It was mid afternoon and happy hour was around the corner. We were looking for a spot to drink and snack at, when my guest threw out “Glowbal” as our destination, I graciously agreed. I have been by for their happy hour before and remembered being impressed then. However, today the menu and offers have completely changed, along with being shrunken down to the size of a postcard.
To check out my original visit and what happy hour was like with them then, click the link below.
We grabbed a seat at their bar, which in terms of food photography, is a bad idea. The yellow amber glow of the counter have washed out all my photos below, so use a little imagination filter, if you will, add some blue to each. We pretty much ordered their entire happy hour menu, many of which offer bites for $2 plus. It gives you the ability to try only as much as you can eat, but this too doesn’t help much with food photography.
We each had our choice of beer, wine, sangria, and highballs for $5. Martinis went for $8 a glass.
The highlighted feature was a “Buck a shuck”, $1 for an oyster. A few of us grabbed as many as we felt we could slurp down. It was presented on a lovely dish that matched the curvature of an oyster’s shell, filled with ice.
The “Confit duck poutine” was just under $10. Duck confit, gravy, and cheese curds over golden brown fries; served in a cast iron pan. The fries were crispy on the edges and chewy at the centre, good; but I wasn’t a big fan of the gravy that sat in. It was salty and one toned, with not enough cheese curds present to add some depth. Plus, you can never have enough cheese. The duck meat was good, but better in a wrap or between two pieces of bread.
The “Cauliflower nuggets” weren’t much better at $5.95 for the bowl. I liked their crispy breaded texture and how firm the floret was inside, I just didn’t get the balance I needed with the dish from a cooling sauce or a refreshing slaw. Something to break up all that deep fry with. Whereas the joga hot sauce it came with had an intense heat and an unusual tang. The cream from the chicken nuggets below were a pretty good compromise.
The “Buttermilk Parmesan” fried chicken is offered by the piece: $2 per nugget so you craft your own serving size. It had a similar crunch to the cauliflower above, but was far too salty to enjoy alone, or with the dollop of peppercorn lime aioli that each chunk sat on. Here the teriyaki sauce from the dish below made a good dip compliment. I scrounged to gather all the strand of vegetables that were more ornamental on the plate, once again looking for that fresh component. I always make the mistake of ordering only fried appetizers and spend the next bites searching for balance. The chicken meat was at least super tender and tasty. I just wanted it over rice.
The “Mushroom tempura” was my favourite for taste and non-overwhelming flavour. A nice light mushroom chew with equally light breading. At $1.50 each, it is the cheapest thing on their happy hour menu. It is served on a skewer in a bamboo steamer, with kakayaki sauce and togarashi. Props to presentation on this one.
Ordering the rest as one bites made them very underwhelming. The “Braised beef shortrib” came in a spoon for easy eating. At $2.25 each, I expected a healthier chunk of meat and a more full spoon. The meat was good enough, but it was drowning in too much acidic cream.
The ” Beef tartaki” is beef, black garlic, spring onion, and smoked egg yolk; sitting on a flimsy chip, for what should be easy hand to mouth eating. However the chip couldn’t carry the weight of the topping, as well as compete with its flavour. It added crunch, but you expected more, a stiffer tortilla to round out all the strong flavours. This one $2 a chip, although still steep for one bite, felt a bit more worth it given all the ingredients and their rarity.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Given that their happy hour menu as drastically changed, my original assessment of them has as well. It is no longer a must for happy hour. I still love the ambience of the place; the friendly, yet casual nature of the staff; and how posh you feel being within its walls. But for happy hour value, I don’t see it. So will recommend them for a great cocktail and catch up destination with a girlfriend or date instead. I will need to come back for a regular service to get the full extent of their food menu and its execution. Don’t deny your cravings.