We had the chance to dine at Toronto’s new Little Portugal restaurant, Mr. Flamingo, on Sunday night and we were not disappointed. Cold, dreary and very dark outside, we were in desperate need of some comfort food, and Mr. Flamingo provided us just that. The restaurant opened in September of this year, and is situated in a comfortable corner at Dundas and Dovercourt. Hiding under the sign of it’s previous Portuguese restaurant inhabitant, Mr. Flamingo is easy to miss if you’re not paying attention to the street addresses along Dundas.
A simple gold “Mr. Flamingo” decal adorns the plain glass door, and upon entering the 34-seat small establishment, you’re greeted with textured glass, faux marble tables, wooden bistro chairs and metal bar stools in a dark but romantic environment. Hung copper lights and candles lit up your table with a yellow hue, providing an intimate ambience. Despite visiting on a cold, quiet night, Mr.Flamingo awakened our tastebuds and treated us to some delicious cocktails as well. Read our adventures with Mr.Flamingo below.
Sunday was quiet, but we didn’t mind. A great date night environment, if you ask us. Candle light and soft yellow lights from the copper light fixtures above gave the place a romantic feel. We enjoyed being able to watch the chef cook up a storm from where we sat.
Mr. Flamingo takes their cocktails seriously, as well as their sense of humour. Situated beside the bar is a droll electric sign, stating they sell the world’s worst ribs (and they don’t sell ribs. At all.)
To start: the AM/PM cocktail, which featured tequila, jalapeno honey and ginger beer. Refreshing citrus and sharp ginger flavours gave the fresh cocktail an edge. The salted rim was a great touch as well. To the right: the Lobster Baked Oysters, sensuously drenched in a rich and creamy hollandaise sauce and topped with roe. A bit rich, this starter is definitely made for sharing with your date.
We were in a “we-need-comfort-food” kind of funk on Sunday, so we opted for 2 of the heavier menu items: pictured above is the Duck Fettuccine. Perfectly seasoned and rich with incredibly complex flavours, this dish was so satisfying on a cold night. The fettuccine was cooked to perfection, and the scent of the ragout was intoxicating. The only thing we’d request is more duck meat. The duck flavour was evident, but more morsels of the meat itself would’ve kicked up this dish from a 9 to a 10.
Pictured above is perhaps Mr.Flamingo’s most popular dish- the Veal T-Bone Steak. For only $18, this steak’s price does not reflect the sophistication of the flavours found in this dish as a whole. The amount of shaved truffles adorning the steak was astounding, and fried sunchoke chips added much needed texture to this steak dish. The steak was cooked perfectly, and offered intense flavour with a medeira wine sauce.
To end the feast of delicious meats and sauces, we were treated to an absinthe digestif and an apple caramel donut. The absinthe was presented nicely, with your own “tap” (you can add as much water or as little as you like), and was accompanied with an explanation of the history of absinthe by Mr. Flamingo’s charming bartender. The donut, although tasty, was a bit doughy on the inside. If fried just a touch longer, it would’ve been crispier and a bit more “done”; also serving the donut with a colder cream (perhaps ice cream?) would’ve heightened the caramel flavours even more so.
All in all, a great Sunday night for us. We loved the range of intense flavours offered at Mr. Flamingo (both food and cocktails) and of course, we never pass on a chance to catch up over candlelight on a cold Sunday evening.
Mr. Flamingo, 1265 Dundas Street West (at Dovercourt)