Posts Tagged With: fusion

R&D

For my birthday celebration I made reservations for a friend and I at R&D because I really wanted to try this restaurant, not because of Masterchef but because the co-owner is Alvin Leung, a three Michelin star Chinese Canadian chef.

The decor is quite modern with comfortable and spacious seating and a bright interior. Our server informed us that the skewers were unavailable. We ordered the general sanders’ chicken ($25) and the 76 hour peking duck ($68).

The general sanders’ chicken is comprised of 2 deep fried crispy chicken legs, 2 deep fried crispy chicken breasts, Hong Kong egg waffles, sichuan maple syrup dipping sauce and kung pao dipping sauce. To make the batter coating the chicken prior to deep frying, vodka rather than buttermilk is used as the primary binder. Both the leg and breast were very tasty. I was pleasantly surprised that there are organs with the breast since it’s deep fried with the spine and bones as well. The dipping sauces go well with the chicken however my favourite is the sichuan maple syrup. The egg waffles are crunchy and sweet and the maple syrup goes really well with it. Overall, it’s a nice Asian inspired chicken and waffles dish.



The peking duck takes 76 hours of prep and cook time. The duck is first soaked in a salt brine for 40+ hours, then slow cooked for several hours and finally oven roasted. The peking duck served at R&D is an interesting spin on the dish. The skin isn’t as crispy compared to a traditional peking duck while the slices of meat are very thick. The meat is very tender and soft however it comes with a very large layer of fat between the skin and meat. The steamed buns are nice albeit abit thick in comparison to the normal paper-thin wraps at most other restaurants. There are 3 different coleslaws to accompany the thick slices of duck and the thick skinned steamed buns. There’s cucumber with hoisin sauce and scallions which is a fairly Asian take on coleslaw. There’s mango with asian pear and plum which is a very fruity take on coleslaw. There is also cabbage, ginger and carrot which is most reminiscent of regular western coleslaw. Of the 3 slaws, my favourite is the asian pear, mango and plum followed by the cucumber, hoisin sauce and scallion. My friend enjoyed this dish the most.

The service at R&D is nice although perhaps more training is required for their staff. We were unable to finish the peking duck so I asked for containers. The servers said that they’ll wrap up my food for me which is nice of them to do so. When I opened up the take out box a day later I was surprised to find only 30% of the leftovers in the box. My friend and I only had afew bites of the platter and I was looking forward to my duck leg so imagine my disappointment when there wasn’t any duck leg in my container and there were only afew pieces of duck and afew pieces of the steamed buns. All three coleslaws were missing from my container as well. I was very disappointed since I was looking forward to eating the dish again (albeit it wouldn’t have been as tasty as when it’s fresh out of the kitchen). Although my birthday dinner was good the day of, the care of my leftovers tarnished the restaurant for me.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Borealia

I made reservations at Borealia for dinner this past Saturday. The restaurant, located on Ossington near Queen West, is quite small and only seats 45 people so I figured that’s it’s best to be safe than sorry. The service was attentive and informative. The decor is fitting for the cuisine which is Aboriginal fusion or Canadian cuisine. We sat in a little booth-like nook table that’s sandwiched between the large group table and the window nook table and booth tables. It had a view of the kitchen and the booth part of the table had a nice log cushion. The table was oddly shaped but roomy for 3 people. Based on the reviews I read online, we ordered the chopsuey croquettes ($6), red fife levain bread with cultured butter ($3), braised whelk ($14), pemmican ($15), L’éclade ($15) and pigeon pie ($23). We were forewarned that the portions were small.

Chopsuey Croquettes are deep-fried mini balls of sticky rice, Chinese sausage, soy sauce, ground beef and duck gizzard. It was scrumptious and although there were 3 in total, one for each of my friends and I, I could have easily ate it all since it was that enjoyable. It was the top 2 dish for my friends as well.

Red Fife Levain Bread & Cultured Butter is a kind of sourdough bread with butter that’s dusted with caramelized onion powder on the side. It was alright, my friends and I prefer the chopsuey croquettes alot more.

Braised Whelk is a massive whelk shell that was on top of a burdock salad with beurre blanc sauce inside the shell along with 3 skewers of succulently grilled sea snails. The beurre blanc is made with white wine, rice vinegar and seaweed. The sea snails were grilled to perfection. It was perfectly chewy but cooked thoroughly. I poured the beurre blanc sauce from the shell onto my portion of the burdock salad and it was delicious. One of my friends considers this to be his favourite dish amongst the six that we ordered.

