Thursday, October 17, 2013

Avant-Goût: French Moroccan Fusion at Yonge & Rox






A cozy neighbourhood bistro that's been serving the Rosedale crowd in the chic Summerhill neighbourhood at Yonge and Roxborough for the past seven years, Avant Goût takes traditional French classics and infuses them with a subtle Moroccan twist. Exposed brick walls, soft lighting and soothing jazz to create an upscale backdrop to the French–North African menu. Mains marry Moroccan spices and tajine dishes with such French staples as rich meats, du puy lentils and pommes allumettes. Specialties on the menu include Moroccan Style Lamb Shanks slowly braised with dried fruits, Grilled Provimi Liver in a Zinfandel and caramelized onion jus and Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with saffron sauce and balsamic reduction. The evening we were there, the restaurant was semi full with Rosedale regulars, an older group the waiter seemed to know well and greeted warmly, but seemed bored and uninterested with everyone else. Unfortunately, were were part of the aforesaid neglected majority.




The Moroccan-lite themed bar with decorative tagine

The stylish interior with exposed brick walls



The evening was part of a wonderful Moroccan-themed Christmas gift from my cousin Diane, and we had high hopes given the restaurant's reputation for French-Moroccan cuisine. However, if you're in search of authentic Moroccan fare, there are other restaurants in the city that do it better and are much more hospitable. Nevertheless, 
Avant Goût is still one of area's more popular dining spots, and if you're one of the regulars, you'll be treated like royalty. 




Tanqueray Martini with olives

Bread and a small crock of butter

Avant-Goût menu

Prosciutto wrapped scallops with saffron sauce and balsamic reduction 
served with sautéed bok choy

Crispy crab cakes, with Dijon-mayonnaise & Moroccan chutney

We ordered a bottle of Terra Rosa, a rich purple Malbec from Argentina

With an exotically perfumed nose and ripe blueberry flavours, 
this was an elegant and inviting wine 

Braised Osso Buco with Yukon Gold-garlic purée and sautéed seasonal vegetables

Moroccan style lamb shank-slow braised with dried fruits, 
with Yukon Gold-garlic purée and sautéed seasonal vegetables