[Winterlicious] Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie

Restaurant: Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
Location: 35 Tank House Lane, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4 Price Range: $$$
Overall: 4.5/5
Note: This review is only for Winterlicious 2015 Dinner, it does not reflect the normal service. In addition, part of this review is written by my friend who accompanied me to the dinner.

My second Winterlicious dinner was at Cluny and their 3 course prix fixe dinner was priced at $35. This dinner was quite a spontaneous one as I didn’t plan to come here at all, but my boss recommended it, and I was not disappointed at all. Note to self: when a Parisian recommend you to an authentic French restaurant, you listen and trust their taste ;).

The interior of this restaurant is beautiful. For a French restaurant, it had a modern decor and a partially opened kitchen, a seafood bar (I believe?) and an open bread bar. The wine rack is quite impressive as well.

Open bread bar

Open bread bar

Open seafood bar

Open seafood bar

They also had a separated bakery, but unfortunately I was too full and couldn’t have any of their pastry offerings, they looked delicious though. I think Cluny would be a perfect spot for a date when summer comes :).

Bakery

Bakery

Bakery

Some of their bakery offerings

Below are my friend’s courses:

Pressed Chicken Terrine “Nicoise Style” -  pickled beans, tomato jam and black olives

Pressed Chicken Terrine “Nicoise Style” – pickled beans, tomato jam and black olives

To be honest we never had a “Terrine” before and I must say, it is quite delicious! This was a cold appetizer and surprisingly, the chicken was still soft and juicy. While the chicken terrine itself did not have much flavor, the tomato jam gave the terrine a hint of sweetness, while the olives and picked beans provided a touch of sourness and brightened up the dish. The yellow and smooth hollandaise sauce rounded out the contrasting flavors and made the dish cohesive. This was a well composed appetizer and a great way to start the meal!

Beer Braised Beef Cheeks - celeriac and barley stew, roasted sprouts, fresh horseradish

Beer Braised Beef Cheeks – celeriac and barley stew, roasted sprouts, fresh horseradish

This was my first time trying out beef cheek (a lot of firsts for this meal!) as it is not a common ingredient for an every day meal.The cook of the beef cheek was perfect, it was very tender and succulent, the seasoning was spot on as well. The roasted brussel sprouts were a nice addition to the dish, and the horseradish add a nice, little touch of freshness to this “meat-heavy” dish. The barley gave the dish a hearty-comfort-food feel, a stew great during the winter months in Toronto :).

Roasted Hazelnut Profiterole - chocolat chaud and chantilly

Roasted Hazelnut Profiterole – chocolat chaud and chantilly

Hazelnut and chocolate are always the perfect match. The profiterole itself was airy and light, delicious not overly sweet. The dark chocolate ganache was divine and the slight bitter taste helps to cut down the sweetness of the profiteroles, a very well balanced dish. The hazelnut chantilly and bits of cookies (?) added some texture to the sauce, but it was not really needed in my opinion. If you enjoy dark chocolate, I highly recommend this dish!

And these were my courses:

Tomato and Saffron Braised Calamari -   basque style stewed peppers and fennel

Tomato and Saffron Braised Calamari – basque style stewed peppers and fennel

Normally I enjoy calamari grilled or deep fried, but I never tried it braised before and it did not disappoint. By braising, it allowed the calamari to soak up the broth, leaving the calamari very tender and juicy.  I don’t think the fennel was needed as it didn’t add any flavor to the dish, and I wish the broth had a bit more salt or spice, it was a bit under-seasoned for me. Nonetheless, the broth was perfect for dipping pieces of soft bread ;).

BBQ Steelhead Trout - flageolet beans, roasted heirloom carrots, almond sauce

BBQ Steelhead Trout – flageolet beans, roasted heirloom carrots, almond sauce

When the trout arrived, I thought it was going to be over-cooked as skin seemed to be too charred. Surprisingly the fish was flaky and moist, no “burnt food” smell and the seasoning was spot on. The almond sauce seemed non-existent. The beans had no flavor, but the roasted carrot added a nice touch to the dish with their natural sweetness coming through. The salad also added some nice texture and quite refreshing :).

Lavender Blackcurrant Macaroon - wild strawberry coulis and torched vanilla meringue

Lavender Blackcurrant Macaroon – wild strawberry coulis and torched vanilla meringue

To be honest I was quiet skeptical with this dish, as I had a bad experience with Lavender macaron previously. To my surprise the Lavender did not taste like Bouncy sheets at all, it was very mild and the blackcurrant tasted like a concentrated blackberry flavor to me, not to sweet at all! I believe the ice cream was raspberry as it was a bit sour along with the coulis, but the sweetness from the meringue helped to cut down the sourness. There were a lot of flavors going on with this dessert and everything blended together nicely, I really enjoyed it.

2015-02-12 19.49.37 HDR

 

Overall I enjoyed my dinner at Cluny. While my main course wasn’t the best, my friend really enjoyed her dishes and I did too! Our server was very friendly and relaxed, she did not rush us to finish our dinner, unlike some restaurants. Each dish arrived quickly and plates were cleared off promptly. With the lovely location and patio, I can’t wait for the weather to warm up and return for their brunch :).

Cluny Bistro on Urbanspoon

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[Dessert] Duo Pâtisserie & Café

Restaurant: Duo Pâtisserie & Café
Location: 4, 230 Commerce Valley Drive East, Markham, ON L3T 7Y3
Price Range: $$
Overall: 4/5

Duo Pâtisserie & Café

Duo Pâtisserie & Café

As you can see it was snowing that day, yet I still stood outside to take this pic for you guys, LOVE ME.

From the outside Duo looks quite plain, I wish they had some decorations or design to give the place a bit more of a Pâtisserie feel. However, since they’re located in a plaza, I guess they couldn’t do something different with the exterior.

Inside Duo

Inside Duo

I’m really sorry if I got any of you guys in this shot! This place was packed during my stay (which is a good thing!) so it was extremely hard to take a picture. This place is very clean and modern looking. Unfortunately seating was a bit tight, I wish they would take a table out to give the place a bit more space, but then the place is quite small in the first place. At most it can seat around 15 customers.

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[Dessert] Sweet Note Desserts

Restaurant: Sweet Note Desserts 
Location: 505 Highway 7, Markham, ON L3T 7V6
Price Range: $
Overall: 4/5

Sweet Note Desserts

Sweet Note Desserts

Occasionally I would go to Markham or Richmond Hill to have dinner or dessert, as the food prices in these areas are generally cheaper. I don’t know why I love that area so much, it’s to the point I have considered moving there before with my SO, but then I realized every restaurant are so far apart that you would need a car to get around. Whereas in downtown Toronto, most places are within walking distance so getting a car is a waste of money. Beside, driving isn’t my forte so I don’t think I would move anytime soon, unless I get a chauffeur LOL jk. Anyways…back to food review :p.

Inside Sweet Note Desserts

As you can see, Sweet Note Desserts is a small but cozy cafe. In addition to desserts, they also serve variety of coffees and teas. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable as well. This was my first time visiting, she patiently explained the menu and gave us a heads up about how long each item would take to make, which was great!

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[Dessert] Delysees Bakery

Restaurant: Delysèes 
Location: 780 King Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1C9
Price Range: $$
Overall: 3.5/5

Hi everyone! Sorry for the hiatus. During the past 2 months I tried several new restaurants and I took a lot of pictures for blogging. However I keep forgetting to take pictures of the interior or menu of the restaurant (fail lol), hence I couldn’t do a proper blog post. I promise I will blog more often from now on and have different variety of restaurants, not just dessert places..

Inside Delysees

Inside Delysees

This time I visited Delysees – a modern and authentic French Bakery located on King Street West. First of all, I have to mention this place is beautiful! It’s a lovely space with clean lines and glossy whites everywhere. The inside is spacious and I believe the glass wall at the back is the entrance to their kitchen? The glass counters showcases the sandwiches and salad, ranged from $5-10. Unfortunately by the time I visited it was almost dinner so I didn’t want to try any, I will try some next time!

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