Monday, August 17, 2015

70. Keralia Kitchen: Latvian/Scandinavian

Karelia Kitchen
1194 Bloor Street West
(just west of Dufferin)
647 748 1194

The noise level is fairly high as we enter as a large group is enjoying their meal. Glasses of water and brunch menus arrive promptly with very helpful explanations about various dishes and how to order. 
From the brunch menu our mains are: Beetroot Rosti Smørrebrød, $12.99; Smoked Salmon Tartar, a creative dish with quail egg, fresh made cheese and Finnish mustard, $14.00; and  Duck Scramble (pictured above) with house smoked salmon, $14.00.
After a look in the pastry counter, we can't resist  dessert and choose Carrot Cake, $6.00, Buttermilk Pie topped with peach slices, $7.00 and a Black Fig Galette, $4.50. A game of "musical forks" ensues as we each want to taste the others' delicious treats. 
Total for three very filling meals with drinks $76.21.
As we leave, we're already plotting what to try on our next visit. 

Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (3)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

69. Taiwan: Kanpai Snack Bar

Kanpai Snack Bar
252 Carlton Street
(at Parliament)
416 968 6888

I ask the server if there is a "rule of thumb" as to how many plates to order in this hip, street food inspired place. (Think tapas crossed with dim sum.) She replied that 4 to 6 are recommended for two people and clearly knew the menu very well.
There are so many interesting things to try and we had a tough time narrowing down our choices which were: Ske-lo Salad, with large shrimps avocado and orange pieces, $7 (pictured below); Three pieces of TFC which were huge in extra crispy coating, $9; Edamame said knock you out, fried edamame with garlic chips $4; Fu Manchu fried cubes of tofu, $5; deep fried calamari, $7; O. G. Bao a night market inspired sandwich of slow cooked pork, taiwanese relish, pickled cabbage, teriyaki shoyu, crushed peanuts on a soft steamed bun, $6; and we just couldn't resist trying one of the three interesting deserts - Wow Bao,  bao bun served with nutella and condensed milk dipping sauces, $6. Total for three generous lunches $60 including tax and tip.
The funky decor is well thought out, even down to the bathroom faucets. Decor plus service plus food equals a real winner.

Rating: Ambiance (4)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (3)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

68. Cameroon/Senegal/Gambia: Tree Top African Cafe

Tree Top African Cafe
620 Dundas Street West
(between Bathurst and Spadina)
(416) 519 9600

On this unseasonably cold and wet June afternoon, we welcomed a cup of lemon grass tea, $2.00, in this little cafe on the fringe of the Kennsington Market neighbourhood. There were more take out customers than those dining in.

We chose a Vegetarian Plate, $12 that came with a house made samosa, salad and Kilimanjaro Couscous, a Pan-African dish; Fou fou (pounded yams, cassava, green banana and other starchy veg) with fish and vegetables (photo above), $13 and Plantain with Chicken a generous portion with salad for $13. Many menu items are Senegambian and Pan-African.

Tree Top African Cafe was opened in 2014 by Cameroon born musician  Njacko Backo  and Saikou Sado who also owns the nearby African Drums & Art Crafts store.

Rating: Ambiance (2)Service (2)Food Presentation (3)Food Quality (3)Value for Money (2)