Weekly Lunch Pick: the splurge-worthy December prix fixe at Splendido

Weekly Lunch Pick: the splurge-worthy December prix fixe at Splendido

Every year, Splendido’s chef Victor Barry and manager Carlo Catallo get into the holiday spirit by opening their doors for that most un-Splendido of meals: lunch. The European Retreat prix fixe series takes place on a few select days in December and is an excellent way to try one of Toronto’s best restaurants at a price far below its standard dinner spend-fest. The 2012 rendition, though less elaborate than in previous years, lives up to this tradition. Apps include a square of rich foie gras parfait set off by brioche, apple purée and celery, and a mushroom salad that could pass as a study in the endless possibilities of fungal textures. A rich main of boudin and crispy pork belly is a guilty pleasure, and makes one of the other options—a delicately layered mountain of sea bass, prosciutto, capers, olives, rapini purée, artichokes and potato—seem downright healthy. Our desserts are playful deconstructions of carrot-ginger cake and peanut-chocolate parfait. Complimentary surprises bookend the meal: to start, shot glasses full of molten, peppery pumpkin soup with divine 12-year cheddar canapés; to close, house-made ginger marshmallows so light they go down like delectable, friendly ghosts.

The cost: $85, including tax and tip.

The time: 1 hour, 49 minutes.

Available: Dec. 13, 14, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

Splendido, 88 Harbord St., 416-929-7788, splendido.ca