Rummors around the office claimed this place has worthwhile food, and once our reservations was made I asked around some more and it turned out the cheese platter and fondue is what is worthwhile. I went on reading few reviews and they all seemed to claim that both food and service are off, the beer selection was the only positive part of the reviews.
dark, sleek, a bit hidden
Apart from all the construction going on the street, the place seemed dark and sleek. The entrance is not too obvious, I passed it the first time, but the pub next door has an obvious sign, making sure you don't make a mistake. Right after the front door there is a fenced fountain of a naked boy. I think its quite charming, funny and Italian. Next is a long, narrow walk to the hostess table, with round wait tall tables on the side.
- light cherry
The host quickly sat me down, while I waited for my friend. The place had a warm vibe. There was an elevated are, which looked very cozy. Our table was right behind the host-stand, close to the front street window. I noticed the writing on one wall, again, it seemed Italian to me. I thought beer is not a very Italian in tradition, but I guess these guys think otherwise. As the waitress arrived, she removed a neat meatal glass stand from the table.
a hint of licorice
I started making my way thought the beer bible. Some have paragraphs of history and tasting notes other just a few lines, wander why that is. My friend arrived and we went on giving their winterlicious menu a shot. I ordered their Ontario Roasted Beet Salad, followed by the Schnitzel and their Apple Creme Brule for dessert. She asked us for all the order at ones and I figured this is a perfect recipe for slacking off with the service. She kept on recommending two beers, a Belgian one in particular as you can't find anywhere else, so my friend gave it a try - Jupiler. I picked a Kawartha Lakes Raspberry Wheat with my salad, local from the T.O. Amsterdam Brewery.
My KLB was light, floral and I was grateful it was not on the sweet side. The Jupiler was very good, aromatic and smokey. My beet salad arrived. It was interesting, with caramelized walnuts and goat-cheese. Soem of the beets were a bit too hard. My friend had their Wild Mushroom Soup, which was very watery with whole mushrooms floating - not impressive, I thought. To our surprise the waitress kept a good eye on us, and a runner came by to pick up our plates and recommended good matches for our next dish. Both polite, helpful and knowledgeable. My Schnitzel came, smelling great. It was a bit too soft for my liking and the veal was not lean, as in I chewed on a few ligaments and fats. The asparagus and tomato jam did not really work in palette, unlike squeezing the lemon on top. With this dish I was recommended Erdinger Dunkel Weissbier - dark wheat beer, a tad spicy. Mon ami had their T-bone burger with a Duvel Ale (smooth, a bit fruity and pretty high in alcohol). His gourmet burger was great, but we were slowly getting filled. Next came our desserts - Double Chocolate Fudge Cake, which I though was pretty good with a hint of espresso. My Apple Creme Brule was pretty good as well, not crazy about the deep-friend apple fritter though.
bitter, slightly sweet
It was quite noisy but at some point, on my way to the washroom, I saw there was a live band playing in the back. It kind of seemed like an event space. It was a long walk also passing by windows showcasing a brewery-like area.
Need to come back to this place for just cheese platter/fondue and or desserts. Their service was great, and so was their beer list. The dishes, I would say, are not the restaurant's passion.
overall.. a Valpolicella in progress