But, I am not one to listen to food reviews...even though I write them. I like to experience the new and the old restos on my own. I like to taste things for myself.
It was one of my best pals. Stephen's birthday and he too is a foodie like me. He also heard all the reviews and wanted to check it out just as much as I did.
We arrived into the historic brick building promptly for our reservation at 7 p.m. The first floor, the bar, was pretty full. Large u-shaped leather couches lined the wall. Two hosts were there to greet us and kindly took our jackets and walked us to our table on the second floor.
We were seated by the window but could view the rest of the dimly lit restaurant from our seats. It was quite romantic...a few more drinks and I may have been tempted to hold Stephen's hand.
After a few minutes our waiter arrived with the menu and explained everything in depth. How many tapa-style dishes we should choose and how they would be served, his favorites as well as the most popular ones. He knew the wine list well and was prompt in his service and attention.
We waited for about fifteen minutes and then our food started to arrive. The Duck Prosciutto ($11) came first. Thin slices of duck with pomegranate molasses and an orange chili drizzle. It melted in my mouth. The tang of the orange brought out the juicy fatty flavours of the duck. YUM!
The Tuna Tartare ($12) was next. This fish was so unbelievably fresh. Mixed with three citrus and white miso, the chucks of tuna jumped on my tongue with every bite.
The Pork Chop & Cider ($14) and Chicken Schnitzel ($11), our waiter's favourite were next in line. Unfortunately, both were disappointing. The pork chop was extremely salty. The combination with the red harissa was too strong and extremely pungent. The chicken schnitzel was good, but it really was the chipolte and yogurt that made the dish. Without it, it would have been pretty bland.
The Jamaican Chicken Risotto ($12) and the Caribbean Shrimp ($13) were last to arrive. The risotto was probably my favourite dish. Mixed with jerk spices and coconut, this rice dish was unlike any I have tasted before. It is definitely a dish I am still craving to this day.
For dessert we had the Apple Crumble ($8) and the White & Dark Chocolate Ganache ($8). The apple crumble was dead on. Served with a plum ice cream, the sweetness was a perfect compliment to the flavours experienced during the dinner. The ganache satisfied my chocolate craving.
After our meal, we were expecting a few friends to join us for dessert and more cocktails. Our waiter very kindly grabbed a few chairs from the private dining room upstairs and set them up for us prior to their arrival. You don't get that all the time.
Our waiter also walked me to the washrooms and even pointed out to me which one to go into. I have never had that happen before. I was very impressed.
Although the service was dead on and the majority of dishes were fantastic, there was one more hiccup in our meal. Unfortunately, they had run out of Naan and their chilled Konnyaku Noodles. Although we learned about the noodles just after we had ordered, we only learned about the naan when our last dishes were served. Our waiter never recommended something else.
PS. I wasn't too crazy about the 80's music that was playing when I first arrived, nor the Justin Timberlake during our meal...but hey, that is just me.