Earlier this year we reported on the closure of My Place, the massive Bloor West Village pub that lasted only a year. Many restaurant owners would find it daunting to take over an 18,000-square-foot space, regardless of location, but Ed Ho (Globe Bistro, Earth Rosedale) saw it as an opportunity to service an area of town that has long been considered a culinary dead zone. His solution: a neighbourhood bistro serving local and seasonal fare paired with a lounge and private event space.
Although Earth Bloor West is similar in concept to Earth’s Rosedale location, the most obvious difference is its sheer size: its kitchens and bars will be ready to cater to 735 guests. The Ron Nuhn–designed dining room is a sleek mixture of dark finishes (slate tiles) and organic elements (reclaimed barn boards), illuminated by stunning pendant lamps made of fabric strips suspended between two metal rings. The chef’s table, made from reclaimed bowling alley flooring, offers groups of six to 18 diners a view of executive chef Kevin McKenna’s open kitchen as they eat.
Besides dinner, McKenna’s “think global, eat local” menu caters to business lunchers, weekend brunchers and lounge enthusiasts alike. Simple options include Ontario pig bits (crispy pork belly, house-made chorizo and rillette, $6) or a 40-day dry-aged rib-eye from Wellington County (starting at $24/8 oz.), red fife capellini with Monforte toscano ($19) and whole roasted daily Ontario fish ($24).
Earth’s back bar features an eye-catching red lacquered bar top and large, L-shaped sofas and ottomans. At the back, a series of small dining tables fit 24 under a shower of un-shaded incandescent lights. Expect to find an extensive and locally driven wine list, including the restaurant’s own wines: Earth Chardonnay and Globe merlot/cabernet blend, both bottled by Cave Spring in Jordan, Ont.
In addition to the 125 that can fit in Earth’s main dining room, the rooftop patio can accommodate 75 and is equipped with its own kitchen. Staying true to the “eat local” mantra, there are plans for a rooftop garden with fresh herbs and produce like tomatoes (eventually, the snaking vines and fruit along the rooftop arbour will become a part of the decor).
As an event space, each of Earth’s private dining rooms can seat up to 60 diners each. Like at Globe, the open-walled room on the upper mezzanine gives full views of the rooms downstairs, while the one at the restaurant’s rear will be equipped with audio-visual equipment. The restaurant’s enormous 14-foot-tall entranceway also leads to a private catering space in the basement that will eventually hold an additional 300, although it currently houses the group’s bakery.
Earth Bloor West, 2448 Bloor St. W., 416-763-2222, earthbloorwest.com.