What’s on the menu at Frilu, Thornhill’s fancy new Canadian tasting menu restaurant

What’s on the menu at Frilu, Thornhill’s fancy new Canadian tasting menu restaurant

Name: Frilu
Contact: 7713 Yonge St., Thornhill, 289-597-8867, frilurestaurant.com, @frilu_restaurant
Neighbourhood: Thornhill
Previously: Wild Taurus Tapas Bar
Owners: John-Vincent Troiano and Sandra Troiano
Chef: Executive chef John-Vincent Troiano (Tutti Matti, Acadia) and head chef So Sakata (Via Allegro)

The food

The restaurant’s name is derived from the Norwegian term friluftsliv, which roughly means “being one with nature.” Frilu’s $95 eight- to twelve-course contemporary Canadian tasting menu is driven by local and seasonal ingredients, but heavily influenced by Asian flavours and techniques, which can be seen in the current 10-course menu that Troiano (who completed a stage at Noma) developed with chefs So Sakata and Keith Siu. Those looking for less of a commitment can order from an a la carte snack menu that may list items like a katsu sandwich.

Troiano’s Lar-Eo sandwiches whipped pork fat between black quinoa and blueberry biscuits.


Prosciutto-aged rainbow trout with fermented ground cherry in a sake broth with yeast oil.


The Ground and Sea dish tops an agedashi-style cube of burdock with Vancouver sea urchin and roasted chicken jus.


The Cervos, Smoke and Hazel features a piece of venison tongue that’s been roasted over Japanese charcoal. It’s topped with fresh hazelnut shavings and accompanied by an onion-anchovy purée.


The Pumpkin Patch features a mini-pumpkin filled with a bone marrow soufflé. The pumpkin mixture is meant to be spread on the accompanying house-made pumpkin seed bread.


Mineral / Savory features a grilled hen-of-the-woods mushroom brushed with fermented mushroom paste and bread miso.


The Surf and Turf pairs a butter-roasted spiny lobster tail with beef floss and serves them on horseradish cream.


Waterfowl: Marsh combines coal-roasted duck breast with rice and crispy dehydrated kale, turnip and bonito flakes. The dish is finished tableside with a burnt-onion broth.


Earth Apple, an alias for Jerusalem artichokes, shows up as both ice cream and deep-fried chips, topped with roasted apple purée and coffee crumble.


This Frilu-branded Dora Cake is Troiano’s rendition of the dorayaki, a Japanese dessert made with Castella pancakes and typically filled with red bean paste. Here the pancakes sandwich fresh mascarpone, fermented pear and sake lees.


Executive chef and co-owner John-Vincent Troiano.


The drinks

Besides a short list of wine, sake and beer, there are a couple of house tonics made with seaweed- or cedar-infused rice spirits. Guests can opt-in on beverage pairings, which may feature anything from the photo below, or Portuguese madeira selected by front-of-house manager Kelli Ewing (Tutti Matti).

A selection of beer, wine and sake, offered at Frilu.


Frilu’s digestion-aiding tonic is made with a seaweed-infused rice spirit.


The space

The minimalist-designed space is all stone, wood and even some preserved moss. There’s a patio out front and—get this—free parking behind the restaurant.

This wood-panelled wall was cut and patterned to mimic mountains, an auspicious symbol in feng shui (which Sandra practices).