I had some hesitancy about posting this, so before reading any further, I do want to warn that some of you may find this post “uncomfortable” or if you are against consumption of meat, then please stop reading any further. This post features a dining experience that some people may find uneasy, as the highlight of this dinner is a whole suckling pig.
Co-opened by former Executive Chef of Mercatto group of restaurants, Rob Rossi whom was a finalist in Top Chef Canada Season 1, Bestellen (“to order” in German) is one of those spots in the city that takes meat serious, the mural of painted cuts of meats and the large dry-age room stocked with meat will tell you how serious they are.
I was invited to partake in the family-style whole roasted suckling pig dinner with all the fixings for $59/person plus tax and 18% gratuity, and it may be a dinner to experience just once in a lifetime (just maybe… as it’s not for the faint of heart and not really up to expectation… more on that later). Bestellen does require a minimum of eight people and at least 72 hours notice for the suckling pig dinner.
To start, we had polenta fries with parmesan and garlic aioli.
Then came baby kale salad with red onions, chickpeas, pinenuts and other components that sadly, I don’t quite remember. the lightest side of them all.
After the salad, came the pièce de résistance, the suckling pig that has been roasting for four hours. It was brought out to our table whole for photo opportunity then it was taken away for carving. Not going to lie, even though I have seen whole BBQ pork hung on the windows of Chinese BBQ places and it is a must-have in Chinese weddings (I remember picking up a whole BBQ pig for a cousin’s wedding many many years ago), I was not sure how I felt consuming this roasted pig when it was brought to the table; a suckling pig is usually a few weeks old before it’s slaughtered. I believe Bestellen uses six weeks old pigs for their roasted suckling pig.
The meat itself was succulent and the gravy that came with it, we could drink that alone if we could. I was a little disappointed with the skin– it’s not as crispy as a suckling pig should be. Also, it was still a lot of work getting pieces of meat with tongs and a knife provided.
More fixings came after…
Roasted cauliflower and broccolini with tarragon butter.
Roasted blue Ontario potatoes.
When we were done with the suckling pig, there was still a good amount of it left over, which they divided among the eight of us to take home. We were all given takeout boxes randomly, not knowing what parts we got. We are still wondering who got the head, as no one admitted to it. I think it was in neither boxes.
For dessert, it was Apple cinnamon pecan bread pudding. We grimaced when we realized we still had dessert coming, and only ate one of two baking dish of the pudding.
While the suckling pig fell a bit short, it is still a communal experience. Most sides were solid and all of us were well fed. Do note, the sides do change seasonally, so what we had may not be what you will have. If you decide to do this, gather your best dining buddies and hungry stomachs, you will need it.
972 College St.