I finally had a chance to enjoy the AGO‘s new restaurant FRANK. Toronto native, famed architect Frank Gehry, completed the AGO transformation in December of last year. I was uber thrilled when invited to my friend Dave’s birthday brunch there last weekend. This is Ghery’s first home town project, and a tremendous addition to the cities growing list of contemporary public spaces.
The space was classically Ghery. The overall space was open and casual. Truthfully a bit more casual than I expected, but it works given its context. Modern elements like Danish teak furnishings mix with slick blocks of colour on the acrylic top tables. I did think the space felt as though it was housed in a public space – which of course it is. If I had to pin point why, I think it comes down to the sheer scale. The restaurant is massive, the corridors are massive, the space between tables is far greater than typical. As a designer we can spot when accessibility rules and to my eye that was the case here. This can all quickly feel as though you are in a cafeteria, however Ghery isn’t new at this gig and he’s managed to pull it off. The back lit wine wall is spectacular running front to back and creates the perfect backdrop for this modernist interior.
The wine list is exclusively Ontarian, and given the montrous proportions of the wine feature wall you can’t help but give it a try. We had a post-noon brunch and as such, I feel no shame in my having washed down buckwheat and apple pancakes with a crisp pinogrigio…. both were fantastic.
The menu had a great mix of earthy classics with innovative twists. I almost want to describe it as modern comfort food..almost. I’m not a food critic, I just like to eat. At our table the chicken pot pie looked delicious, and even the simple yogurt with nuts and honey had us all dipping our spoons for a taste.
Go have a look, eat some farm friendly offerings, drink local wines and then let me know what you think!