Upon entering Parts and Labour, I was surprised by how large the space was. I’ve been accustomed to tiny little trendy restaurants that don’t take reservations so a larger space and reservations was a nice change. Despite its large size, the restaurant only has communal tables with some additional seating along the bar.
Matching its name, the décor is quite industrial and reminded me of a garage. They also have a space below called “The Shop” which can be rented out for special events.
We started with the Bone Marrow – with bacon onion jam & crostini ($22). I don’t think this dish was meant for two people…just look at the size of these two large bones! I loved the bacon and caramelized onions which topped the marrow. While this was one of the best bone marrow dishes I’ve had, I’d recommend only ordering this if you have at least four people. It’s an incredibly rich and heavy dish.
Next up was the Terrine Board which comes in two sizes – small for $25 or large for $35. Since it was only me and Mike, we went for the small which was more than enough (especially after eating the bone marrow).
The small board came with 5 different terrines. I tried each component from left to right. The first one was the oxtail and snail terrine which ended up being one of my favourites as it had a very strong oxtail flavour. Next was the beef liverwurst which had a mild liver flavour. While I thought it was decent, it was the component I enjoyed the least.
The component in the middle was the pork shoulder rilette (Mike’s favourite) which had a light, spreadable texture. It was perfectly seasoned and tasted delicious spread on a crostini. The fourth component was the pork head cheese. Despite what its name may indicate, head cheese is a type of terrine which contains meat from the head of a pig. Sounds appetizing, eh? I typically enjoy this type of terrine but I found this one a touch underseasoned.
The terrine on the far right was the country terrine which contained ham, blood sausage and pistachios, all wrapped in bacon. We both really enjoyed this terrine as it had such great layers of flavours to it. The board also came with some small sides – grapefruit jam, pickled blueberries and pickled ramps. I found the pickled ramps to be particularly noteworthy. They had the perfect amount of sourness and I just loved the oniony taste of the ramps.
Simply ordering the bone marrow and terrine board along with a couple cocktails would have easily satisfied our hungry appetites. I guess we really underestimated the portions of our first two dishes.
The next dish that arrived was the Beef Tartare – black garlic emulsion, soy egg yolk, horseradish, fingerling chips ($15). The tartare was coarsely chopped and the garlic emulsion was a nice touch. I also appreciated the fingerling chips which gave the tartare a bit of a crunch. We often order beef tartare when eating out and while we found the one at Parts and Labour to be fine, we didn’t find it particularly memorable.
Mike loves octopus so he ordered the Grilled Octopus – Merguez, celery, potato, tarragon mayo, chervil, cardoon ($13). It was a pretty petite plate which was welcomed by us since we had ordered very heavy dishes to start off our meal.
This dish came with one tender and well-seasoned octopus tentacle. It also came with two breakfast-sized Merguez sausages which we both really enjoyed. I was a little worried when I noticed Merguez came with this dish since I didn’t have a great experience with it at Ici Bistro. But I ended up really enjoying the ones served here.
There were also small pieces of new potatoes dotted around the plate, which tasted delicious with the tarragon mayo. Mike and I were fighting over the little dollops of it. Oh-so-tasty!
Before ordering, our server came by to inform us of all the specials of the day – there were a lot of them! One thing that caught our attention was the side of Ramps ($12). I’ve never had them before so I was curious to see what all the hype about this vegetable was all about. You don’t get an enormous portion of them because they’re pretty pricey as they aren’t available year-round.
If you’ve never had ramps before, they taste similar to a leek, with a garlicky and onion-y flavour. While I found the ramps at Parts and Labour to be a little over salted, I still really enjoyed them. A great first experience – I’ll be sure to order these whenever they’re available!
While there were some dishes more memorable than others, it was a solid meal overall. Don’t forget to order the bone marrow – my favourite dish of the evening!
At a glance:
• Located in Parkdale
• Must order the bone marrow (with bacon onion jam)
• Takes reservations
• Communal/bar seating only
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars