What? Bannock for dinner
Where? 401 Bay st (right outside Queen station)
The skinny: bannock is the newest addition to the Oliver&Bonacini line-up of restaurants. They’re all about Canadian comfort food (they’re right beside an HBC so go figure! haha). Yep, it’s a restaurant, but also a grab-and-go sort of café as well. Consistency and familiar ingredients are much looked forward to here! :D
My besties and I were meeting up for the final time before school or co-op resumes. We’ve been tight for over eight years now and it’s still mind-boggling to think how we stuck with each other through our awkward phases. It’s hilarious to reminisce!! I’d post a photo or two, but then you’d see how much of a stick I used to be…
Alright, back to the food! I get side-tracked so easily sometimes (think Dug from UP. “squirrel!”).
My first impression of bannock, “oooh that’s nice, I like open kitchens!” Then second came “sorry, what is bannock?” It’s a sort of bread cooked over a griddle brought here by Scots then adopted by Natives. Sounds like an interesting delivery system for some great food!
I love the décor of the place! The whiteness of the wood is just so pristine and lights up the place while contrasting the darker, richer woods. (more pics at the end).
The “placemat” menu reminds me of diners…but a bit fancier? Not sure I can say that considering it’s still paper at the end of the day haha At least it's a nice change to those sometimes really clunky menus.
What to eat? What to eat? The roast duck poutine pizza really caught my eye but burger made using brisket?! This seemed reminiscent of the burger I had at marben’s (which was awesome by the way) so I went for that.
burger + root crisps (14)
“high river Alberta ground brisket”. I was really excited to eat this burger! The toppings seem really fresh: remoulade, yellow tomato, iceberg lettuce.
Unfortunately, the brisket “patty” was dry. The bun was toasted (yes!) but nothing amazing. Overall, the burger was alright, not great.
Here’s the other component of the dish: root crisps! The potato crisp was too oily for my liking. The taro one, great! It was crunchy, rooty and very enjoyable. Too bad there weren’t more of these taro crisps…
bannock bannock (14)
“house-smoked salmon, onion, cumin, cream cheese”. Vickie got the only item on the menu using the restaurant’s namesake bread. She really embraced the smoked salmon. To the eye, the flatbread seems dense but nicely toasted but she didn’t comment on it, just saying that it reminded her of pita bread.
|Think you're seeing double? you kind of are. But know that this is a DIFFERENT photo than the post title photo :D|
noodle of the day (14)
“lamb ragù pasta”. I don’t quite remember the exact description of this dish. Momo’s not a huge eater so her finishing all of the pasta is a testament to its deliciousness. The ratio of lamb ragù to pasta is very generous. Yay for house-made pastas! ;)
pei mussels (14)
“double smoked bacon, fennel kimchi, iceberg”. Moose (nickname ;D) went straight for the mussels. I had one of them, yum. The mussel meat is rather small but it was succulent and had some good heat to it. Oh look! And there is some torn bannock on the plate as well.
warm s’mores pie (8)
Dessert time! Not too sure what to get, we asked for our server’s recommendation and she said s’mores pie without hesitation. That’s good enough for us.
It was alright, but not striking. I toyed with the toasted marshmallows idea in my Halloween cupcakes (I ended up using crème). The crustiness of the toasted marshmallow was really enjoyable! The “pie” was just too chocolatey (rich) though.
My predictable “bill photo” here. Hey, it’s serves as a good reminder to how much my meal costed! So even though my friends tease me constantly about snapping the bill, I’ll continue…maybe more discreetly though haha
And here are the rest of the décor photos! The party dining at this long table left so I gingerly left my seat to snap this photo. I always take note in the lighting fixtures—probably because the lighting available is crucial to taking photos—and this is really fun!
Finally, the rest of the dining room: the white wall is mirrored and another wall is lined with bottles of preserves.
Verdict: I love the ambiance and the décor of bannock but the burger was such a let-down. My friends did enjoy their food so perhaps I need to come back to doublecheck. I'm used to consistently good food from the O&B restaurants (Biff's Bistro, Auberge du Pommier, O&B Café) so maybe this was just a glitch. ;)
Check 'em out! http://www.oliverbonacini.com/Bannock.aspx
3 out of 5 NOMs