We ordered the bison “pemmican” bresaola dish because of elementary school history classes regarding the fur traders traversing Northern Ontario to the Prairie provinces and sustaining themselves on pemmican. The pemmican is a bison bresaola with shaved lard and sweet blueberries with mint leaves and a blueberry juniper vinaigrette. It was quite tasty and definitely worth a try. You should eat a piece of the bison bresaola on its own without any blueberries or mint leaves and then with the blueberries and mint leaves since the initial method would allow you to fully savour the meat while the second method enhances the meat.


L’éclade is mussels that’s smoked in pine needles and drenched in a pine ash butter sauce. It’s served under a cloche and the server will lift the glass dome allowing the pine-scented smoke to escape for your viewing pleasure. It’s the first dish I’ve ever eatened in which the cooking method involves a smoking gun. The mussels were soft and succulent although the pine ash butter sauce had a bitter aftertaste. My other friend considers this dish to be his favourite amongst the six.

Pigeon Pie is a savoury pie that’s stuffed with dark squab meat, spices and parsnips that’s served with seared squab breast meat and roasted parsnips on the side. Although the meat is abit gamey, it was delectable.

I recommend the chopsuey croquettes, braised whelk and pigeon pie. You must try the l’éclade and pemmican at least once. The next time I come, I’d be interested in trying the smoked pickerel, pan-roasted trout and hot chocolate beignets.

Categories: Aboriginal Canadian, Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summerlicious: Linda Modern Thai

An elementary school friend and I met for dinner on Wednesday in July to catch up. She wanted to eat Thai food and so we went to Linda Modern Thai. I’ve been to this restaurant before. My first experience was when it was still in downtown Toronto. It’s now located at Shops at Don Mills. The decor is alright. We went during Summerlicious so we had their Summerlicious menu (choose 1 appetizer, 1 soup/salad, 1 main and 1 dessert from a set list) which meant dinner was $25+tax+tip.

Mieng Kum

Mieng Kum

My friend and I had to split the Mieng Kum appetizer because of the restaurant’s Summerlicious policy. Mieng Kum is peanut, dried shrimp, shallot, lime, chili, shredded coconut and sweet  chili sauce wrapped in a betel leaf. I love this appetizer and I have yet to find anything similar at any other Thai restaurant in Toronto and Kitchener/Waterloo. I usually order this appetizer when I go eat at Linda’s with friends or family friends.

Mango Salad

Mango Salad

Coconut Milk Soup

Chicken Coconut Milk Soup

I had the Chicken Coconut Milk Soup while my friend ordered mango salad. The chicken coconut milk soup has chicken breast, mushrooms, lemongrass, lemon leaf, galangal, chili paste, coconut milk and seafood stock. I enjoyed it although it was more sour than spicy. The mango salad has mango, peanut, cabbage, tamotoes, basil, fish sauce, lime juice and mango salad dressing.

Top: Crispy Beef Bottom: Fried Chicken

Top: Crispy Beef
Bottom: Fried Chicken

My friend ordered the Crispy Beef while I ordered the Fried Chicken. My friend didn’t like the Crispy Beef cause the sauce was too rich so we swapped mains. I really liked the Crispy Beef. The Crispy Beef is in a coconut milk and peanut based Penang curry with pieces of crispy beef, bell peppers, Asian basil and lime leaf. It comes with a bowl of rice. The Fried Chicken is half a fried chicken with peanut mustard sauce, cucumber slices and cabbage. I liked the combination of the fried chicken with the peanut mustard sauce. The peanut mustard sauce has a spicy kick to it, almost like wasabi and it went really well with the fried chicken. The cucumber slices and cabbage would help out if you find the kick too overwhelming.

Deep Fried Banana with Honey

Deep Fried Banana with Honey

Papaya Ice Cream

Papaya Ice Cream

For dessert I had papaya ice cream while my friend had the Deep Fried Banana with Honey. My friend liked the deep fried banana with honey. I never had papaya ice cream before and it’s quite refreshing and tasty.

Overall, if you’re at Linda’s I recommend Mieng Kum as an appetizer and Crispy Beef and/or Fried Chicken for a main.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Food Festival, North York, Restaurant Review, Thai | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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