TORONTO — Chef Mani Binelli welcomed media, bloggers, foodies and event planners to celebrate his new Toronto restaurant and new menu in a tasting yesterday at his Dundas West “retreat,” The Guild.
Named after an organization of skilled artisans, the restaurant, which opened in the spring, features French- and Italian-inspired food made with fresh, local ingredients.
With house specialties such as cured meats, pasta and cocktails, the experience is meant to be rustic, contemporary and approachable. “I want to make the best quality food that will please people and make them happy,” said Binelli, adding that that’s more important to him than appealing to broader culinary trends.
The evolving menu includes dishes such as Seared Omega Pork Belly with tequila peach compote and kimchi as well as Curvy Rigatoni tossed in roasted garlic tomato cream sauce and topped with baby spinach salad and house-smoked chicken. The meals are complemented by classic cocktails and original concoctions, such as Mother’s Tough Love, made with Gosling’s rum and house-made ginger beer.
In the industry since he was 13, the toque who has worked at iconic restaurants such as Toronto’s Centro and Canoe, has carried his culinary ethos through to the design of the 90-seat restaurant. It features tables made from 100-year-old Ontario barn wood, refinished and build by the chef, as well as a birch bark bar made from fallen forest trees in Haliburton, Ont., and dining chairs covered in coffee sacks from The Guild’s coffee supplier.
The restaurant, located at 14442 Dundas St. W., is open Tuesday through Sunday, with brunch on the weekends.