We thought…maybe chefs are interns or ingredients are not known to be safe for consumption and need further research. Turned out none of that was true, the restaurant just called Test Kitchen. It did not appear that anyone was out to set up experiments on us. The experience turned out to be good, but lacking some feist as it was rather ordinary.
APPEARANCE & NOSE
You will likely run into Test Kitchen walking or driving up Brant. This running in might be quite literal as their patio extended right onto the walkway and curb-side parking. A cute idea, but a lot of work for a seasonal add-on. We though it might be even better to have more greenery around, to help cool patrons down. Passing traffic provided some breeze, apart from all the traffic noise. We glanced inside - it was dark and A/C was not working so we mindlessly opted for the patio.
iPad menus were easy to use and prominently featured their $10 lunch special: a tapa dish with a glass of wine. We found it to be a great deal. The staff was very friendly and we got out drinks coming right up - a relief after few hours of golfing right before that. We ordered their Shrimp Po'boy thinking about our New Orleans experience as well as Heirloom Carrot Tart. They came with an option of a glass of their house wine (white or red) to go along with the dishes. We decided to try a glass of each - Ontario Konzelmann Unloaked Chardonnay and Cab Sauvignon. Even though we were on Brant, the traffic did not bother us too much, besides the convertible Ferrari revving its engine right in front of Test Kitchen. All would have been okay, but the proud owner decided that there was not enough effect so he passed by twice. At any rate, being on the patio was a great way to soak up the summer sun.
With regard to food we though both options were quite good. The Vienna loaf bread used for the Po'boy was the right consistency. Some folks in New Orleans believe that the right bread is the biggest component of a proper po'boy – we tend to agree. The rest of the ingredients were also up to par: fresh shredded iceberg, remoulade sauce, tomatoes, pickles and a side of salad. It came with a side of a slightly citrusy salad. The Remoulande was similar to tartar sauce, but with a Cajun twist. The dish was simple and flavourful, the only issue we had with it was the fried shrimp being a bit on the chewy side. Heirloom Carrot Tart was a great balance of ingredients: roasted mushrooms, puff pastry and goat cheese, with some hazelnuts on top. It was actually quite dark and crusty. We, once again, had a side of salad which balanced out the opinionated goat cheese. Tart could be a better match for a cooler weather, as it came warm and comforting. As for wine, both were dry and young – not too much character and very much drinkable on a patio that warm day. The amount is small, so treat them as starters. We decided to snack a bit more, and ordered a Grilled Cheese Sandwich as well. There was smoked gouda, roasted mushrooms and some caramelized onions. A bit light on content with the gouda not flavourful enough, we found. The side of home-made ketchup was not memorable nor adding much to the dish. The fries were worthwhile and a generous amount.
Test kitchen prides themselves with being innovative in their dishes, but ma Cherie and I were not convinced. We did think there was something to the idea of encouraging people to try tapas, which allow the chef to experiment and change up.The place is definitely worth a visit, especially for their $10 lunch special with wine. We were not sure whether the patio will remain open in some shape of form outside of warm season, so maybe go to Test Kitchen before the summer ends as abruptly, as it began.
ps there will be another Test Kitchen in Burlington (this time on Appleby) later on in August this year.