Introducing: Actinolite, one couple’s labour of love on a quiet stretch of Ossington
(Image: Gizelle Lau)
Nearly six years in the making, the long-awaited
Actinolite opened last week on a quiet strip of Ossington at Hallam, just south of Dupont. Behind the restaurant are husband-and-wife team Justin Cournoyer, a cook with over 15 years of experience (including a four-year stint at Susur) and Claudia Bianchi, a culinary producer for Food Network Canada (Top Chef Canada, Cook Like a Chef) and food stylist. Out of a building that was once home to Our Place Café, the couple has created an approachable yet sophisticated neighbourhood restaurant.
Named after Cournoyer’s hometown of Actinolite (just north of Belleville), the restaurant is homey, exuding country hospitality with a contemporary feel. On the walls are old family photos (including one of their mill in Actinolite) and an original survey map of the town. Found antique accents abound: the façade of the bar is made of drawers fused together, the bookshelf behind the bar is from G.H. Johnson’s Trading Company (just down the street), and an old sign saying “This office closes at 5 p.m.” was found in the building when the couple purchased it.
The menu stays true to the neighbourhood and Cournoyer’s background, with the old-world flavours of Portuguese, Italian and Spanish cuisine touched up with French techniques and seasonal produce. First courses include Kolapore Springs trout ($14) and spring vegetable soup ($9). For mains, there’s grilled Ontario lamb ($28) with lamb sofrito, eggplant, polenta and pine nut jus; steamed Georgian Bay white fish ($24); or grilled grass-fed veal T-bone ($26). To finish, there’s dessert like a grapefruit pavlova ($9). Behind the bar is front-of-house manager
Daniel Brooks, who’s creating a buzz for his wine list showcasing unusual varietals like Albarino from Spain and Falanghina and Barbera from Italy.
129952 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Modern No. 20: Lillet Blanc, Aperol, cava and a splash of Amaro Lucano ($9) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite5-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite5.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite5.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite5/ apr12actinolite5 0 0
Modern No. 20: Lillet Blanc, Aperol, cava and a splash of Amaro Lucano ($9)
129959 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Grilled grass-fed veal T-bone with panko-crusted onions, creamed spinach, asparagus and Parmesan sauce ($26) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite12-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite12.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite12.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite12/ apr12actinolite12 0 0
Grilled grass-fed veal T-bone with panko-crusted onions, creamed spinach, asparagus and Parmesan sauce ($26)
129958 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Kolapore Springs trout with artichoke, carrots, lemon and cold-pressed canola aïoli ($14) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite11-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite11.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite11.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite11/ apr12actinolite11 0 0
Kolapore Springs trout with artichoke, carrots, lemon and cold-pressed canola aïoli ($14)
129957 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Tagliatelle with walnut watercress pesto, porcini and pecorino ($18) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite10-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite10.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite10.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite10/ apr12actinolite10 0 0
Tagliatelle with walnut watercress pesto, porcini and pecorino ($18)
129956 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Apple cider–glazed pork shoulder with pickled beets, hazelnuts and mustard apple cream ($12) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite9-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite9.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite9.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite9/ apr12actinolite9 0 0
Apple cider–glazed pork shoulder with pickled beets, hazelnuts and mustard apple cream ($12)
129955 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Artichoke, sunchoke and asparagus salad with shiitakes, radish, savello cheese and a black olive vinaigrette ($12) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite8-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite8.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite8.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite8/ apr12actinolite8 0 0
Artichoke, sunchoke and asparagus salad with shiitakes, radish, savello cheese and a black olive vinaigrette ($12)
129954 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Spring vegetable soup with asparagus, mushrooms, country ham and tarragon ($9) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite7-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite7.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite7.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite7/ apr12actinolite7 0 0
Spring vegetable soup with asparagus, mushrooms, country ham and tarragon ($9)
129953 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Green beans with sundried tomato and pickled mushrooms ($8) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite6-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite6.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite6.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite6/ apr12actinolite6 0 0
Green beans with sundried tomato and pickled mushrooms ($8)
129951 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Claudia Bianchi at the bar Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite4-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite4.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite4.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite4/ apr12actinolite4 0 0
Claudia Bianchi at the bar
129950 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Original survey map of the town of Actinolite Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite3-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite3.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite3.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite3/ apr12actinolite3 0 0
Original survey map of the town of Actinolite
129949 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite2-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite2.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite2.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite2/ apr12actinolite2 0 0
129948 (Image: Gizelle Lau) The small dining room includes many found antique touches Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite1-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite1.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite1.jpg 624 415  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite1/ apr12actinolite1 0 0
The small dining room includes many found antique touches
129947 (Image: Gizelle Lau) Introducing: Actinolite https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite_intro-96x96.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite_intro.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/apr12Actinolite_intro.jpg 656 436  https://torontolife.com/food/introducing-actinolite/slide/apr12actinolite_intro/ apr12actinolite_intro 0 0
Actinolite, 971 Ossington Ave., 416-962-8943, actinoliterestaurant.com
4 thoughts on “Introducing: Actinolite, one couple’s labour of love on a quiet stretch of Ossington”
This place looks so charming. Beautiful photos.
very nice place , looks cool
Congratulations on the opening. The place looks great and my family loves what was done to the property. We wish the new owners all the success with this new restaurant and we hope to visit soon. The property was original a pharmacy when our parents bought the property in the 1960’s and it had two store fronts, one on Hallam Street and one on Ossington Avenue. The Variety and Gift Store survived until 1990’s when it was rented and transformed to a local grocery store and then a cafe. We sold the property to the new owners and what we see today is the outcome of their hard work to transform the tired old building into the new gem that it is today. Thank you for restoring the good memories that we have with our former business and home.
A fine example of heritage respect. Anyone know who was the designer/architect on this outstanding Job?
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