As soon as co-owner & Chef Wayne Morris landed in Toronto from Kelowna, he called to let the Food Day Canada team know he was here. Normally that doesn’t happen but he’d worked for a number of years with Food Day Canada veteran Mark Filatow where we’d connected and marvelled at Canada’s great northern bounty.
With his wife and partner, Evelyn Wu Morris, they named their new restaurant, Boralia and explain that it’s derived from the Latin word for “northern,” Boralia which was one of the names proposed for the country at the time of Confederation. Hence, their menus draw inspiration from the historic foods of the natives, early settlers, and subsequent immigrant groups who arrived in the 18th and 19th centuries.
His style is purist and it’s very refreshing to read the obvious research that’s gone into each ingredients. He writes: “Whelk, a type of mollusk similar to conch, are found all over Newfoundland and Labrador, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Fundy. Native tribes caught whelk for food, and the shells were considered a valuable trade good and used to make tools and beads. Burdock, a plant native to the Old World and Asia, has historically been used for medicinal purposes. When the European colonists imported the plant, the Natives quickly incorporated burdock into their diet. Our dish features whelk that is braised then sliced and lightly grilled, coated in a kombu seaweed beurre blanc, and served in its own shell with a seaweed and burdock salad.”
They traveled east to Wayne’s hometown of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and while they were there managed to harvest everything from fat, ripe rose hips to tiny beach peas. He grew up in the land of molasses and Loyalists and trade with the Caribbbean.
Even chocolate has a place on the Borealia menu. “These Spiced Chocolate Ganache Beignets (at left) are our take on the historic Louisbourg Hot Chocolate. In the 1700s, Louisbourg was the site of the French fortress built in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It was a military base that grew to be a colonial capital and well-connected trade port that saw merchants from France mingle with the Mi’kmaw, and traders from New England and Acadia deal with visitors from Quebec and the Caribbean. Chocolate was a new colonial food from the West Indies; hot chocolate was a fashionable drink with medicinal purposes. It came in a hard chocolate ball melted over the fire, added to milk or water, sugar, spices and egg yolk. Our ganache is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of clove, coated in beer batter and fried before being dusted liberally with lemon icing sugar.”
Boralia is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
Boralia est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs. Contactez Boralia directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
59 Ossington Avenue,
Toronto, Ontario M6J 2Y9