Monday, October 29, 2012

Weslodge Saloon

With its signature yellow doors on King Street West, there is no missing Weslodge. One of the latest ventures from Toronto's so called 'King of clubs' Charles Khabouth, this modern day saloon is a good spot for afterwork dinner/drinks and weekend partying.  

Visiting Weslodge back in August, the restaurant had only been open for a couple of weeks.  On this particular Monday, sitting at the bar (prime people watching real estate), the place was rammed - likely due in part to the Toronto Star feature which had just run in the weekend paper.  The service was a bit chaotic, our main was forgotten, and things seemed to take longer than normal - but everything that did (eventually) make it to the table was full of flavour and well received.  That included the charred brussels sprouts with bacon, the scallop (yes, singular) with caper vinaigrette and lentils, and the buffalo tartar with pickled mustard seed, egg, foie gras and sour dough.     

Being a saloon and all, the cocktail menu features some old school poisons (gin and tonic, negroni), along with some creative concoctions using tastes like tobacco spice, absinthe and lemon oil.  

Weslodge is also open for lunch and weekend brunching.                   

Friday, October 26, 2012

Campagnolo

Campagnolo is still one of the best restaurants in Toronto.  Here are some photos from a visit to the Dundas West eatery in early August.  The roasted grapes and burrata on toasted bread is always a must, as is the salted caramel budino for dessert.      

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Momofuku Noodle Bar Toronto

Toronto's had an exciting few weeks.  Soho House, the new Four Seasons Hotel with Cafe Boulud, J.Crew at the Eaton Centre, a full size Topman/Topshop downtown, and then of course there's Momofuku.  Chef David Chang opens his extremely popular New York noodle bar, plus two other restaurants - Daisho and Shoto, right next to the also new Shangri-La Hotel at University and Adelaide.  

To quickly break things down - the 22 seat Shoto is the fancier of the three restaurants, serving a 10 plus course tasting menu that costs $150 a head.   
Daisho also lives on the third floor and is all about family size portions.  This is where you can order Chang's famous fried chicken ($125 for four to six people) and also beef short ribs ($220 for four to six people). 
Noodle Bar, on the main level, features Momofuku's prized pork buns and ramen.  
And finally, Nikai is the bar on the second floor where you can sample the hipster and pricey cocktails while waiting for your table downstairs.  The small snack menu comes in handy, especially if there are a number of diners ahead of you.  

On Saturday of the Thanksgiving long weekend at 5:45pm there was still a 25 minute wait for a table at Noodle Bar.  Not a surprise.  After a round of drinks and an order of the freshly made chips with black garlic and creme fresh, we got a text that our table was ready.  Luckily for us, we snagged the last order of the lobster and lettuce buns - a special that day.  We also tried the melt in your mouth pork buns and the equally delicious roasted rice cakes with red chili, onions and sesame.  The Momofuku ramen with tender pork belly and shoulder, an egg and fish cake, and the chicken and egg bowl came out next.  The vegetarian at the table ordered the ginger scallion noodles with shiitake, cucumber and cabbage.  

Don't ask for dessert at Noodle Bar, because there isn't any.  Let's just hope the Momofuku Milk Bar plans are well underway.        

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Middle Eastern BBQ at Langdon Hall

It may be too early to be thinking about next summer, but Langdon Hall's BBQ series is something we always look forward to.  On Friday nights, the beautiful Relais & Chateaux (in Cambridge, Ontario) offers quite the outdoor spread, hosted by well known chefs and food personalities.  On this particular night last August, Bonnie Stern and Mitchell Davis presented a Middle Eastern feast, executed perfectly from Langdon's top dog Jonathan Gushue and his team.  New this year - guests were invited to make their own Challah breads and got to take them home, freshly baked, at the end of the night.  

Everything was so good it's nearly impossible to narrow down the best dish.  We also didn't think anything could top the perfect pies from last year, but the cheesecake (made more like a pudding), did.  


Langdon Hall's award winning restaurant is open all year, so be sure to visit, even when it's cold out.