The word tapas evokes imagery of Spain; bars filled with people laughing and chatting, with drinks in their hands andtiny plates of food between them. Keep that concept in mind—polish it, refine it, improve it—now you’re ready to try Flor Dois Tapas and Supper Club.
At its core, “tapeo” (the art of eating tapas) is the gathering of people to socialize as they eat and drink—simple. This newest addition to the Toronto tapas market takes tapeo and melds it with the world of fine dining to give us a whole new experience.
The kitchen is led by Hugo Saenz (executive chef at sister restaurant Flor de Sal) and Andrew Harasti—it’s Hugo’s menu and Andrew’s kitchen. Basically, Andrew takes Hugo’s ideas and refines them, and since the pair have known each other for a very long time (Andrew worked under Hugo for 9 years) collaborating comes natural. Their approach to the tapas concept is what’s most intriguing—they’ve used Portugal and Spain as their base, and harmoniously infused flavours from the 23 nations whose coasts surround the Mediterranean Sea; resulting in 23 exciting fusions. With so many countries to draw from, the combinations are unique and our tastebuds are grateful.
Speaking with Chef Andrew over a few drinks, I could hear the passion in his words as he told me a bit about himself. His background is exactly what he brings to the kitchen today, a fusion of flavours—Hungarian, Irish, Scottish and a few other things. As you would expect, his love for food has always been present. At four his father would hand him cloves of garlic to chew on, which he jokingly says may be the reason he didn’t have a girlfriend until he was 15. His mother (also a fantastic cook) would prepare special meals for her children’s birthdays, asking them to choose their favourite dish for the evening’s menu. While his siblings would request “normal kid-food”, Andrew would ask his mother to be a little more creative, “I’d love the scalloped potatoes with the glazed ham, please.” As an adult, he’s done some (“not enough”) traveling and those vacations revolve around food. Andrew believes food is not only about the ingredients, it’s about emotion so when he visits restaurants, he speaks with other chefs to help him understand the feeling behind their flavours. This man loves food.
The Mediterranean theme flows from the kitchen into the dining area where themed rooms are decorated with a nautical flair—pay special attention to the bar which is designed to look like a ship and the whale skeleton they created in the north dining room. An elegant mix of materials was used to construct the perfect atmosphere for our dining experience. Wood, tiles and metal create the backdrop which is enhanced by the colourful paintings of local artist Stella Jurgen.
I’ve covered the tapas aspect, but there’s a part dois to this place—supper club. Supper club is an American concept; a destination where people would spend the entire evening—go for drinks, have dinner, watch live entertainment and more drinks. Flor Dois transcends borders, borrowing from multiple continents to create the ultimate social fusion.
FLOR DOIS TAPAS AND SUPPER CLUB 722 COLLEGE ST, TORONTO FLORDOIS.CA
Spice crusted ahi tuna
There are four parts to this making this delicious dish.
1 yellowfin “ahi” tuna
Spice crust blend
white and black sesame seeds
Avocado mousse: (300mL)
1 ripe avocado
1 lime (juice and zest)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt and white pepper
Squid ink aioli (makes 1L)
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
250ml grape seed oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons squid or cuddle fish ink
Lemon ginger vinaigrette (1L)
100ml lemon juice
100ml white wine vinegar
100ml fresh ginger
600ml grape seed oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
squeeze of honey
Spice crust tuna
Toast all crust spices gently. Keep sesame seeds separate.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind toasted spices and seeds.
Take ahi tuna and dip into blended spices: coating evenly.
With a frying pan, on high heat with 1tbsp of oil, sear each side of the tuna for only 10 seconds.
With a food processor or blender add all avocado mousse components and blitz until smooth.
Squid ink aioli
Combine egg yolks with vinegar and mustard in a blender.
Then slowly add grape seed oil.
Finish by folding in ink.
Lemon ginger vinaigrette
To make the vinaigrette you must begin with lemon, vinegar, ginger, mustard and honey.
Slowly emulsify with grape seed oil to the base ingredients.
Season to taste.
Adding cucumber and confit cherry tomatoes to this dish will increase the fresh flavours and colour.