What’s on the menu at And/Ore, a whimsical new Queen West restaurant with a cave

What’s on the menu at And/Ore, a whimsical new Queen West restaurant with a cave

Including all kinds of champagne by the glass and a cotton candy cocktail

The cave-like cellar of And/Ore

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Name: And/Ore
Contact: 1040 Queen St. W., 416-536-1040, andorerestaurant.com, @andorerestaurant
Neighbourhood: West Queen West
Owners: Jaimie Donovan, Kailey DeRubeis, Missy Hui and Abby Rubiales
Chef: Missy Hui (Fabbrica)
Accessibility: Fully accessible
 
Jaimie Donovan, an Australian expat and former mining engineer, decided during the pandemic that she wanted to leave her career to open her ideal restaurant. Her needs were simple: otherworldly ambiance, incredible food, champagne by the glass and—obviously—a cave. So, in 2022, she bought a building and put together a team of talented women, and off she went.

Missy Hui, Jaimie Donovan, Abby Rubiales and Kailey DeRubeis
From left: Hui, Donovan, Rubiales and DeRubeis. Photo by Rick O'Brien

Donovan wanted her first foray into the restaurant industry to hit Toronto’s culinary landscape not with a whimper but with a bang. And she seems to have accomplished that with And/Ore. Features of the sprawling three-storey restaurant on Queen West include a velvet-draped, big top–inspired mezzanine; a hand-cut steel trellis that encloses the main dining “garden”; and a cellar designed to look and feel like an honest-to-goodness cave.

While Donovan’s aim is to take diners outside of Toronto the moment they walk through And/Ore’s door, the magic is not meant to spellbind customers into paying high prices for food that’s an afterthought. In order to make her dream come true, Donovan recruited a team of women entrepreneurs, including former Fabbrica chef Missy Hui and former Drake 150 general manager Kailey DeRubeis. “We were all struck by how passionate Jaimie was, and we loved her vision,” says DeRubeis.

A spread of small plates and cocktails at And/Ore, a new restaurant in Toronto

The food

Hui has developed two distinct seasonal menus: a playful small-plates list for the main and upper levels and a mystery tasting menu ($150) for the cave diners. While she won’t say what’s on the tasting menu (it’s called a mystery menu for a reason), the upstairs card offers an array of interesting snacks. Think tiny tea sandwiches made with Wonder Bread (yes, Wonder Bread) and stuffed with deep-fried oyster mushrooms and Bull-Dog sauce. Or a cheese course that incorporates mozzarella, gochujang and house-fermented kimchi.

Marinated Mediterranean olives flavoured with orange rind and lemon
Marinated Mediterranean olives flavoured with orange rind and lemon are served warm. $7

 

A deviled egg served on a lettuce cup
Hui’s umami bomb of a deviled egg riffs on the flavours of jian bing, a traditional Chinese breakfast crêpe. Here, in place of the pancake, Hui rests the creamy, caper-y egg on a gem-lettuce cup drizzled with fermented bean paste, then finishes it with crispy fried wonton bits, fresh cilantro and green onions. $4 each

 

This potato pavé dish is an unctuous and crispy stack of thinly sliced taters that are deep fried and pressed into a terrine. The dish is garnished with house-made malt vinegar aïoli and a sprinkling of chives
This potato pavé dish is an unctuous and crispy stack of thinly sliced taters that are deep-fried and pressed into a terrine. The dish is garnished with house-made malt vinegar aioli and a sprinkling of chives. $10

 

Creamy and slightly acidic stracciatella from Toronto's Quality Cheese is served with jammy, red wine–pickled figs, walnuts, a parsley and lemon zest pesto, and pan-roasted grapes
One of the composed cheese courses on offer, this beautifully creamy and slightly acidic stracciatella from Quality Cheese is served with jammy red wine–pickled figs, walnuts, a parsley and lemon zest pesto, and pan-roasted grapes. It’s all finished with Maldon salt and microgreens and served with Brodflour toast. $19

 

The caesar salad at And/Ore restaurant
Here we have Hui’s take on a caesar salad. Her version covers grilled baby gem lettuce in grilled white baby shrimp, lemon and parsley toasted breadcrumbs, and white anchovies. The components sit on a sofrito of slow-cooked and caramelized onions, Pommery mustard, garlic and Worcestershire. Dollops of double-smoked bacon aioli are hidden throughout, and it’s all finished with a smattering of fried capers. $33

 

A plate of hamachi crudo
The hamachi tiradito is sushi-grade hamachi that’s been cured in salt, sugar and citrus zest. It’s dressed in an apple-lemon vinaigrette and garnished with kohlrabi, Granny Smith apples and pickled charred jalapeno peppers. $29

 

