My family have been fans of Chef Terry Vassallo ever since his days at Trattoria Della Nonna in Lunenburg, where we came to expect generous portions of seafood with Italian flair. We followed him to Cafe Chianti where his Linguine di Pescatore was a big hit.
Terry has recently opened his own restaurant with his partner, Simone Mombourquette (who is also his longtime front-of-house partner). Mappatura Bistro is styled as a casual neighbourhood bistro, specializing in Italian cuisine and brunch. The restaurant is clean, casual and bright with just a touch of kitsch. LuShark and I described the bathrooms, for example, as “beach house meets comic book shop”.
The event was my Mom’s (belated) birthday. We found it hard to find a day where everyone could attend, so we ended up going for brunch instead of dinner. Usually I abide by strict breakfast rules, but since this is Terry’s restaurant I wanted a taste of Italian so I veered towards pasta and salad while LuShark moved in on the benny.
But first up was Terry’s calamari ($12), tossed in spicy tomato sauce with black olives. Known as being some of the best in the city, it was fantastic as usual.
I also tried the Green Goddess Salad ($10): “chopped market greens, fennel, green grapes, pickled turnip, pesto dressing”. This was a tasty, fresh, and balanced salad but I think it’s better suited to being a side than an appetizer or light lunch. It just doesn’t have enough oomph.
I ordered the Penne Alla Vodka ($22) which had scallops, mussels and crispy capers. Penne is not my favourite pasta but I wanted to try the vodka rose sauce and I’m glad I did. It was lick-your-bowl delicious! The scallops were great but I didn’t notice the capers, and the mussels were a bit small. The sauce is enough to make me order this again, though.
LuShark ordered her usual Eggs Benedict ($15). This is a bit pricey for eggs benedict but it is warranted by the the quality. The “preserved lemon” hollandaise was on point, daintily applied so as to compliment the creamy yolks and crispy croissant. Combined with the wonderful smokiness of the “country ham” it was like a party in my mouth – but not a wild frat party with beer pong and questionable morals. This was like chilled beers on a yacht at sunset.
Not to mention the “Italian Home Fries” – Daaamn! They were tossed in Parmesan and herbs – or something?! I am in awe of whatever Terry did to these potatoes.
Henceforth Mappatura Bistro holds the title of Best Eggs Benedict to Enter My Mouth, ousting a brunch spot in Victoria, BC (circa 2012).
To finish it all off I had the Lemon Tart ($10). A thin pastry full of lemon curd and topped with whipped cream and a crispy/chewy pavlova. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but once I attacked the crispy top with a few jabs of my fork, a delicious mess befell my plate and it was splendid.
By now it should be obvious that I was very impressed with Mappatura Bistro. I know that next time I say “brunch?” LuShark will say, “Let’s go back to Mappatura!” … so, no brunch reviews for a while. Sorry!