Introducing: Bar Vespa, a new Italian-inspired room in Liberty Village
After opening the Sugar Beach–fronting Against the Grain in June, FAB Concepts, the group behind places like Mill Street Brewpub and The Pour House, is now launching Bar Vespa. Located in Liberty Village next door to their Brazen Head pub—and right across from the new Williams Landing—Bar Vespa was inspired by a recent trip through Tuscany by co-owner Sean Bayley and his partners.
The new restaurant’s space was once a boiler room that powered many of the area’s old factories. FAB stripped the high-ceilinged room back to its brick walls, and employed William Cummings of WTC Designs to design a dining room inspired by a Florentine restaurant and bar. In one corner, there’s a giant wire-framed wasp (vespa being Italian for wasp), and along the walls there are photographs of Vespas (the motorized kind) and street scenes of Italy.
The Italian-influenced menu was created by Bayley and FAB chef Kai Chan. Starters include crispy risotto balls ($8), lamb spaducci skewers ($10) and chorizo fonduta ($14), a spin on a classic Italian cheese fondue. There’s the customary caprese salad ($15), panini like grilled eggplant with roasted red pepper ($13) and Vespa wedding soup ($6) for lighter options. The pizzas use house-made dough and come in “Red” varieties like the classic margherita with buffalo mozzarella from the Cheese Boutique ($13) or “White” ones like the portobello, crimini and button mushroom pie with sunchoke puree and taleggio cheese, all drizzled with white truffle oil ($15). The pastas—like butternut squash ravioli in brown butter and sage sauce ($14) and spaghetti carbonara with pancetta and pecorino ($14)—are also homemade. Like other FAB outposts, there’s a healthy selection of cocktails, wine and beer. The wine list is mostly Italian, and there are classic Italian cocktails like the Negroni. Featured beers include Mill Street’s Birra Sophia ($6.24, on draft), a classic Italian-style pilsner made (mostly) exclusively for Bar Vespa and Birra Bruton Stoner, an Italian import that comes in a 750 ml bottle ($28) that’s meant for sharing.
Next up in FAB’s quest for citywide domination: another Against the Grain, this time in Leaside, right across from Olde Yorke Fish and Chips on Laird Drive.
Bar Vespa, 167 East Liberty St., 416-533-8366, barvespa.ca