend brunch here so nice and so appropriate. It’s the type of space that makes you want to sit back with some coffee or tea, some biscotti, and a newspaper. Or in my case, a little pot of tea, some soup, and some Italian pasta. That’s right. For brunch. I’m a hungry girl.
Terroni Bar Centrale’s brunch menu is a goldmine for me. It’s not really my boyfriend’s cup of tea since he’s not the biggest fan of eggs (sigh), but for me, it’s pure gold. Their brunch menu is divided into 5 different food sections, each with a different type of dish: sweet dishes (homemade brioche with homemade jams, pancakes with jam and nutella, yogurt and granola, and biscotti), frittatas (skillet-cooked eggs with smoked salmon, scamorza cheese, fontina cheese, porcini mushrooms, onions, herbs, and more), soup and salad, panini, and hearty savoury Italian mains like braised pork belly and poached eggs, savoury tart and poached eggs, grilled beef tenderloin, and pasta. Prices average out to around $9-$12 with some dishes closer to $6 and $7 and a few that are more than $12. For the most part though, the prices are perfectly in line with numerous other brunch spots in the city and I’d say actually even a bit less expensive. And for those of you who love to have a drink to go with that delicious weekend brunch, they have a selection of eight brunch drinks to tickle the tipple!
What I also love is their selection of tea! There’s plenty of black, green, herbal, and rooibos and it comes served in a beautiful little pot with cute tea cups and saucers. I had myself their Madame Butterfly ($4), a green tea with peach blossom and I loved it. So light and fresh, and warm and comforting; perfect for these rainy days we’ve been having here in the city!
I went all out for brunch this time with a soup and a hearty Italian pasta dish. I indulged in some serious fall comfort food during this meal and I loved it all. It was delicious, yes, but I also loved it because the dishes were something different, dishes that I haven’t really blogged about before. The soup, the Verdura di Mamma Rita, ($9) embodies fall comfort in a bowl with its white navy beans, buttery bread croutons, and swiss chard in a thick broth. And oh my goodness it comes in this adorable white and copper bowl (like a mini crock pot) with two handles on the side! The soup was so hearty and everything just melts in your mouth, especially the croutons which gave little bursts of buttery flavour with every bite.
And then there was my pasta, my lovely Lasagne alla Bolognese ($12) with thick homemade spinach pasta noodles, bolognese ragu, and a thick, ooey gooey cheesy besciamella and Parmigiano layer on top! I almost never have bolognese just because whenever I have pasta, I always lean towards mushrooms sauce, white cream sauce, pesto, and so on, but I enjoyed this dish because the ground meat was just the right texture. It wasn’t mushy, it wasn’t big and clumpy, and it didn’t taste dry and overcooked. I love the fact that it wasn’t overly seasoned and together with the gooey cheese, it was just the right amount of richness and indulgence without going overboard. And the noodles! The noodles were so super thick like pappardelle! And I LOOOOOVE pappardelle! Since the pasta was hidden underneath the top layer of bolognese and cheese, it was such a lovely surprise to dig in and see such beautiful thick green pasta noodles.
It was the perfect type of meal for a drizzly, rainy fall day and there are so many other dishes that I would love to try including those jam and nutella pancakes! And more tea in the cute pots and cups.
Terroni Bar Central is located at 1095 Yonge Street on the corner of Price St. between Summerhill and Rosedale subway stations in midtown Toronto. They’re open 7 days a week: 11:30am-10pm Sunday to Wednesday, 11:30am-11pm Thursday to Saturday.