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No. 43


AT ATELIER, WHICH OPENED IN 2008 in an out-of-the-way stretch of Little Italy, chef-owner Marc Lepine demonstrates nightly why he is considered one of Canada’s most innovative chefs. Dishes from his 40-course tasting menu arrive in multiitem flights, their themes varying from the conceptual to the intensely technical and modernist. Concepts are often playful — and, invariably, a lot of fun. Consider the “space salad.” Its freeze-dried tomato and mozzarella are, at first, utterly tasteless; then, after 10 seconds on the palate the flavours are dramatically activated. Lepine’s so-called air waffle — a miniature Manchego-tinged two-biter garnished with Iberico ham and quince — is so light it dissolves almost instantly when you pop it in your mouth. Dishes like fried P.E.I. oysters with chili oil and sea asparagus are as straightforward as things get here. The black-and-white dining room is the perfect, stark stage for showcasing Lepine’s creations. Tables are allotted for a daunting four hours, but the relentless onslaught of quality culinary entertainment makes that time pass swiftly.

The balance and intensity of flavours is remarkable. Jason Noel
Eye Candy
Lepine’s dehydrated carrot hoop, with curry, coconut cream and lemongrass crumble.

Photography by Miv Photography (Chef Lepine), Courtesy Atelier (Dishes)

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