Best New Restaurants 2015: #5, Boralia

Best New Restaurants 2015: #5, Boralia

Borealia | 59 Ossington Ave., 647-351-5100

I wasn’t sure what to make of Boralia—yet another trendy restaurant on Ossington. The place, named after a moniker floated for our country during Confederation, appeared targeted at a breed of earnest CBC listeners who own cars only to transport canoes—so I wasn’t entirely surprised to enter one night and spot MP Adam Vaughan presiding over a table. Then Boralia won me over. It’s run by a young couple who recently moved from B.C.: Evelyn Wu Morris, who manages the front of house with plucky charm, and Wayne Morris, her chef husband. Instead of the naked Edison bulbs and subway tile of so many new restaurants, there’s a moody forest mural and a cedar trellis that runs across the ceiling, evoking a Vancouver Island boathouse. The room has personality, as does Morris’s cooking. He’s inspired by historical Canadian recipes, like pigeon pie, with a crust more buttery than any pioneer ever imagined, three precisely balanced micro-sorrel leaves for decoration and a side of fashionable roasted parsnip. He toys with Anglo-Indian kedgeree, adding fresh-popped rice cracker and curry mayo to candy-pink smoked whitefish. The highlight one night was a casserole of dense salt cod quenelles, their marine flavour ratcheted up by a bisque-like velouté and tender lobes of lobster. A history lesson has never left me so happy.