Other than eating with my family, I also got a chance to meet some of my old high school friends from Hong Kong in Toronto. Since I was the visitor, my friend wanted me to decide where to eat for dinner. My cousin recommended Bar Buca because she told me that their food was unique and pretty good. Bar Buca was comfortable for a catch up session with my friend but since the sun was out that day, we decided to soak in some sun outside instead of hiding inside at the dim lit bar.
Toronto is currently huge on snack bars. Bar Buca is a place where you can go for a quick lunch or dinner on a weekday or a nice and long brunch on a Saturday morning. However, Bar Buca is quite a costly Italian fare with smaller bites, so if you’re in for something big, this might not be the place for you. Their savoury menu consists of cicchetti (small bites), shiacciata (stuffed focaccia), piatti freddi (cold plates), spuntini (hot plates) and even spiedini (skewers). The menu was awfully confusing to me because their combinations of ingredients were very diverse and I have to admit, I had to Google some of the terms.
My friend and I couldn’t decide on what to order since there were many interesting options that we have tried. After doing a bit more research on Google and Foursquare, we decided that our indecisiveness would be cured by ordering the Assaggini for a taste of all of their small bites placed in a beautiful tier arrangement. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
(Top Left) Nodini – bread knot, rosemary and garlic.
The rosemary and olive oil flavours on the bread knots were very strong and earthy. The garlic gave it an extra lingering punch at the end.
The bread knots were bit a cold and tough to chew on.
(Top Right) Polpette Di Capra – Sicilian style goat meatballs with ricotta, pine nuts and raisins.
I was bit surprised that they served us the goat meatballs since we already ordered it from the spuntini options. I’ll write the review for it at the bottom.
(Bottom right) Sardella Calabrese – fermented young smelts, crostino, chili and burrata.
This was my second favourite in the Assaggini. For those of you who don’t like fishy flavours, you would not want to order this.
The young smelts were on point in its own fishy flavours and with the chilli paste on top, the blend of spiciness and fishiness was exciting to eat. I got to a point where I had to take a sip of water because it got a bit too hot.
The chili was very strong that I couldn’t really taste the burrata on top, which I thought was very creamy and delicious when I tasted it separately.
(Bottom left) Panino Bagnato – lampredotto, salsa verde and peperoncini.
This was my favourite option because they have mastered beef tripe in a bun.
The salsa verde gave the tripe so much spice and the bun was crispy while the juice from the tripe and salsa verde was dripping out.
The Panino Bagnato definitely had a surprise in the middle of the bun. Placed right in the centre of the bun was a lovely piece of hot peperoncini that had me drinking ever last drop of water in my glass. It was like a sudden bomb that exploded but it did compliment the tripe and salsa verde.
What’s in it: roast tuscan pork, apple mostarda, agliata and mascarpone.
From the sweetness and crispiness in the apple mostarda to the saltiness in the roast tuscan pork, every ingredient in this shiacciata was a delicious fusion with distinct flavours that protrude in every bite.
I absolutely loved the porchetta because it looked so simple but once I bit into it, the flavours were delicious and harmonious together.
Polpette Di Capra
What’s in it: Sicilian style goat meatballs with ricotta, pine nuts and raisins.
The texture of the goat meatballs was fantastic and the meat was very moist and juicy.
The tomato sauce had a hint of spiciness in it with rich tomato flavours, almost masking the ricotta cheese. Regardless, the tomato sauce was executed perfectly with the goat meatballs.
Bar Buca did an excellent job in fusing sweet and savoury together in one dish. My point is once again proven in the raisins added to the Polpette Di Capra that were a delectable sweet addition to the rich tomato sauce.