They say “you can’t be all things to all people,” and yet, MoRoCo Chocolat is. You want decadence? How about opening with a Tiramisu Martini of frangelico, kahlua, vodka, crème de cacao and a shot of espresso? Every nuance, every accoutrement of the French inspired décor and the clean white boutique displaying decorative chocolate confections seduces us. All the chocolates are handmade in-house using Valrhona cocoa and a potpourri of flavour infusions. Inside awaits a savoury Valentine’s menu to impress us all.
We have all known Kelly Kimel‘s MoRoCo for it’s hypnotic melted chocolate fountains, the fondues, the s’mores, the richest truffled mac’n’cheese in Toronto, and everything delish from crepes to burgers, so I jump at the chance to dine and sample the Valentine’s menu.
A new chef is at the helm making his mark. Chef Damon Martin starts us off with an amouse bouche of smoked eggplant on a crisp beet chip. Just a tease of what is to come. Then he begins to show off his dexterity with crisp fried pork belly on a snappy Asian peanut slaw, and plump pan seared scallops with a smooth almond pea puree, pickled watermelon radish and beet foam. Pretty dishes with muscular flavours. Our anticipation grows.
I like a menu that makes it tough to choose, because then I have to figure out, “how am I going to get my date to order the other dish that I want, so that I can have both?” Chef Martin provides the challenge. The maple-glazed black cod is so lovingly tender with a hint of sweetness. Crowning a medley of warm artichokes, charred fennel and oyster mushrooms, there is a woodsy essence–both delicate and hearty. Silky beet ravioli served with crème fraiche and braised fennel is a smooth palate-pleasing delight. Port-braised short ribs are generous caramelized fall-off-the-bone portions with a tangy root vegetable caponata and an innovative buttermilk horseradish snow. This fun molecular creation brings out the kid in all of us. Snow never tasted so good.
We know that each course at MoRoCo is a stand out and that the dessert, the grande finale, will not disappoint. Dulce de leche mousse with strawberry ice cream, vanilla and pistachio trifle is a light and sweet symphony, but what attracts my spoon with magnetic fervor is the “Chocolate Bar” with milk chocolate snow, raspberry fluff, candied kumquats and confi of black crowberries. Pastry Chef Quinatzin Aguilar Gutierrez hails from Oaxaca, the mecca of Mexican chocolate. He knows what he’s doing, and he has the finesse and flare to build on the previous courses of Chef Martin for a crescendo with panache.
MoRoCo is a temptress to the sweet tooth and the sweet heart. A hip and romantic indulgence for our Valentines. (MoRoCo Chocolat, 99 Yorkville Ave, 416-961-2202)