A king oyster mushroom sandwich at And/Ore in Toronto
The king oyster mushroom katsu sandwich is Hui’s take on a tea sandwich. Here, the breaded and fried fungi are sliced super thin and pressed into a terrine. They’re served on Wonder Bread (a nostalgic childhood treat of Hui’s) coated with Kewpie mayo and accompanied by hot, crunchy brined slaw and Bull-Dog Tonkatsu sauce. $14

 

Roasted carrot panna cotta, a dessert at Toronto's And/Ore restaurant
For the roasted carrot panna cotta, Hui takes the classic flavours of carrot cake and transforms them into a modern plated dessert. The roasted carrot cream is made with whole carrots browned with maple syrup, brown sugar and autumnal spices. The carrots are puréed and then whipped with mascarpone and cream cheese. The cream is topped with a spice-forward, house-stamped gingerbread cookie and a dollop of lemon gel. $10

 

The drinks

There’s a lengthy champagne list (half of which is available by the glass or flight) as well as a Grape Witches–designed selection of mostly natural wines (each available by the glass or bottle). As for the cocktails, Rubiales has created a card of slightly tweaked classics. Most notable is her take on the cosmo, a blend of white cranberry juice, Toronto’s own Laneway vodka and calamansi.

The zero-proof Mae cocktail at Toronto's And/Ore
Named after one of Donovan’s daughters (whose favourite colours are pink and purple), the Mae is a fuchsia-hued zero-proof highball that blends pear, grapefruit, dehydrated black goji berry and pink pitaya powder. It’s garnished with a sprinkling of edible flowers and a mini forest of thyme. $10

 

And/Ore's signature negroni
The signature negroni is a balanced blend of white vermouth, Aperol and grapefruit. It’s finished with a glug of purple-hued Empress gin, served over hand-chipped stamped ice and garnished with rosemary. $22

 

And/Ore's take on the Cosmopolitan cocktail
This is the bar’s updated take on the nuclear-coloured ’90s cosmo, made with a blend of white cranberry juice, calamansi, Laneway Vodka and peach schnapps. $20

 

Andore’s G&T is a zesty and bright blend of elderflower liqueur, thinly sliced cucumber, Laneway Gin and Fever-Tree tonic
Andore’s G&T is a zesty and bright blend of elderflower liqueur, thinly sliced cucumber, Laneway Gin and Fever-Tree tonic. It’s served on rocks and garnished with edible petals. $13

 

While the urge to call the bar’s old fashioned a gold fashioned is real, And/Ore sticks with the classic nomenclature. For it, a delicate blend of Signal Hill Whiskey, peach bitters, earl grey syrup and amarena cherry is served over zebra-stamped, gold leaf–sprinkled ice cubes, and garnished with orange rind and—in place of simple syrup—freshly spun cotton candy.
While the urge to call the bar’s old fashioned a “gold fashioned” is real, And/Ore sticks with the classic nomenclature. For it, a delicate blend of Signal Hill whiskey, peach bitters, Earl Grey syrup and amarena cherry is served over zebra-stamped, gold leaf–sprinkled ice cubes and garnished with orange rind and—in place of simple syrup—freshly spun cotton candy.

 

A cotton candy–topped old fashioned cocktail
Guests are instructed to push down on the spun sugar and stir. $23

 

The space

Three cohesively designed yet different spaces take up And/Ore’s 4,000 square feet. On the main floor, there’s a floor-to-ceiling forest mural (hand-painted by Tisha Myles and Jack Phelps), lush velvet fabrics and purple-tinted windows that wash the room in indigo light. The effect lands diners somewhere between Wonderland and the inside of a rococo painting. Upstairs in the Baz Luhrmann–y mezzanine, high-top tables set before a wall of painted clouds are covered by a velvet-tented ceiling and surrounded by velvet curtains. Finally, an elevator brings guests underground, where they’ll find a hand-poured concrete cave glittering with golden elements, like a metallic bar, gilded tableware and flickering table lamps.

The dining room and bar on the main level of Toronto's And/Ore

The main-floor dining room at Toronto's And/Ore, looking up to the second-storey mezzanine

A hand-painted, floor-to-ceiling mural of a forest scene at And/Ore, a restaurant in Toronto

The bar on the main floor of And/Ore, a restaurant on Queen Street West in Toronto

The upstairs mezzanine at And/Ore, a restaurant in Toronto

The second-floor mezzanine dining room at And/Ore, a restaurant on Queen Street West in Toronto

The cave-like cellar of And/Ore, a restaurant in Toronto's West Queen West neighbourhood

The basement level of And/Ore, a restaurant in Toronto, was designed to look and feel like a cave

The exterior of And/Ore, a restaurant in Toronto