Toronto may not have bacon trucks or bacon happy hours, but it does have something that is moving it in the right direction, bacon-wise: a new bacon-y sandwich shop named Porchetta and Co. Recently, I went down to Porchetta and Co. and tried out what they are laying down. My review of that, and a bit more info about Porchetta and Co. follows after the jump.
Porchetta for the People
First, a little background. Nick Auf Der Maur is the owner and operator of Porchetta and Co. Previously a cook at places like Canoe and the Drake, Auf Der Maur recently wanted to do something on his own. He says he started Porchetta because he was looking for a fun takeout option that hadn’t already been done to death in Toronto: ie, poutine and gourmet burgers. He eventually decided on porchetta. For a glimpse at the restaurant’s interiors, check out this slideshow.
Porchetta: The Classy Way of Saying Bacon Explosion
Porchetta, if you don’t know, is a traditional Italian way of roasting pig. To make it, you start out with a piece of pork shoulder. Then this shoulder is seasoned with several herbs and spices, including fennel, garlic, lemon zest, rosemary and sage. This mixture is then wrapped in prosciutto (a sort of Italian bacon) and cured pork belly (which is, yes, basically another form of bacon). At this point I’m thinking that “porchetta” is Italian for “bacon explosion.” The whole thing is put into an oven and roasted on high to give it a crunchy crust. After that, the heat is turned down and it is cooked for several hours. The result is a mixture of cuts of pork and bacon marinating in each other’s juices. Mmmmm.
Nick Auf Der Maur serves this concoction on top of some sourdough buns. When I bought my samples, I tried one of my sandwiches topped with mozzarella. On both, I asked for grainy mustard. (You can also get Dijon mustard, tomato sauce, hot sauce and a truffle sauce.) I also got some braised rapini and a porchetta chowder soup (with double-smoked bacon). But aside from these items, there ain’t much else on the menu. Sandwiches are $5.95 each and a small soup will run you $3.95. Pretty cheap!
The sandwich was, predictably, delicious. It tastes like a cross between bacon and ham: not as sweet as ham, but also not as salty as bacon. The porchetta also has a variety of textures from so-soft-it-melts to crazy crispy. The crispy bits were the most like bacon, and were definitely my favourite. The mozza wasn’t really adding anything to my sandwich – it didn’t help that by the time I got home the mozza had solidified – but the grainy mustard was the perfect complement.
As for my sides: the braised rapini was not really my thing. But the soup – OMG. A chowder with pork and bacon in it sounds like it would be heavy, but this soup was light and fluffy. It was basically like drinking magic. I had no problem finishing it off. Overall, my meal was super-delish. And so cheap!
Have you guys been to Porchetta and Co? What do you think of it?