The Football Factory prides itself as a "true Canadian soccer bar". Flags and banners float proudly alongside Bob Marley paraphernalia. Devotees of Toronto FC congregate here each weekend during regular soccer season and a sea of red jerseys parade down Bathurst Street to BMO Field to catch a match. There are 13 HDTV's and four private booths where you can control what you watch.
The Football Factory's version of "Angels on Horseback" ($14.95) goes like this: four jumbo B.C. oysters coated with creamy bearnaise sauce and smokey bacon bits. Served delicately in oyster shells, it's a sexy little display and a perfect balance of sweet and salty. Just because the Football Factory is a sports bar doesn't mean they have to serve greasy traditional Pub food.
Also beautifully presented is the Venison Carpaccio ($10.95). The slightly charred and thinly sliced Venison arrives plated in a circular fashion drizzled with a balsamic reduction and shaved grana-padano. Toast points and a single poached egg rise up through the centre. I dip some Venison in the egg yolk and it melts in my mouth.
The Football Factory menu is one of those that attempts to offer something for everyone: it's market-fresh, international, a bistro, and a local watering hole. I try the "Number Nineteen" ($12.95 - top photo), traditional Vietnamese Noodles with bbq'd beef, mixed vegetables and cashews. Tiny minced specks of coriander and mint have been marinating in the fish sauce which I add to the noodles. It's not Pho Hung but it's a tangy explosion of flavour and nice to look at.
Lastly, The Bathurst Village Salad (8.95) is a composed creation of vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, a balsamic reduction, shaved parmesan and chopped black olives. I had hoped for some greens here (like baby Arugula) but there are none. Nevertheless, it's a delicious and satisfying salad.
The Football Factory is open every day at 7:00 a.m. until the July 1st break during the World Cup. After that it opens at 9:00 a.m. Indoor seating holds 80 patrons. Ask about the special Red Card/Yellow Card Martinis ($9.00) for those who are "out of the game"!