Friday, July 12, 2019

Eating Off the Hill: Summerlicious Prix Fixe at Bannock

I'm in Scarborough for the summer, so expect some even more off the hill food reviews in the weeks and months to come. My first installment comes from a trip downtown to Queen and Bay to sample the Summerlicious prix fixe menu at Bannock.

I will say up front that I was disapointed, although that could partially stem from a misunderstanding of Bannock's concept and offering. I thought it was a somewhat upscale reasturant offering Indegenous-inspired dishes. Instead, it's actually marketed as midmarket Canadian comfort food.

So I went in with an expectations mismatch, and was surprised to find plastic menus and no particularly Indigenous dishes on the menu except the namesake Bannock -- more on that shortly.

Still, I was interested in the menu, which, as part of the City of Toronto's Summerlicious promotion, offered an appetizer, main and desert for $33 as a way of encouraging people to sample more local reasturants.

As my appetizer, I selected the "Fried Mac & Cheese  with aged cheddar and basil pesto." I was a bit put off my the two keptchup packets it came with. I mean, I realize this isn't the more swank place I thought it was, but I don't think Moxie's would give you ketchup packets with your meal. I had lunch at Darcy McGee's at the airport a few weeks back and they gave me ketchup in a ceramic cup. I didn't use these packets, so hopefully they were saved and not disposed of.

Still, as fried Mac & cheese go it was actualy pretty good. Other times I've had this it's more thin like a triangle, so the mac & cheese inside isn't particularly cheesy or pasta-ish. This though was done in cubes. which allowed the cheesy goodness inside to be enjoyed on its on merits.

For my main, I nearly got the meat pie, but ended up deciding on the"Braised Ontario Lamb Pappardelle with tomato, olive oil, parmesan, lamb rag├╣ and rosemary. It was just OK. I would have liked more parm, and perhaps the addition of some garlic for added flavour. It wasn't overly saucy and the lamb was dry. Very much nothing special.

For the last course I selected their featured dessert, described as " Haagen-Dazs Extraaz Bananas Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream with graham cracker, torched marshmallow and screeched strawberries." First of all, I don't like marshmellows so let's just remove the from the equation. The highlight was the banana ice cream. The bready thing it was served on though didn't seem very grahm crackery to me though. And the strawberroes, while perfectly fine strawberries, I don't know exactly what made them screeched. I didn't finish it as it didn't seem particularly worth the many calories I was no doubt consuming.

Whick brings me back to the namesake Bannock. Since I didn't know when (probably never) I'd be back, while I was sure to be stuffed by the prix fixe, when placing my order at the beginning of the evening I also ordered the mixed bannock box appetizer, just so I could try it. Unfortunately, they seemed to forget it as it never arrived. I didn't bring it up because it didn't show up on the bill and I was full enough anyways, but still, would have liked to have tried it and I did order it.

Anyway, overall I was disapointed by Bannock. Part of it was a mismatch of expectations on concept and menu, but still, their actuall concept was executed mediocrely.

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