What’s on the menu at Café Cancan, Victor Barry’s new French bistro in the old Harbord Room space

What’s on the menu at Café Cancan, Victor Barry’s new French bistro in the old Harbord Room space

Name: Café Cancan
Contact: 89 Harbord St., 647-341-3100, cafecancan.com, @cafecancanto
Neighbourhood: Harbord Village
Previously: Harbord Room
Owners: Victor Barry, Nikki Leigh McKean and Brendan Piunno
Chefs: Victor Barry (Piano Piano, Splendido, Fika)

The food

Contemporary takes on bistro classics like steak tartare served with fingerling potato chips, French onion soup loaded with shredded short rib and gruyere, and Acadian sturgeon caviar served with tater tots. There’s also chilled seafood, mains for two (roast duck, côte de boeuf) and a whole section of the menu devoted to foie gras. Barry’s Burger, a double-patty number on a house-made milk bun, is meant to satisfy lingering cravings for Harbord Room’s signature item.

A selection of cheese curated by the Cheese Boutique’s Afrim Pristine. Market price.

 

Ce et Cette: this grazing platter features seasonal crudités with a couple of dips (buttermilk, herb), soft-boiled egg, house-cured ham, boquerones and cheese. $18.

 

East coast cocktail oysters (currently French Kiss), served with mignonette and cocktail sauce. $9 for three; $17 for six.

 

Skate wing pan-fried in a brown-butter-and-caper sauce, served like a Waldorf salad with cauliflower, lemon, grapes, apples and hazelnuts. $25.

 

Trout for Two: rainbow trout served with cucumber beurre blanc, and finished tableside with fresh sorrel. $48.

 

Barry’s Burger: two cast iron-cooked patties stacked on a house-made milk bun, dressed with mayo remoulade, red onion, pickles, Ottawa Valley cheddar and a fried egg. It’s served with thick-cut fries and aïoli. $22.
The drinks

A mostly French wine list with a bunch of Champagne and rosé; a growing collection of cognacs and armagnacs; and cocktails, some of them low-proof. Coming soon: an absinthe fountain.

Pêche Et Fleurs: a low-proof cocktail that uses Rinquinquin (peach-flavoured fortified wine) and Belvoir Farms elderflower pressé. $7.

 

Bartender Justin Shiels prepares the Apricot Sazerac, a house cocktail that features Briottet Crème d’Abricot, Rittenhouse overproof rye, ras el hanout bitters. It’s finished with a spritz of (flaming) absinthe. $14.

 

Piunno (left) and Barry toasting with a shot of Jimmy Hoffa (Fernet-Branca and Branca Menta).
The space

Tiffany Pratt (also responsible for the Splendido-Piano Piano transformation) has brightened up the 30-seat room with pastel-coloured walls, confetti-splashed floors and flamingo wallpaper. Later this summer, a back patio will offer room for another 30 guests.

The 10 bar stools are available for walk-in diners.
The “flamingo room” at the back of the restaurant can seat five guests. It has a curtain for privacy.