Mysteriously tucked around the corner behind the iconic bright yellow doors of Weslodge, Patria brings a surprising grandeur with tall ceilings, lavish paintings, and an all-glass exterior. As the last few weeks of summer have quickly arrived, it's worth all the while to get a seat at the patio - intimate enough for two, yet comfortable for a group setting.
Patria's been on the radar of passionate foodsters and those who simply enjoy dining out in Toronto. I jumped at the opportunity to try the Spanish tapas style restaurant with Tab's mobile app, which allowed a food nut like me to pay the bill with my smartphone and ditch my wallet at home. No waiting time for the waiter to come back, no muckin' about with unnecessary paper bills and change.
Let's talk about how easy Tab is: simply download the app, input your credit card details, and you're good to go! Once you're at the restaurant you can check into the location, create a 'tab', and then pay the bill on your phone when you're ready.
Dining at Patria was reminiscent of my culinary journey in Spain a year ago. Headed by executive chef Stuart Cameron, it is the most authentic Spanish experience you can get in Toronto. Everything is sourced directly from Spain, from the cookware to the sangria jugs to the ham, olive oils, and wines.
My guest and I contemplated on ordering the paella, which you can get for was arguably more suitable for a bigger party. Instead we went with the tapas and I couldn't have been happier as I was incredibly eager to try as many dishes as my stomach can fathom. Our waitress Emily was extremely helpful with her recommendations, and customized our meal to make sure we tried one selection of cheese, meat, tapas, and desserts.
As with all their dishes, the olives are plated in a clean and simple manner, the true Spanish style. It's hard to imagine that just a couple of years ago I could barely stand the taste of olives, until my father would bring fresh olives home and soon enough I started picking at them like grapes. Fresh olives makes all the difference.
The meat plate had a solid selection of ham. You get four different kinds: Morcón salami, Ibérico lomo dry-cured pork loin (a little leaner), spicy Ibérico chorizo, and Jamón serrano, dry-cured Spanish ham.
The Pulpo A La Gallega (char-grilled, paprika dusted octopus) is blanched and cut up into seven pieces, each perched atop creamy fingerling potatoes and drizzled with olive oil. Each piece is tender and smoky. The dish is executed very well and I dub this as one of the most unique ways of eating octopus.
The D.O. Murcia Al Vino, or 'drunken' goat cheese as they like to call it, is garnished with a slice of jam akin to apple & onion, and aged for 75 days in local Murcian wine. It is firm, but soft and creamy. The Croquetas De Pollo (roasted chicken croquettes) met my expectations; they had the right amount of crisp with a soothing burst of citrus from the aioli.
All the tapas we had were rich in flavours; not to mention an incredibly unique pairing of many different ingredients to create a new fusion of flavours I've never had before. The Dátiles Con Tocino Ibérico (bacon wrapped dates) took sweet and salty to a whole other level. Watch out as they will fill you up pretty quickly.
My favourite dish of the night would have to be the Iberian pork flank served with pepper jam. The pigs are raised in Iberian range in Spain and well fed, the reason why the cut turned out spectacular. Crispy around the edges, and tender in the middle, the pig is cooked sous vide so it comes out really flavourful.
The desserts are prepared by pastry chef Anastasia Mucho, all priced at $7 and probably the only food at the establishment that's worth a bit more than the price. The dulce de leche mousse is perfectly light and sweet after a satisfying meal.
Given the small portion sizes, the dishes are without a doubt more expensive than the tapas you'll have in Spain. But there's a price to pay for any imported goods, and combined with the ambiance and decor, you'll feel like you're taken to a modern upscale Barcelona. It's an experience that's hard to replicate, but deserves a tip of the hat to Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth, the entertainment moguls who created this up-and-coming King West hot spot.
Get $10 off your first meal with the promo code TABJEAN795