A bit of a different post for you guys today – lots of pics of recent restaurant and cafe eats. The summer’s been going well for me so far, and every day has mostly been busy with volunteering, yoga, and relaxing.
Chai tea latte and Greek yogurt and cherry croissant
I was pretty disappointed with this snack. The chai tea latte smelled incredible, but the flavour wasn’t there. It was quite bland in terms of spices, but overly sweetened and more watery than milky. I didn’t think it was a true latte because of how thin and diluted it was, as well as how sugary the drink tasted.
I asked for the croissant to be heated up, and I did see the server put it in the oven. However, when it was served to my table, the croissant was cold, firm, and not the least bit flaky. The filling was unevenly distributed, with yogurt on one side and cherry jam on the other. It wasn’t warmed up at all, and lacked the crispy, buttery, flakiness that all croissants should possess. I would not recommend Settlement Co. at all!
On Tuesday, Madhulika and Arsalan (housemates) took me to Uptown 21 for their famous tapas.
- Disappointment #1: called in the afternoon and there was no answer.
- Disappointment #2: didn’t make a reservation (this was entirely my fault).
- Disappointment #3: we didn’t get a table, and had bar seats directly outside the kitchen.
NICK AND NAT’S UPTOWN 21
Shredded beet salad, curried chickpea salad, cucumber and carrots in vinegar dressing
The shredded beets were sweet and tangy, but nothing special. I didn’t like the cucumber and carrot dish, because I found it plain and too vinegary. The chickpea salad was decent, but more curried spices could have been used. I also tasted yogurt and possibly pureed peppers. I think the curried chickpeas could have easily been made at home, with much more flavour.
Pesto breadsticks with tomatoes, olives, and herbed ricotta
This was okay. I don’t like how the pesto was drizzled (rather than smeared) on the breadsticks, and there was nothing particularly special about the bread. The ricotta was quite delicious, though.
Grilled asparagus with hummus
This was one of my favourite things of the night! The asparagus was cooked perfectly, with a hint of smoke from the grill. The hummus was flavourful and tasted homemade. It even had small chickpea chunks in it! The flavours paired together very nicely.
Honey-garlic chili fried chicken thighs and drumsticks
Another favourite dish! I’m certainly not a big meat-eater, and was actually very hesitant to eat a thigh. With some convincing from Madhulika, I had to give one a try. There were absolutely no regrets! The skin was crispy, the sauce just sweet enough with a great kick, and the garlic flavour was not overpowering. Also, the chicken itself was juicy and succulent. I could have eaten several more pieces!
All the “appetizers” together.
Mussels in tomato broth
I’m not a huge fan of mussels, but I had a couple and thought they were just average. The tomato broth was simple. With mussels, I like to have a coconut-based seafood stew with garlic, ginger, and other Thai flavours like lemongrass.
Crepe with “fromage fort” (blue cheese) and picked zucchini
This would’ve been nice if it had been served warm. Unfortunately, it was chilled and stuffed poorly. My piece had tons of blue cheese, which can be off-putting. The pickled zucchini lacked flavour, and the crepe itself was thick and chewy.
Grilled hanger steak with cayenne oil
I had a small piece of the beef, and it was surprisingly better than other beef that I’ve tried. Very chewy, which I don’t like, but the flavour was pretty good.
“These taste like stale… regular fries” was what Arsalan described these fries as. Madhulika enjoyed them, and I thought they were just okay. When it comes to veggie fries, I like sweet potato fries, followed by carrot. Parsnips have a flavour that I think does not belong in a French fry.
Chilled tomato gazpacho with crunchy herb croutons
It’s probably just a Cindy-thing, but I am seriously against cold soups. I just don’t like them. Soup, being pureed vegetables and liquid, should NOT be doused in vinegar and served chilled in a mason jar. The crunchy croutons were slightly redeeming, however. Arsalan, Madhulika, and I agreed that this was too acidic from the vinegar.
Poutine with veal gravy and mushrooms
I had one fry and a mushroom. It was pretty average, but then again, I am DEFINITELY not the right person to ask when it comes to evaluating fries (especially poutine).
Soft-boiled eggs with truffle cream
I really liked this! The eggs were cooked very well, and the truffle cream tasted great. I think the cream was made with truffle oil whisked into mayonnaise, because the oil bits had somewhat separated from the creamy mayo. This was a really special dish that I enjoyed a lot. 🙂 I forgot how tasty soft-boiled eggs can be!
Smoky grilled bok choy with balsamic drizzle and crispy onions
Another great dish! The crispy onions had excellent flavour, and I love how the leafy ends of the bok choy had the shatter-y, fragile quality of a kale chip. The balsamic drizzle gave these veggies tons of flavour. It was my first time eating bok choy in a non stir-fry setting!
Beet salad with chipotle aioli and crunchy breadcrumbs
This was great. I liked the beets, but the crunchy, buttery breadcrumbs were very special. They didn’t taste like regular breadcrumbs, but more like a rich crumbly graham cracker. The aioli was nice, with a bit of a kick. I think it could have been spicier, but it paired nicely with the sweet beets.
Deep-fried rainbow trout with chipotle aioli
This was our last dish. We were getting full and decided to surrender after the fish. I really liked this, but was a little disappointed that the trout came with the same chipotle aioli as the beets. The fish itself was cooked nicely, with great crisp. It tasted very fresh, and reminded me of salmon tempura.
Random note: six of the savoury dishes were served with these micro-sprouts. Why not use chopped chives? Dried basil? Crispy garlic? I got kind of bored of this garnish after six dishes.
Then, we waited for dessert…
Chocolate brownies with ganache
These were much, much firmer than I’d expected. They tasted more like a truffle, or a block of chocolate, than a brownie. A little upsetting, especially because I am a HUGE chocolate brownie lover. I like my brownies soft, chewy, dense, and fudgy, not firm and truffle-like.
Whipped cream with strawberries and crumbled meringue
The kitchen ran out of raspberry mousse before making this dessert. I was disappointed, because they replaced the famous berry mousse with whipped cream. 😦 Topped with only four strawberries, this mason jar wasn’t very exciting. The meringue crumbles were an interesting addition.
Apple bread pudding with powdered sugar and whipped cream
This was my favourite dessert, but it still wasn’t amazing. With a faint apple flavour and a hint of vanilla, this bread pudding was tasty compared to some of the other sweets that we were served.
Peach, chocolate, and cherry sorbet
I. Officially. Loathe. Sorbets. Peach tasted very “off”, the chocolate wasn’t cocoa-y in any way, and look at those ICE particles on it! Definitely a sign of poor-quality sorbet, in my opinion. Cherry tasted like medicine.
Steamed rhubarb and sesame brittle on whipped cream
Unique, but again, whipped cream. This was the third of five desserts that used whipped cream. The sesame brittle was a creative twist that I enjoyed, but it was too “corn-syrup” and not sesame-ish enough. The poached rhubarb had great flavour that I can only describe as berry-ish, with the texture of a silky vegetable.
And that’s it for today!
- Do you like tapas?
- What would your favourite dish here be?
- Do you think my dinner was worth $40 (actually $52 with tax and tip)?