Leslieville’s dining scene is rife with wine bars and other oenologically inclined restaurants these days like Ascari Enoteca and Glas. The latest example: Skin and Bones, a new restaurant and, yes, wine bar from Daniel Clarke, once a co-owner of Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale and Harry Wareham, also an alum of Libretto and Enoteca, who’d been planning on opening a wine-focused restaurant together for some time. For the back of house, the pair snagged chef Matthew Sullivan (Maléna, L’Unità), whose Boxed pop-up dinner series also paid close attention to pairings.
“Each dish is created with a specific wine or type of wine in mind,” Sullivan tells us. Those dishes include starters like crispy chicken tails ($8) or a jar of pickled quail eggs and vegetables ($7), and mains like celeriac gnocchi with uni bottarga ($15) or roasted Perth pork belly with octopus salad ($18). For dessert, a classic sticky toffee pudding ($6) is beefed up with bone marrow caramel. With sommelier Michelle Ratzlaff and consulting sommelier Peter Boyd (Scaramouche) on the wine side, the list offers about 40 by-the-glass options, mostly priced at $10 to $20, showcasing lesser-known wine regions and varietals. There’s also a small selection of cocktails and beer.
Given the restaurant’s name, the space is suitably minimalist, with bar seating that extends to the back, where an uncommonly spacious dining room features oak tables, a partially open kitchen and the original exposed brick of the former auto-parts warehouse. And what of Boxed, which has been dormant since the summer? We’re told Toronto hasn’t seen the last of the pop-up series just yet.