Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toronto: Bannock

O Bannock!
:Queen + Bay:

grilled alberta lamb rump...shake that rump...

"Truthfully, I think the city is saturated with Oliver & Bonacini restaurants..."  Déjà vu, I know.

Last night I went to number eight.  It's been open for about 3 weeks.  It's "Canadian comfort food".  And they called it Bannock.  


My guess is that somewhere in the O&B hierarchy, someone thought using the Old English word for flat bread was truly Canadian because it was "brought to Canada through Scottish explorers and traders...".  I must have skipped that lesson during social studies.  That's right, in West Coast Canada, "history" is "social studies".  Gawd I don't miss high school at all. 

The reviews for Bannock so far are so bad.

But when Aerie messaged me and suggested Bannock, I was down.  I get down with anything, at least once.  And I'm always down for meeting with Aerie.  Always.

We bantered over cocktails and ban-uhk.  Not literally, because they didn't sound appealing. 

mighty canuck > the hbc
There were many things I liked (and many things I could have done without).  I'll start with the good.  I like the concept: easy to-go counter cafe meets casual dining.  I also appreciate that they use Canadian ingredients, like PEI mussels, BC albacore tuna, etc.

Now on to the stuff that could lead a bad review, if this were one, which it's not...quite.  Not everything on the menu sounds good.  And in my opinion, a lot of things are just set up to fail.  Take the lobster roll - Aerie and I both wondered why they would do one.  Good lobster rolls are few and far between and I doubt that Toronto is the best place place to throw one down.  Other things just sound wholly unappetizing.  For example, the table next to us ordered the roast duck poutine pizza.  Now don't get me wrong, I love duck.  I love poutine.  I love pizza.  I love duck poutine and I love duck pizza.  But duck poutine pizza?  I'll pass.  Too too much isn't always so very very good.
Service was great - friendly and attentive. Kitchen was not.  Open concept means I can see where the hold up is. Our food took a long time.  There were extended delays.  Not sure what was going on because the tables weren't full.  I will let it go.  They knew it.  They apologized for it.  I'm over it.

Overall, the food shows promise.  Aerie and I shared a poutine.  Just poutine, because we love poutine. It wasn't Top 10 material, but it was still very good, even with chicken gravy.

Then we shared the grilled Alberta lamp rump and St. Canut pulled pork tourtière.  While lamb is self-explanatory, tourtière  may not be.  Allow me, it's a meat pie from Quebec and is traditionally minced.  Why then does Bannock call it pulled pork.  Misleading but good.  The honeyed root veggies too.  As for the packet of Heinz ketchup; I think it was intended to be fun and whimsical.  I thought it was lame.

The lamb was really delicious.  I could have skipped the prairie grain pilaf, only because it tasted so very healthy.  I wanted mashed potatoes or risotto.  I don't do well with whole grains.

Aerie and I got some sugar to go. I had the sour cream donuts.  Shocker.  Y'all know I have a problem with donuts. 

Aerie liked her butter tart.  She said the puff pastry crust was an nice surprise from the usual shortcut pastry.  She also liked the flavour.  I trust Aerie.  So should you.

How were my donuts you ask?  They tasted better than they look.

Overpriced at $8 and definitely won't make Toronto Life's best donut list, but I would like the sauce.  Anyday, everyday, everywhere.  I think it was dulce de leche.  So heavenly.

Well this was definitely one of my longer reviews.  I needed to take it all in and sleep on it.  This is what came out.  My final answer?  I would go again.  But not for dinner.

I would go again for lunch. Final answer.

Bannock on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. You should have try the poutine pizza... it sound disgusting but it actually tasted really good. I originally ordered it just for the buzz and get to have something special for my blog post but both me and my bf end up loving it. The crust was so craker crispy thin that it works perfectly with the soft gravy fries =P


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