What’s on the menu at Pompette, Little Italy’s new French restaurant and bar with a big patio

What’s on the menu at Pompette, Little Italy’s new French restaurant and bar with a big patio

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Name: Pompette
Contact: 597 College St., 416-516-1111, pompette.ca, @pompette_to
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Owners: Jonathan Bauer, Martine Bauer and Maxime Hoerth
Chefs: Martine Bauer
Outdoor seating: Patio with 45 seats
Covid-19 safety measures: Hand sanitizer stations at entrance and doorways; tables are sanitized between guests; masks are to be worn when leaving the table; new plexiglass barriers to be installed between tables and at the bar
Accessibility: The dining room is accessible from the main entrance; one step from the street-side patio into main dining room; washrooms are down two flights of stairs.

The food

Chef Bauer comes to Toronto by way of Mauritius, where she worked at the Prince Maurice hotel, and France, where she led the kitchen at Paris’s Hôtel de Matignon, the official residence of the Prime Minister of France (ooh la la!). Once here, she did stints at Brothers and Pearl Morissette, where she made connections with local farmers and producers.

Pompette (which means “tipsy” in French) was three years in the making. By the time the Bauers (Jonathan and Martine are partners in business and in life) and Hoerth got settled in Toronto and found a space, Covid hit. They launched takeout service in May, offering prepared meals, pantry items and booze to-go. Then, in June, they added socially distanced patio and dine-in service, with an emphasis on contemporary French dishes made with seasonal local ingredients.

The house spelt sourdough is baked daily and served with cultured butter.


The kitchen bakes sourdough crackers, which come with the cheese plate along with honey and chili jam.


Leeks dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and topped with creamy egg yolks. $14.


Lobes of pan-fried Ontario sweetbreads are finished with a lemon verbena bisque and served with a seasonal garnish, like roasted cauliflower. $35.


Here, chef Bauer preps the pâté en croute.


Traditionally made with pork, Martine makes hers with chicken.


Here’s a finished plate. A thick slice is served with grainy mustard and pickled veggies. $12.


On our visit, the dessert of the day was a crumbly sable biscuit topped with vanilla-mascarpone whipped cream, and Ontario peaches two ways (poached, fresh). $10.


Here’s a whole spread.


From left to right: Jonathan Bauer, Martine Bauer and Maxime Hoerth.
The drinks

The restaurant’s 3,000-bottle cellar (mainly consignment wines from Europe and Canada) is curated by Strasbourg-born Jonathan Bauer, who was named France’s best sommelier in 2014. Hoerth is responsible for the cocktail menu. Besides having headed the Bar du Bristol in Paris’ five-star Bristol hotel since 2012, he was the first Barman Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2011. At Pompette, his drinks are divided into three categories: modernized classics, spirit-free drinks, and “friends of Pompette”—cocktails based on recipes provided by Hoerth’s international barkeep friends.

A selection of the white wine currently on offer.


And a few of the reds.


Hand-cut ice cubes are stamped with Pompette’s spiral logo.


The Nordic Negroni is a batch cocktail made with red vermouth, Campari, Akvavit and Colombian coffee. It’s finished with one of those stamped ice cubes. $15.


The earthy Beetroot Americano contains Chioggia beetroot, mezcal, red vermouth, Campari and chocolate bitters. $13.


The Nitro Colada is made using coconut water, coconut oil, fresh pineapple juice, curry leaves, Falernum and rum. Infused with pressurized nitrogen gas, the result is velvety and thick, but still super refreshing. $15.


The Pisco Ramos is made with pisco, orange blossom water, citrus, simple syrup, cream, egg white and soda water. $15.


The space

The trio overhauled the space to create the restaurant of their dreams—one where food, cocktails and wine come together in an unpretentious space. They are currently installing plexiglass barriers between tables and at the bar, but for those who aren’t comfortable dining inside, the street-side patio can seat 45 guests. They plan to build a covered veranda in the back for outdoor dining in the winter.

Initially intended to be a place for informal wine tastings with Bauer, the wine island near the main entrance now serves as a wine chiller.


The Clinton Street patio is lined with wooden benches.