The name peaked my interested, and the bodies waiting outside had me wanting in. This International fusion restaurant would be what I would describe as a hole in the wall on. A tiny space, cozy but too casual to be romantic. Each table was set up along the right wall, a line of booths in pale yellow with back supporting cushions to boot. The chairs were hard, and even with my best efforts I was unable to get comfortable in one. It didn’t help that the narrow space meant my seat in the isle continued to get kicked as servers and patrons walked by.
The room was dimly lit, with little brightness coming from tea lights and low hanging balls above. The wallpaper was the most interesting, a unique pattern produced by stamps. Images of deer, a person made from fire, a naked man kneeling with a snake wrapped around him, a half man and half car, a microwave, and other things too intricate to describe. From a distance they looked like printed flowers. Though close up, they made quite the conversation piece. As unique was the mobile that was pinned up by the window in front. From it hung squiggles, u’s and circles in primary colours. Another interesting decor choice that got you thinking, much like the random large yellow porcelain rooster sitting on the bar.
The menu was several pages on the table and the rest hand written on a chalk board by the door. In order to make an informed decision I had to get up to take pictures of said chalk board menu. This I brought back to my table, to give my party am idea of the items not listed. I appreciated their assembly of plates for the carnivore, the herbivore, and the Pescatarian.
We four each choose the “Grub table d’hote”. A three course prix fixe. $35 for the meat and fish options and $30 for the vegetarian or vegan. Today’s mains were what we needed to capture on the chalkboard. The following is listed as starter, main, and dessert per guest.
The starters were a choice between their daily soup, salad, or a personal portion of one of their three antipasto. The vegan starter was a tasty but simple mix. “The Herbivore”, ratatouille, pickled cauliflower, marinated mushrooms, hummus, vegetarian pate, bocconcini, and olives. Everything was very pickled, a salty grouping that really wasn’t anything special. My guest left it could have used some more simple crackers as a base.
The vegan main course was wild rice and cauliflower filled butternut squash cups; and Moroccan spiced roasted vegetables with a chick pea ragout with candied peppers. The concept and presentation are definitely noteworthy. Though the flavour combination could have used more zing. The squash was flavourless, not helped by the blandness found in the filling. The peppers had the most flavour with an over powering sweeter taste. The broccolini was the best part as it added some much needed crunch to an other wise soft and soggy plate.
The daily vegan dessert feature was the sticky toffee pudding. It definitely lived up to the stickiness in its name. Things started sticking to the roof of my mouth. The vegan ice cream was amazing, I was unable to tell that this product was void of milk. I didn’t think vegan ice cream was possible. It was just the right amount of sugar, not too much. A good combination with the likes of the much sweeter toffee. We just a didn’t get enough of it in only one scoop.
The soup of the day was a coconut tomato cream soup. What a unique way to recreate a classic dish, with this exotic twist. Thick and silky this was an enjoyable mix to spoon in. The bread was deliciously seasoned and it easily sopped up soup like a sponge.
My guest ordered the “Article Char”, but was given the “Ling Cod” by accident. Upon realization our server immediately offered to take it off the bill so that she could enjoy the cod at no cost. However my my guest had her heart set on the char, so was given the plate she so desired at a discounted cost. “Ling Cod”, seared cod filet, house made gnocchi with Rose sauce, and avocado salsa. We didn’t try it, so I am unable to describe it.
“Arctic Char”, seared char filet, with a lemon and crab risotto, in a leak saffron cream. This was creamy mix, best eaten hot. The fish was juicy with crispy skin. The risotto was a marriage of cheesy and salty. A little too much of both, made it difficult to eat as is. Instead it made a good pairing with the more mild fish.
“Rosemary lemon tart” with house made honey ricotta. It was both tart and sour, the perfect dessert for those that don’t like the sugar in their after meal treat. My guest finished it, but found it to be nothing special.
“The Carnivore” starter is three types of cured meats, liver pate with rhubarb chutney, red pepper jelly, mustard, olives and pickles. Like the other antipasto, this was an union of complimentary elements. Each eaten separately tasted as one would expect. Though a dish better shared with others than eating it all alone. The liver pate resembled a cheese paste in both texture and taste. Together it was all very salty and the flavoured bread didn’t help to balance this. Instead this platter needed a few slices of plain bread or crisp crackers.
“Duck”, Wentzel duck breast with butternut squash pudding, a red pepper and onion yoghurt, and a walnut pesto. The duck was very juicy with ample flavours, despite the occasional drier section. Overall this was a well cooked dish. It was a little on the saltier side, so would have been excellent when paired with a glass of red. The strong salted taste would be complimentary for the tartness of wine. Similarly, wine would have paired well with all the antipasto dishes as well.
“Pear strudel”, a la mode with sea salt caramel. This dessert sounded so good on paper that both my guest and I ordered the same one. It closely resembled apple pie. The pear baked inside was soft and perfectly caramelized, though a little too sweet. The crust was a little tough and over baked on its ends. Though overall very flaky and buttery in taste. I was disappointed that in her hurry, our server placed our dessert utensils on our dessert plate, thus smudging the caramel made designs, before I was able to take a picture of it. This was a very decadent dessert, that was a little too much to end with after two other courses.
“The Pescatarian” starter was salmon gravlax, avocado and tomato salad, marinated seafood, smoked trout brandade, chilled prawn with tomatillo, and a pickled cabbage slaw. I had to remind myself this was just a tasting, as it didn’t look like much. With one prawn and one sheet of salmon. I had more pieces of bread than elements to top them with. Another simple gathering of ingredients. Good but nothing memorable.
“Pork”, seared pork tenderloin, and aged cheddar and bacon cream tagliatelle, with a red onion marmalade. The pasta was creamy with a whole lot of oily. A luxurious bite that paired well with the drier ends of my pork. The pickled onions gave bites a sweeter profile, and made for unique flavour when eaten all together.
To our surprise, despite this being a International fusion restaurant, we were rewarded fortune cookies to end our meal, along with the bill.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Everything was unmemorable, despite the great presentation in their plates. The food was good, the setting average, the staff courteous, and the environment a pleasing calm and casual. The food was decent, but nothing I would crave for again, nor would want a second shot at. This wouldn’t be my first choice for dining out, though I wouldn’t mind if I was invited here for dinner in the future. Though I did appreciate the price to value ratio. The plates came quick and all at once. We finished them all clean and left the restaurant stuffed. Don’t deny your cravings.