Parts and Labour
When my friend first mentioned to me let’s go and try Parts and Labour, I thought he wanted to go get some parts for his next DIY project. Little did I know Parts and Labour was the name of a restaurant.
As the name suggests, the restaurant certainly evokes an industrial feel in terms of its interior design. The bar area is decorated with lights made out of recycled tin cans. Florescent lights are bundled together to form tubules which are hung over long communal dining tables. They remind me of light installment art pieces that I have seen at the MOMA. Yet strangely, the dining atmosphere did not feel too communal. We still managed to maintain our own space without feeling like the strangers sitting next to us on either side are joining us for dinner. The ladies room is filled with a variety of recycled rear view mirrors. Now that's a pretty cool idea because they resemble those wall-mounted magnifying ones with extending arms that Ikea sells. If you happened to get paranoid about food pieces being stuck between your teeth during a meal, you can double check, triple check, quadruple check your smile before you exit the ladies room. (Honestly you should be paranoid if you’re having a dish that includes spinach or some other dark pieces of vegetable because quite frankly, no matter how nice the other person’s intentions are when they point it out to you that you have something stuck between your teeth, it still feels very awkward for both parties. I’m not too sure if they supply the same utilitarian decor in the male washroom though).
I digress. Let’s get back to the food. Well, it’s been a while since I have gone to the place so please excuse me if I am not providing the most accurate ingredient info. All I can remember is that it was so good that we ordered an extra round of bread to savor it all and ended up going home fully stuffed! I remember each piece of paté/terrine had such distinctive taste and texture. The right most piece includes two outer layers of pig ears that gives a crunchy texture juxtaposed with a softer fat/liver center. The smooth, creamy, and rich chicken liver paté 2nd to the right was just to die for (my favorite across the board, no pun intended). The other terrine wrapped with condensed fat jelly as well as the other paté which I believe was duck liver? were also superb. I remember nick-naming the terrine board Lord of the Flies (no, it’s not a typo and yes, after the novel by William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on a deserted island) because when the server patiently introduces all the ingredients featured on the terrine board, I heard enough parts of a pig’s head like ears and cheeks that made me think of a certain scene in the novel. But trust me when I say this, if you love terrines, you will love this terrine board.
In terms of the game meat main course, again, my memory is getting fuzzy. I believe it was rabbit meat but perhaps I can verify from my friend and update this at a later date. Sorry, I did not try it because although I am very experimental with food, I have strict rules about not eating anything that can potentially be my pet.
***OK. Update to this mysterious game meat: When asked to fill in the holes, my friend who shall remain anonymous due to the fact that he seems to have trouble finding the correct term to describe a certain animal with antlers (LOL, what a sell-out I am) gave the following email response: “Awesome! I love your Parts & Labour post. Man, that brings back memories. I honestly can’t remember the type of meat I was eating. I think it was dear [deer] or something.” (Or maybe he did mean it was very dear to his heart. I apologize in advance if I had wrongly accused him of not finding the right word.) Please don’t take his hazy memory as a reflection of his rating on the game meat. I specifically remember his eyes lighting up when he first tried it. Now I know I probably didn’t try it because I didn’t want to eat Bambi. Thank you for the clarification, or lack thereof, Dear Anonymous.***
My main was the black cod. It was nicely done—juicy and fluffy. Spinach was good also (and any possible pieces stuck between my teeth were removed). However, I still find the Japanese way of marinating black cod in miso, grilling it, and dipping it in Japanese mayo (not Western style mayo) the best. I guess it is rather obvious from my descriptions that the terrine board was definitely the winner of the night.
Overall, I loved the unique industrial, castor-feel to the restaurant and all the labour that goes into the food preparation was superb! Service was outstanding. I would highly recommend this restaurant!
Terrine board - patés, rillettes, terrines, preserves, bread (small 25 large 34)
Roasted game meat, pickled beets, pickled blueberry jus
Pan seared black cod with sauteed spinach
Parts and Labour website: