While Batifole Gourmand may not be new, there are many reasons to dine at the charming eatery in Chinatown East.
Here’s ten, for starters:
1. Made from scratch
Pascal Geffroy has been at the stove since the tender age of 14. The French chef has won many prestigious awards throughout his career (Award des Chevalier de l'Olivier in 1999, Award des Chevalier of Truffle and Gastronomie in 2000), and worked alongside great chefs including Didier Leroy and Paul Bocuse.
He insists on shopping daily for many of his ingredients. By overseeing the quality of ingredients himself, he’s able to add fresh, seasonal items to the menu.
Everything is made from scratch, including all breads, ice creams, pates, sauces, and desserts. And salmon is smoked in-house. After a 24-hour salt cure, the brightly coloured fish is transferred to water for one hour, dried, then covered with herbs, sesame seeds, and olive oil. Cold smoked for three to three-and-a-half hours results in an infused smokiness that doesn’t distract from the immense freshness.
2. The real deal
Chef Geoffroy does things the classic French way. Authentically. There are no shortcuts here.
That means that the French onion soup that’s launching on the menu shortly won’t take a simple afternoon of prep, but days.
The chicken consommé alone is cooked for three days straight before combining with soft caramelized onions for a rich velvety antidote to this never-ending winter.
3. Travel without packing a single bag
Despite being nestled in bustling Chinatown East, Batifole transports you to the French countryside.
Enjoy Parisian tunes emitted softly from speakers in a warm, rustic dining room. Servers with thick accents take your order while you peruse the wine list featuring exclusively French bottles and pours.
Though not commonly used in this part of the world, Geoffroy says Batifole is bistronomie – think: bistro meets gastronomy.
A hybrid of casual bistro and fine dining, the term boasts the execution and presentation of haute cuisine, with more approachable items and prices.
From lighter fare (Endive Salad with Prosciutto $16, Catch of the Day $28) to decadent dishes (Pan Served Foie Gras $28, and Le Cassoulet Royal $26), the choice is yours.
Take a closer look:
Smoked Salmon ($18)
Three thick slabs of house smoked salmon with a crust of herbs de Provence and sprinkling of flour de sel on top are set in between big swaths of cream mixed with chives and studded with yellow and red sweety drop miniature peppers. The plate is finished with a drop of balsamic in the middle of dollops of green olive oil, interspersed with edible flower petals for a true pièce de résistance.
Top Sirloin ($30) with Morel Sauce
The rich buttery sauce is so velvety smooth, it should be served in a cup. And the mashed potatoes with chives are worth the trip too.
The center of the dish – the beef – is top notch, but it’s the big pile of shallots resting on top that stand out. Sautéed in olive oil, butter, and water, they’re not the usual soft texture you’d expect. Instead they’re kept crunchy for a fabulous juxtaposition of textures.
Paris Brest ($12)
Geoffroy doesn’t just make his own almond and caramel cream filling - he creates two, so he can “control the lightness and textures.” The crunchy rustic pâte à choux covered in raw filberts and a heavy dusting of icing sugar is piped with ribbons of creamy, light hazelnut mousseline.
Finished with filigree chocolate shards and a chocolate medallion gold “P” seal, the presentation is off the charts. Think: Kings of Pastry on a smaller scale. ‘
And thanks to the many daily specials, there’s always something new to try.
Tip: Portions are generous, so don’t feel you have to finish it all in one sitting. Besides, you want to save room for #7 (see below).
6. There’s a new aperitivo hour in town
The just launched after work menu is available daily from 5pm-7pm featuring Oysters ($2.80), Selection of French Cheese (3/$18, 6/$28), House Smoked Salmon ($18), and Charcuterie Board ($24) featuring Prosciutto, chorizo, dry pork sausage, and amber beer sausage.
Paired with a glass of wine or beer, it’s a welcome interlude after a long work day.
7. A rare dessert
If you’ve tried to make a soufflé, you know what a delicate process it is. And difficult to pull off.
Geffroy says Batifole is one of only two restaurants in Toronto that does soufflé with orange.
Soufflé Grand Mariner ($12) takes 20 minutes to make, but it’s worth the wait.
Tip: Not into waiting around for dessert? Order it when you’re halfway through your main dish.
8. Your daily bread
After sampling the housemade bread at the beginning of the meal, there’s little chance you won’t want to get some to go.
Now you bring a loaf of Multigrain Bread ($8/700 g) home.
Boasting a soft crumb and nutty, light, crisp crust, it’s not going to last long, so best get a couple to get you through the week.
9. On the quieter side
The first non-Asian restaurant to open on Gerrard is one of the few restaurants anywhere in Toronto that’s generally pretty quiet. So if you’re not into the raucous that accompanies most places these days, Batifole is for you.
Even the kitchen’s delicate bell is muffled when rung. Très sophistiqué!
10. Up next
Not content to rest of his laurels, Geoffroy is always working on the next project. First up: a patisserie is in the works, set to launch next year. The bakery/boutique will be open during the day, allowing you to sit and enjoy a meal or snack or take it to go.
A sneak peek at items currently in development: more bread, pâté, pissaladière, and croque monsieur on brioche, for starters.
744 Gerrard St. E.
Tues to Sat 5pm to close