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Restaurant review: Bar Mignonette

If you love the vibes at Dundas West's Patois, you'll really love heading upstairs to Bar Mignonette, the new go-to spot for seafood and wine in Bellwoods.

Bar Mignonette: What's the vibe?

After almost seven years in the Toronto restaurant scene, Patois, a popular Caribbean-Asian, soul-food joint on Dundas West (and one of chef Mark McEwan's faves), is the dining equivalent of popping on a comfy pair of slippers. So it stands to reason that when it came to their second-floor offspring, Craig Wong and Ivy Lam wanted to try something a little different.

Unlike the comforting dishes of fusion food on offer below (and one heck of a Patois party pineapple cocktail), Bar Mignonette is an exceedingly cute wine bar in the business of small, often raw, sometimes rich and always delicious plates of food that allow Wong to flex his culinary prowess. As the name suggests (mignonette refers to the classic oyster accoutrement made using vinegar, shallots and white pepper) seafood is the star of the show.

The petite but charming space feels like that gem of a bar you accidentally stumbled upon in Barcelona, except you're in Trinity Bellwoods. Pastel blue and white checkered floor tiles, busy red shelves lined with bottles of biodynamic wine and adorable trinkets, plus the retro meat slicer sitting proudly on the counter, all give off a secret bar energy that we can’t wait to blow the lid off when lockdown lifts.

Bar Mignonette: What's on the menu?

Seafood is omnipresent, popping up in unexpected places like the blue crab stuffing in their utterly sinful Crabfest Mac n’ Cheese. But if you’re going to do it, do it right and order the Seafood Lover Menu for two ($58 each), which comes with Red Lobster Rockefeller, a show stopping half stuffed lobster covered in creamed spinach and parsley crumbs for each guest.

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Bar Mignonette’s sides did not come to play, so save plenty of room for their unctuous accompaniments. And while the food generally skews French, there’s plenty of Wong’s melded magic too choose from — uni (sea urchin) tops classic crème fraîche and chives for an Asian twist on the classic baked potato while garlic cocobread (a Jamaican bread made with coconut milk) is a garlic butter and cheesy spinach mashup where Patois and Mignonette collide.

There’s no better way to round out the evening than with wine and dessert (ideally on their patio overlooking Dundas West in warmer months). Patois’s carrot cake, with lemon cream cheese and candied walnuts, is once again on the menu — but our takeout order came with dark chocolate mousse, a brown butter and shaved coffee shortbread treat to cap off a delightfully decadent dinner.

Bar Mignonette: What else?

Seeing is believing, so mark your calendars for an in-person date at Bar Mignonette to glimpse the raw bar, filled with East Coast oysters or whole lobsters depending on the day.

Though some of the menu names are a not-so-subtle riff on fast food faves like Red Lobster and Popeyes, Bar Mignonette classes things up with the addition of seriously addictive dips and wine pairing options.

A bottle shop is currently operating out of Patois, but when normal play resumes you’ll be able to pair your cold-water shrimp cocktail with a crisp glass of orange wine or a house cocktail. In the meantime, order delivery through DoorDash or pickup in store.

Dinner and drinks for two: around $90.

794 Dundas St. W., 647-340-4999; barmignonette.com

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