Toronto’s top artisanal toasts
The artisanal toast craze (yeah, we’re eye-rolling, too) shows no sign of slowing down. Why fight a good thing? There’s something super satisfying about a thick, crispy-chewy slice of freshly baked bread slathered with rich goodies like buttery wild mushrooms, sweet shrimp and even coconut “bacon.” Here are some of our favourites:
Guacamole—the topper that started this whole wacky trend—is heaped on extra thick at IQ Food Co. Avocado is mashed with fresh lime juice, chili flakes, salt and pepper, olive oil and cilantro, then piled on a toasted slice of Blackbird Baking Co.’s organic pullman bread. $6.
Miche, a rustic French sourdough bread from Thuet Bakery, is the base for these shareable toasts at Bar Begonia. This vegetarian version (above right) is spread with chèvre, then topped with cranberry beans and roasted red peppers. $8.
Welsh rabbit is a boozy, open-faced (and rabbit-less) grilled cheese. At the Oxley, aged Canadian cheddar is melted with stout, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, then ladled onto house-made sourdough and slid under the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble and brown. $6.
Skagenröra, or “Skagen mess” is a Nordic spread made with chopped baby shrimp, crème fraîche, red onion, mayo, lemon and dill. At the The Walton, it’s spooned on sprouted rye berry toast from Grimsby’s Scandanavian bakery Park Road Bread and topped with salmon roe and fresh dill. $8.
For the loaded toast at Ceili Cottage, oyster and cremini mushrooms are sautéed in butter and white wine, then poured over house-made country white bread. A slab of melty Tipperary’s Cashel Blue gives it a funky, salty kick. $8.
At Grey Tiger, Bloordale’s vegan tea-and-toast joint, there’s the Priscilla, which is a riff on Elvis’s favourite sandwich. A slice of thick, sweet (vegan, of course) Hokkaido milk bread is spread with organic peanut butter and topped with banana slices and “facon”—coconut meat mixed with tamari, maple syrup and liquid smoke and baked until crispy. $7.
Bar Raval’s kitchen bread was originally made to feed hungry staff during the rush. “When we realized how delicious and balanced it was,” says chef de cuisine Keenan McVey, “we decided to share it with the masses.” House-made sourdough, baked daily, is toasted and spread with garlic mayo, then roasted piquillo peppers—marinated in garlic, olive oil, vinegar and sugar—and boquerones are laid on top. $6.