Avling - fancy beers and very good food [Toronto]

We last visited Avling during the pandemic, sitting on their street patio at the time. The menu at the time was good, although we think it was no longer under the direction of Suzanne Barr. At some point afterwards, Eva Chin (ex-Kojin) took over. She has also left and we don’t know who is helming the kitchen now. They are still locally-driven and grow some of their own ingredients (just sprouts in the winter, but a full rooftop garden in the warmer months).

I have enjoyed their beers that are combined with grape skins or casked in wine barrels. This time I tried:

  • Limestone 6.2% ABV - wild IPA with Sauvignon Blanc skins - light, with tons of passionfruit and a bit of citrus notes
  • Violet Moon 7.5% ABV - blended with plums and Gamay skins and aged in oak barrels - lots of stone fruit and refreshingly sour.

My wife is not a fan of beer, so she first had a glass of Gruner Veltliner Meinklang 2021, Burgenland - easy drinking, fruity (apple, peach). She then ordered a cocktail Lady Vengeance: Tanqueray gin, Lillet, St. Germain Elderflower, Chambord, Prosecco - light, fun, with floral and cherry notes.

Disappointingly, they were out of the Fogo Island cod and sunchoke chips. So we started with the kale fresco salad - fresh water buffalo cheese, barley-malted candied bacon (nice and smokey), microradish, broccolini, toasted almonds, organic kale, grilled leek, roasted garlic vinaigrette - a nice mix, although some bites were salty as if the salad hadn’t been fully tossed.

Noting that they made pizza dough from their spent grains, we decided to try their bacon and pineapple rendition - tomato sauce, mozzarella, heritage bacon, pig tail marmalade, torched pineapple - this was great, with a complexity of sweet and smokey flavours; nice chewy crust too.

Past visits had yielded good pastas, so we tried the mushroom pappardelle - handmade egg pasta, black trumpets, sea truffle, aged sheep cheese, fermented shiitake and oyster mushroom, garlic cream sauce - my wife really liked this; I thought it was one step over the line in terms of butterfat - maybe they could have pulled back on the butter or cream a notch for better balance.

Beverley Creek lamb shank, braised and served off the bone, with heirloom carrot, parsnip, millet and raisin pilaf, ras el hanout jus - moist and perfectly done meat, delicious fruity pilaf, and wonderful complexity in the jus.

Orpheus sticky toffee pudding - date sponge cake, marigold toffee, black currant, vanilla gelato - nice rendition, although the marigold aspect was undetectable.

Overall we were quite pleased and will come back as it is within walking distance for us.


Looks delicious. I had wanted to visit in 2019 when Chef Suzanne from Saturday Dinette landed there briefly.

1 Like

Yes, we were sad we missed her. We really liked Saturday Dinette. She did a fried chicken with Ethiopian berbere spice that was great.

1 Like

You had me at pig tail marmalade :heart::heart::heart:

1 Like