No. 24: La Banane
The blazing yellow front door at La Banane beckons diners like a ray of sunlight on the grey Ossington strip, and the dining room inside lives up to that sunny entrance with bright green walls, a sprawling marble raw bar, plush gold seating and colourful artwork by Canadian artists Douglas Coupland and Talia Shipman on the walls.
Head bartender Christopher Weaver mixes an enticing selection of signature cocktails—including La Banane Royale, a creamy elixir of dark rum, banana and egg whites—while sommelier Christopher Wickens’ wine list focuses on Champagne and other French wine regions, a natural fit for chef Brandon Olsen’s playful menu of French-inspired bistro fare. Olsen used to be executive chef of The Black Hoof and Bar Isabel, and his menu includes several revamped renditions of dishes from those restaurants. His signature dish of sweetbreads and raw tuna with brown butter caper sauce, created at Bar Isabel, is presented here as raw albacore tuna bathed in brown butter, capers and dill. Other menu items, like steak au poivre and omelette aux fines herbes, are traditional bistro standards. Less expected is eurobass en croûte, served with an eye-catching latticework of salt pastry, a cooking technique that delivers remarkably succulent fish. Olsen’s justifiably famous dessert is the hand-painted Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg, from his chocolate shop CXBO, smashed tableside to reveal an assortment of hand-rolled Peruvian dark chocolate truffles embedded with apricots, ancho chilies and coffee beans.
Photo by : Rick O’Brien