Name: Ration Food Lab Contact: 335 Queen St. W., rationbeverley.com, @ration.beverley Owners: Wesley Barber (Reverie at Weldon Park), Jef Edwards (Test Kitchen Tuesdays, Reverie at the Park), and Chris Nguyen (Strangelove Coffee) Chefs: Executive chef Jef Edwards and corporate chef Raul D’Souza Seating: Capacity of 70 in the main dining room (currently seating 40), with another 70 on the rooftop patio Accessibility: Fully accessible with elevator access to the basement washrooms and rooftop patio
Like many restaurants that opened during the pandemic, Ration Food Lab started as a takeout counter and bodega, selling house-made pantry goods, smash burgers and fried chicken to go. And while you can still find some of these items on the lunch menu, it’s at dinner that chef Edwards and his team shine.
Here, contemporary Canadian cuisine is explored through a six-course tasting menu built on a foundation of zero-waste. Much of what Edwards incorporates into the menu has been foraged with the help of experts; other specialty produce is sourced from local farm partners. The rest of Ration’s pantry is created in the basement lab, where there’s a vertical farm for microgreens.
The constantly changing menu is predominantly plant-based, but there are still four different versions to accommodate different diets: one for meat eaters, another for pescatarians, a gluten-free option and a vegan-friendly one. Requiring less commitment, the a la carte menu draws inspiration from the tasting menu and also features large-format dishes. There’s also brunch on the weekends. And when the weather warms up, the rooftop patio will serve a casual a la carte menu.
The beverage program is taken just as seriously. Barber adventurous wine list features a whole bunch of low-intervention and biodynamic bottles from small producers, including some from Ontario wineries like Vineland’s Cloudsley Cellars. And bar manager Eleni Bock (BarChef, Figures) follows the same zero-waste philosophy practiced by the kitchen for her cocktails. In the Parsnip’arita, for example, Bock replaces the use of Triple Sec with an orange salt rim made from dehydrated candied orange rind, orange pith and salt, for a similar flavour profile.
Taking over the main floor of the Beverley by Sonder, Ration shares its space with Strange Love Coffee. The concrete-clad back dining room, decorated to look like an urban jungle, is meant to make guests feel like they’re dining in an alley. There will be live music and rotating art installations like Biophilia, a light exhibit by Mad Cutter currently on display as part of the DesignTO Festival.
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