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Posted by Ryan Spencer / Listed on January 26, 2012 / review policy

Bruda TorontoBruDa is the latest incarnation of the former Negroni — and short lived Carpano — space on College at the eastern edge of Little Italy. Unlike the previous tenants, BruDa isn't solely an italian eatery but rather an upscale pan-European venture by Neil Da Costa and Victor Brum, formerly of Trattoria Giancarlo.

The space must've been a turnkey sale as most of the interior has stayed the same. The church pews and open concept kitchen did not detract nor add any personality from its previous occupants, but we do note rather early on that the service is attentive and friendly.

Upon seating, our attentive server quickly placed a cruet of olive oil and slices of house-made baguette on our table. The oil was sorely needed as the bread was pre-sliced and dried out long before we arrived. The crust featured a hue similar to my own pasty winter skin, and if there's no colour, there's no flavour. Oh well. Onto bigger and better things, we hoped.

Bruda TorontoWe began with the slow cooked spiced rabbit over a potato cake and topped with micro-greens ($10). Rabbit can be a sinewy gamy cut of meat (even farmed) so a low and slow method of cooking is perfect — at least I thought. The protein was broken down to the point it resembled canned chicken and the vague "spiced" aspect was completely missing. The dish seemed like a failed attempt to confit without olive oil.

Bruda TorontoThe double smoked pork tenderloin with a coffee-fig reduction and a butternut squash gratin ($17) stood out on the menu just for the pairing of figs with pork — a great combo. Moist and smokey without being overpowering, the loin was a knockout that tasted similar to a cured ham accented by the slightly sweet and acidic reduction. Again, there were issues with seasoning. The gratin lacked proper salt and pepper leaving a bland starchy film on the palate. Further to that, its seemed a bit pedestrian for what BruDa boasts it's all about. Not exactly the reaction I was expecting this dish to elicit.

Bruda TorontoI was impressed by Carpano's gnocchi so why not put BruDa up to the Pepsi challenge? The chef-rolled Gnocchi was accompanied by a complex broth of leeks, truffle, brussel leaves and my drug of choice, burrata. Balanced and complex, the dish was wonderful except for the main attraction, the gnocchi. They were overworked, creating glutinous batons that were far too dense and heavy.

The ever expanding gnocchi in my stomach put the kibosh on dessert. We were done and not altogether satisfied with the meal.

Bruda TorontoBruda Toronto



Darren Brown / December 31, 2011 at 01:11 pm
The food at Bruda is okay, but definitely not great. But the reason I will NEVER dine here again is their arrogance and lack of customer service.
Jerry Louis / January 3, 2012 at 01:46 pm
It's ok but nothing special. The food, the service, all ok. I don't see the point in going back. Overpriced.
Matt P / January 16, 2012 at 08:38 pm
Really enjoyed my experience at Bruda. The food was tasty and well priced for the quality. Atmosphere is chilled out and welcoming. I'll definitely be back.
Sabrina / January 26, 2012 at 10:56 am
What is that? It's so tall and high...ohhhh it's your horse.
You can come back down now.
nosh / January 26, 2012 at 11:19 am
Carpano had goddamn fantastic panini sandwiches. And very good pasta.

This place looks way more high falutin'.

Can't really bring my kids here.

Oh well.
Biff / January 26, 2012 at 04:57 pm
In my head I pronounce it Brudda... like Brother.
sinner / January 26, 2012 at 08:57 pm
We got eyeballs all up in this joint. Eyeball city.
Jordan / January 27, 2012 at 01:40 am
The food looks sad in these pictures.
gordrisk replying to a comment from Jordan / January 27, 2012 at 11:57 am
ekisoo / February 22, 2012 at 03:53 pm
Interesting name for a restaurant. "Bruda" in Polish means "dirt". No wonder they recently got a conditional pass from the city...
rainy / March 23, 2012 at 11:03 am
I was a bit unsure of this place as I had read this review before going to check it out, but I live in the neighbourhood and decided to give it a shot. I'm vegetarian, and had a really delicious meal. I tried the gnocchi featured in this review and I found it to be super light and delicate. Maybe the author in this review went on an off-night? Or perhaps the chef has changed the gnocchi since then? Anyway….. I liked it and I had a pretty great experience!
Ztugats / May 20, 2012 at 01:33 am
Place is run by losers. Guarantee closed next year by this time.
Ztugats / March 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm
Ha! called it. Place sucks and for sale. later....

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