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Hot List 2008

Colborne Lane, Toronto

Address: 45 Colborne Street

Tel: 416-368-9009

This collaboration between chef Claudio Aprile and restaurateur Hanif Harji has won over the city's most jaded critics with its avant-garde gastronomy and funky, linen-free loft. Exposed concrete walls and massive mirrors with a jagged "line" of burning white neon down the center create a glam rock-and-roll aesthetic that's driven home by a Bowie-heavy sound track and towering orchids. Highly inventive dishes resemble an edible painter's palette, with nearly half a dozen tiny bites arranged on the plate: a small piece of braised beef rib; four marinated blueberries atop a buttery bed of pureed Jerusalem artichoke; a petite sautéed shiitake mushroom; and a beef fillet that has been seared and cooled in soy and sake three times. Although molecular fancywork doesn't overpower flavors, the smoky spectacle of liquid nitrogen poured tableside into a giant silver bowl of espresso and chili cream (creating instant nitro-gelato) never fails to elicit gasps of wonder (entrées, $18ý$36).

Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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