Saturday, 19 April 2008

The Braywick Bistro

Posted by Bonita

As you may recall, less than a month ago, I went out to dinner with some friends, thinking that that evening would probably be the last time we would get together as four and enjoy some good food, good wine and good company for at least a year. Lo-and-behold, I got an email from one of them a few days later, attached with a website address, claiming that we had to all go try this restaurant. Such news made my day, since it met getting to enjoy the company of my lovely friends over a lovely meal.

The restaurant of choice this time around, thanks to Dana's recommendation, was The Braywick Bistro on Dundas Street. The location of the restaurant was a bit of a surprise, since the walk from the bus stop to the restaurant seemed a bit...sketchy at times. It definitely wouldn't have been a neighbourhood I would initially stick a nice restaurant like the Braywick in. However, despite some of the more rundown buildings, the restaurant itself it really nice when we finally came across it. The establishment itself is small, giving the place a comfortable, cozy feel. With its warm brown tones, and a cute fireplace (which has been filled in with a heating grate), and interesting photography artwork, the decor lended nicely to the bistro environment.

Between the four of us, Dana is our designated sommelier, so we usually leave it up to her to pick the wine for us. After deliberating over the menu to see what we wanted to eat in order to match the wine, we decided to go with something a bit more versatile: a 2005 Gamay Rose VQA produced by Lailey Vineyard's, a local vineyard in the Niagara-On-The-Lake region. What's interesting is that Braywick's entire wine list features wines from Lailey Vineyard's. It's great to see the restaurant promoting local wines! The restaurant also does BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine), and while we initially contemplated the idea, we thought that the $15 uncorking fee was not worth it in the end. Plus the Gamay was really nice! It has a gorgeous colour for a Rose too!

Since we are huge foodies, we decided we would just share the whole meal the entire night. We asked our waiter to recommend some appetizers to us, and he said their most popular appetizers were the Sweet Potato Sticks and the Phyllo-Wrapped Brie served with a mixed berry compote and focaccia rusks. Honestly, there was nothing particularly special about the appetizers, just fancy sweet potato fries and baked cheese that I could easily make myself. The sweet potato sticks were served with a flavoured mayo, which Dana believes is a roasted red pepper mayo. Since she rules at guessing at sauces and dips, we didn't question her authority, hehe.

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It was the entrees that were the standout of the evening. Our waiter (who was absolutely fabulous!) was nice enough to bring out three separate plates for us so that we could share the three entrees. They all looked so fantastic and smelled mouth-wateringly delicious as they arrived at our table. Dana ordered the Seafood Primavera Linguine with salmon, prawns, and scallops in a blush sauce, while I ordered the Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with an apple and jalapeno slaw. Vince went for the special of the evening, Rack of Lamb with White Truffle Demi-Glaze, and a Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Risotto (you should have seen our faces when the waiter was describing it earlier in the evening). All the dishes were delightful in their own ways. I loved the addition of dill to the linguine; dill is a classic pairing with seafood, so to have that tossed in with the pasta and sauce added complexity and depth to the flavours of the dish. The pork tenderloin was cooked perfectly, but I absolutely loved the slaw that came with it. The sweetness and tartness of the apples with the slight kick from the jalapenos was a perfect balance. And the lamb...the lamb was lovely! Perfectly cooked to a medium-rare, and the white truffle demi-glaze was rich but not overpowering, giving it a really nice earthy flavour. The risotto was also a hit amongst us, with the earthiness of the mushrooms contrasting nicely with the sweetness of the roasted garlic.

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By the end of the evening, we were stuffed, and literally arguing over who should finish that last rack of lamb sitting on the plate. We didn't try their desserts, unfortunately, since we decided to go to a jazz bar a few blocks away for some coffee, desserts, live music and dancing. And while the appetizers didn't particularly excite me at first, the entrees and the great service definitely made up for it. It was also nice that the chef came out to ask how we were enjoying our meal, which is always great to see. Our server was also very pleasant, offering his suggestions and reassurring us that no, we weren't being obnoxious patrons with our conversations and laughter.

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The one thing that would have made this evening perfect was if Kait was there with us, who unfortunately could not join us. So not the complete Fab Four, but she was there in spirit. It's hard to imagine a whole year with the three of them, but time will fly, and before I know it, we'll be together once again, enjoying great food together.

Name: The Braywick Bistro
Address: 224 Dundas Street, London, ON
Cuisine: Continental/Fusion
Price Range: Dinner $18-30 (entrée)
Accessible: Yes (but not washrooms)

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