36 Wellington Street East
Toronto, ON, M5E 1C7
I'd like to think I'm pretty honest about my reviews. I usually just say things as it is, so I'm going to come right out at the beginning of this post and express my dissatisfaction about this restaurant. In fact, If I had a list of most disappointing restaurant experiences, this one might be a chart topper.
The beginning of this story begins with a Groupon purchase. $60 of food from Lucien (@LucienToronto) for $30. What an amazing deal! It has received praise from many recognized magazines saying that it is one of the best wine and dine restaurants in Toronto, so I snatched up the deal without even thinking twice.
Arriving to the restaurant, I was visually impressed by the venue. It was absolutely stunning. A nostalgic red brick wall building, housing a beautiful interior completely with velvet drapes, fancy chandeliers, dark mahagonay furniture, and the perfect amount of glowing lights.
Along the wall of the bar is a huge selection of spirits and wine. Their wine and drink list is quite comprehensive, so we couldn't resist ordering a couple glasses.
Cave Spring Chardonnay Half Bottle ($24)
The menu in comparison is quite streamline, offering only a handful of appetizers, mains, and dessert.
Thuet Bread -small ($2)
Albacore Tuna Crudo ($17) - rye crisp, "pastrami" oil, preserved radish
B.C Cod ($29) -fish chowder, Mexican chorizo, cuttlefish, fennel
House Made Pasta ($25) -daily special, made every afternoon
Honey Chiffon Cake ($11) -strawberry, bee pollen, balsamic lavender ice cream
So everything up until now looks pretty good right?
And that's probably where the problem lies. It all "looks" pretty good. Beautiful venue, beautiful food presentation, but it doesn't deliver well in any other aspect.
Let's start with the service. Absolutely the worst. This may be jumping to conclusions, but I'm pretty sure our waitress forgot to put in our food orders.We sat for about 40 minutes before our basket of bread came. It wouldn't have an unreasonable time to wait if they were actually kneading the dough and baking it fresh in the kitchen, but this probably isn't the case. The table next to us who sat down after we did, got their bread basket right after ordering.
Seeing as this is an unusual amount of time to wait, we ask the waitress to double check on our orders. Not only did she not apologize, she was actually quite rude about it. I understand that accidents happen sometimes, and I would've have been upset if she said "There's been a mix-up, sorry about that." But nope -not a single word. In fact I can't recall if she ever did return to our table to let us know the status of our food. Our plates just eventually showed up. Maybe I just got unlucky with the waitress, but the service really did ruin the night for me. You could really tell she did not enjoy being there. I don't think I saw her smile ONCE for the entire dinner service. At the end of the meal our waitress did bring two glasses of wine and said it was on the house; but no reference to why, no apology, no smile, no nothing. It was borderline insincere, so the gesture did nothing for me.
Now on the to the food. Let me tell you, it's not much better than the service. Dishes were either completely bland, or overly salty. The Homemade Pasta that we ordered lacked seafood and tasted like it was cooked with seawater -so salty! The B.C Cod was reasonably cooked but had absolutely no flavour. The only palatable thing of the night was the Albacore Tuna Crudo which was surprisingly fresh.
What do you think, am I being too harsh? It's really a shame that this restaurant didn't dazzle me, because the venue is absolutely beautiful. Loved the romantic candle lit atmosphere. I would consider coming back for a drink at the bar, but never ever again for a meal.