The Forth, as in The Dan forth from former Brassaii chef Chris Kalisperas, is a space with narrow frontage that leads to expansive second and third floor dining rooms with room for 160 seats. The restaurant doesn't think of itself as fine dining though the staff (uniformed with ties and vests or sleek fitted dresses) will show you up if you arrive in jeans.
The interior is outfitted with opulent finishes like herringbone flooring, polished stones and wainscotting. The colour scheme is 50 shades of grey, though the character-adding showpiece artworks have yet to be installed. Projections of archival Toronto streetscapes on rotation take advantage of the extended ceilings.
The seasonally driven menu will change frequently and is listed under the headings "snacks," "appetizers," "mains" and "for two," meaning large format, date-worthy dinners like whole roast chicken ($59) or rack of lamb ($89) with all the trimmings.
From the apps section, the grilled quail ($16) is served with a trio of cauliflower preparations (a purée, crudités and roasted florets) with tart green apple shavings, endive and dollops of quail egg sabayon.
Agnolotti ($20) filled with stracciatella (the basis of burrata) is hand formed and simply sauced with butter, vegetable stock and lemon. Candied pistachio, bitter rapini and a dusting of parmigiano skillfully compliment each other.
The roasted dry-aged duck breast ($28, lead photo) is crusted with coriander, savoury and honey, the skin rendered perfectly crispy while the flesh is moist and just slightly pink. Set over a bright carrot purée and bed of black quinoa, it's accompanied by carrots, brined then roasted for tart but earthy notes, and spoonfuls of sweet Saskatoon berry preserve to round out the dish.
Cocktails are available, though signature drinks are still in the works. The succinct wine menu features mostly Ontario bottles starting at an approachable $40 while the beer list includes craft brews from Muskoka, Amsterdam and Kensington, sold for $6 on draught.
The maple dessert ($9) from pastry chef Elysia Staszczyszyn is especially stunning, composed of almond maple cake, buttermilk ice cream, brown butter panna cotta and a maple macaron, sandwiching whiskey gelee.
The Forth is open nightly for dinner and drinks. While price points a little steep, they match the level of execution which thankfully doesn't follow that haute cuisine trend of ultra small portions. You will leave full, only your wallet will be a little lighter.
Photos by Jesse Milns