It’s not supposed to be this easy for a first-timer. But as one seamlessly executed dish after another – hello, plump ricotta gnudi in a don’t-waste-a-drop emulsion of butter and cooking water – is hoovered up at Supply and Demand, you notice all the little things that Steve and Jennifer Wall, rookie restaurateurs on the fresh side of 30, are getting so right.
The black-and-white bistro in Wellington West, with its seahorse wallpaper and mirrored shields, evokes an effortlessly stylish Frenchwoman from that country’s oyster-loving Atlantic coast. Chef Steve Wall’s one-page menu – he cooks, she waits tables – showcases seafood that belies our landlocked position. Meaty, coppery slices of albacore crudo sparkle beneath puffed rice, baby cilantro and a whisper of truffle oil. A sprightly chili-mint sauce elevates a squid ink rigatoni paired with golf- ball-size tuna-and-prosciutto meatballs.
The bookish staff in plaids and designer eyewear has pacing down to an art, bringing a best-in class kale salad split into two halves, each topped with its own snow cap of grated Manchego, without us even having to ask. As with the scallop shell on the tip of the flatware, it’s the little things.
When a grinning Jen Wall arrives with an impeccable pavlova, the baked meringue dessert my mother makes me on my birthday (banana and caramel next year please, mom) and the Beatles song that played at my wedding fills the room, I’m beaming. As Paul sings, got to get you into my life. On the supply side, let’s hope I can still book a table next time.
- BUTTER PLUS: Adding fat to butter? Whether duck fat (Supply and Demand) or barbecue drippings (Electric Mud BBQ), we say the more, the merrier.
- FOOD-FRIENDLY REDS: Versatile, high-acid, low-tannin red grapes, like zweigelt, lacrima, frappato and gamay, have moved to the top of the sommelier’s speed-dial list. Don’t call us, cab sauv, we’ll call you.
- LAMB BELLY: The new pork belly.
- SMALL PLATES, SMALLER TABLES: If you’re going to ask us to order four dishes per person to share, you’d better have a plan for where to put them. Yes, we are still working on all of these.
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