Introducing: Bar Salumi, an aperitif bar by the owners of Local Kitchen
Inside Queen West’s new Bar Salumi—under hanging Berkshire prosciutto, garlands of hot peppers and a wild boar’s head—sits the Ferrari of all meat slicers: a Volano. In the hands of the right operator, the apparatus is supposed to make a perfect slice every time. Michael Sangregorio and Fabio Bondi, Bar Salumi’s owners, are hoping to become such operators. “It’s the most expensive thing in the entire bar,” says Sangregorio, who likens it to a Swiss watch. Bondi admits they’re trying to figure out how to use it to its full potential.
We have reason to believe in them; after all, Sangregorio and Bondi are the duo behind Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, which was named one of the best new restaurants of the year. Bar Salumi (Italian for charcuterie) is their “aperitif and piattini bar,” set in a former antique shop just a few doors down from the flagship. The menu here looks simple, but the small appetizer plates are scrupulously prepared. Take the octopus ($8)—pounded out and submerged in a braising liquid for two hours with bay leaves, salt, lemons and wine corks (for tenderizing)—or the sardines ($8), which are deboned by hand and cured in salt and sugar for two hours, then brined in orange juice, limoncello, white wine vinegar, olive oil and parsley for 24 hours, and finally served on a crostino.
While the owners hope the bar will become a destination in its own right, it was partially intended to handle overflow from Local Kitchen. Here, customers can indulge in four takes on the negroni (a gin-based cocktail, $10), a compact selection of wines and, of course, a variety of cured meats and cheeses while waiting for a table down the street. It’s a more lucrative alternative to sending customers over to Parts and Labour, and with the success of the similarly inspired Hoof Café, Sangregorio and Bondi have good reason to hope for two nearly side-by-side ventures to pay off.
Bar Salumi, 1704 Queen St. W. (at Roncesvalles Ave.), 416-588-0100.