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With over 25 years of experience at high-end restaurants around Toronto, Chef Mani Binelli brings contemporary Canadian fare to the trendy Dundas West strip.

Upon entering the Guild (@guildresto), I was immediately impressed by its decor. The large space, which seats 90 people, features a beautiful tin ceiling, a long birch bark bar and a spacious open kitchen at the back of the restaurant.

The interior

What I found particularly impressive is the fact that all the featured pieces were sourced and up-cycled by hand including the dining room chairs made with coffee sacs from their coffee supplier and the bar made from fallen Halliburton forest trees. You get the idea. The result is a warm, rustic and cozy restaurant.

The bar

The Guild’s menu is described as rustic yet contemporary. As you’d expect from a chef with extensive experience at restaurants like Canoe and Auberge du Pommier, everything is made in-house. Their pastas are freshly made, they make their own sausages, cure their own meats and even smoke their own bacon.

Their “everything made in-house” philosophy also extends to their cocktails. Their bartender, Alex James, makes his ingredients in-house including the lobster tomato juice used for the house Caesar base.

The Guild

Last week, I attended a media preview of the Guild’s new menu. Here’s a look at what we tried:

Fresh Bread

Fresh Bread

Mother’s Tough Love – gosling’s rum, house made ‘ginger beer’, rocks

Mother’s Tough Love

The Dun West Trading Co – el jimador reposado tequila, leyenda mescal benedectine, apple curry cinnamon shrub, lime, prosecco, west Indian orange bitters, stone

The Dun West Trading Co

Duck Confit – with bourbon black pepper jam & endive slaw

Duck Confit

Aged Balsamic Marinated Tomato Salad – with warm Quebec goat cheese and arugula

Aged Balsamic Marinated Tomato Salad

Seared Omega Pork Belly – with tequila peach compote & kimchi

Seared Omega Pork Belly

Curvy Rigatoni – tossed in roasted garlic tomato cream sauce topped with baby spinach salad & house smoked chicken

Curvy Rigatoni

Wellington County Skirt Steak – with purple potato celeriac mash, French beans & pico de gallo

Wellington County Skirt Steak

Double Chocolate Toasted Almond Biscotti

Double Chocolate Toasted Almond Biscotti

The highlights of the meal for me were the duck confit amuse, the tomato salad and pork belly. The duck confit amuse was a perfect little bite with the bourbon black pepper jam which complemented the meat wonderfully.

Following the delicious bite was an incredible aged balsamic marinated tomato salad. Sure, it might not sound like the most complex dish on the menu but when you have quality ingredients, you really need to let them shine. I have to admit, I’m not always the biggest fan of goat cheese but this was a game-changer. A must-order!

The seared omega pork belly was also a table favourite. Mike and I eat an awful lot of pork belly so we’re not easily wow-ed by it anymore. But this wow-ed us. The pork belly was cooked perfectly and had really nice sweet and sour components to it.

It’s a nice change to eat at a restaurant in the area where you’re not sitting elbow-to-elbow with the next table or shouting over the loud music to hear your dining companions. While the Guild is more refined, I love that it still has a cozy and rustic feel to it. It’s definitely a welcome change to the neighborhood!

*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post are my own.*

The Guild on Urbanspoon

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