Humble Beginnings is a new eat-in, take-out and catering spot in the Junction. This new start-up focuses on fresh, seasonal and local fare. Their homestyle cooking offers unique flavours and new takes on old classics with a large enough menu to meet most tastes. We dropped in to check out what they had up for a mid-week dinner in their new space on Dundas West.
The restaurant has a small front end space, designed primarily for expedient take-away service, and comfortable seating in the back for 15. Everything is in full view when you walk in the door. Their fully exposed kitchen sits directly behind their stainless steel counter and display cases, so you can sit and watch the chefs quickly whipping up dishes. Waiting at the cash to place our orders we were able to get the ear of the chef, some last minute menu advice, and watch how it was all being prepared.
First out was the Saffron Chicken ($13.45), a half chicken (your choice of dark or white meat) served with with a choice of their daily sides. The chicken was extremely moist and teaming with flavour. The power of the saffron was subdued with a hazelnut and honey glaze. We chose the side potatoes to go with this dish - a simple savoury pairing for this flavourful main.
The lamb burger ($9.95, lead photo) came chef recommended, and we were happy to oblige. We snatched up the last one of the day, and felt thankful for it. This thick and hearty patty is served medium-rare and piping hot. The fresh cilantro flavour matched by a well-balanced seasoning. The Ace bakery bun was topped with a pile of arugula and thick tzatziki sauce. We added the fresh farmers market salad for an extra $2.50.
The Korean-style short ribs ($12.45), however, left much to be desired. The meat was a little overcooked and the cherry cola barbecue sauce was too spare to be able to compensate. This dish seemed like a bit of a departure from their other dishes, and even when served with a mixed vegetable wasn't quite enough for a filling dinner. A side quinoa and asparagus salad ($9.95) was a good add-on dish to finish up the meal, though ordering it made things a little more expensive than desired.
We were impressed with the Ontario Rainbow Trout ($13.45). This lightly seasoned fish was served skin on and seared with a slightly flaky texture - still moist and juicy. This simple and fresh tasting thick cut filet was paired well with their mixed vegetable side, an oil-drizzled, roasted variety of seasonal veggies.
Humble Beginnings is a nice addition to the Junction. They serve up simple, home-cooked dishes with a refreshing focus on fresh, healthy and local ingredients. If you're looking for a guilt-free meal at a reasonable price, this place is certainly worth a shot!
Photos by Marni Wolf