Best New Restaurants 2015: #8, Bar Fancy
The name is wink-wink. There are no frilly drinks on offer—only bar rail, draft and decent wines for $11 a glass. Grandma-style potted plants block the front window (the entrance is down the side alley), the servers wear old tees and Jays caps, and if you want to sit, grab a folding chair. What’s fancy is the pedigree: the bar is a spinoff of Chantecler, the cultishly popular Parkdale restaurant with a tasting menu of rice-smoked duck breast, seaweed powder–dusted sidestripe shrimp and other innovative delights. Head chef Jonathan Poon conceived Bar Fancy as a casual hangout with an evolving menu of snacks available until last call. The options are relatively cheap and served on melamine, but they’re always excellent, especially the fried chicken, its fantastically crispy coating laced with coriander and chilies. Mid-week, I’ll drop by and make a meal of a half-dozen oysters with Vietnamese fish sauce for dressing, oozing devils-on-horseback, and a plate of house-smoked ham shoulder, crusty bread, old cheddar and a pile of sliced apples to dip in a Lilliputian pot of flowery honey. It’s the ideal not-quite-a-restaurant for when you’re not quite in the mood to commit to a full dinner out.