July 1, 2011

Campagnolo

Campagnolo serves up rustic, unpretentious home-cooking in the corner of Dundas and Euclid Ave. Without any distinct signage, it's quite easy to walk right past the place.
The restaurant is actually quite small. The graphic wallpaper and hanging chandelier add charming touches to the rustic, country-style décor. At 7 pm, the dining area was rowdy and loud.
Here is the menu of the day. Immediately, I had to cross out half of the things because they're too exotic for my boyfriend... like oxtail marmalade and Portuguese octopus...
House-made baguette and gougères. I'm not very used to paying for bread, but these were pretty nice. Gougères are savoury choux pastries made of milk or water, egg, cheese, and flour. The center was very light and airy. I personally liked the baguette more, and it was delicious with the accompanying chive butter.
Local burrata cheese with roasted grapes and toasted bread. I really enjoyed the toasted bread with the touch of extra virgin olive oil. The roasted grapes were delightful and provided a sweet counterbalance to the cheese and bread. However, the biggest problem that I had was that the creamy cheese was exceedingly rich and it was hard to eat too much of it on its own. It was delicious if I smeared a small amount on a piece of bread, but ultimately, there was too much cheese and not enough bread to go with it.
Summer squash arancini with Telaggio cheese, served with a tomato sauce. This was actually my first time having fried risotto balls.
Again, there was too much cheese for me. Normally, I would never complain about too much cheese, but the combination of the risotto, squash and cheese made this deep fried concoction overly heavy, particularly after the previous burrata course. At this point, I really wished I had ordered a lighter salad of some sort.
There was a big time gap between the arancini and the last pasta course. But that aside, the final dish of the night was also my favourite: house-made Spaghetti with Bottarga  (Mediterranean cured fish roe, also known as poor man's caviar). The spaghetti was cooked al dente and had a real bite to it, which suited my preferences quite perfectly. The sauce had bright, wonderful flavours.
I love Italian food, so I really wanted to like this place. I thought the spaghetti was really delicious. However, on the balance, I really can't say that I enjoyed the menu of the night. Perhaps my food choices weren't very well thought out, but I was disappointed that there was only one pasta dish that night.
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