Monday, 9 July 2012

Return to Deseo... con los Amigos

A drink from Deseo Bistro: Caipirinha, a Brazilian cane-liquor-based drink.
I had another opportunity to dine out in Winnipeg with friends this Canada Day long weekend, and since none of them had tried Deseo yet, I suggested we give that place go.  I certainly didn't mind returning there after my delightful first experience, though apparently a reservation wasn't as necessary this time, likely due to people being away for the long weekend.

Octopus: Diver caught pan fried octopus, chorizo, asparagus, fingerling potato, and pickled fennel.
The five of us agreed to start our dinner with four Small Plates/tapas as appetizers.  The first dish to arrive was the Octopus.  The octopus was pan-fried and had a slightly rougher texture than octopus I've had in Chinese and Japanese restaurants, playfully chafing my tongue.  The warm octopus and asparagus also was a nice contrast in colour, temperature and texture with the potato "salad" in which the potatoes were served more al dente than what I've usually encountered.
Bean Fritter: Four-bean blend fritter, fresh herbs, salsa verde, spicy aioli, and lime.
Next to arrive was another delightful morsel, the Bean Fritters.  Apparently normally served in fours, the chef treated us with five fritters so all of us got to try one for ourselves; now that's sharp, not to mention good, service!  The fritters were lightly crispy and crumbled in the mouth right after a bite, allowing that salsa verde and spicy aioli to mingle and give a gentle kick.
Olives: Baked olives, orange, and herbs.
One of my friends insisted that dinner just wasn't the same without olives, so we ordered some.  One pleasant surprise was that they were served warm, baked in fact.  Served with a subtle hint of orange and a sprinkle of herbs, the olives were very appetite-inducing.
Patatas Bravas: Duck fat fried fingerling potatoes with spicy aioli.
The last tapas dish to arrive was Patatas Bravas.  Heck with the calorie count, we definitely enjoyed these!  The potatoes, cut into big wedges, were fried in flavourful duck fat and topped with a nice spicy aioli.  I would perhaps advise against having this if dining alone considering these potatoes were fried in duck fat (unless you have this for lunch instead of just plain fries or poutine), but this is definitely a dish worth having when dining with a group.
One of Deseo's specials of the day: Duck Schnitzel with mustard aioli.
After we were satiated with our starters, our main courses arrived.  I opted for one of the specials of the evening, Duck Schnitzel.  Who knew that duck was a more-than-suitable culinary substitute for pork?  (Another case in point: duck prosciutto.)  The duck schnitzel was lightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, and the grain mustard aioli provided a nice complementary flavour to the schnitzel.
Mac and Cheese: smoked Spanish paprika sauce, manchego cheese, and chorizo crumble.
One of my friends opted for the main course I had last time, the Nagano Pork Belly, and she absolutely enjoyed that dish.  Another main course of note was the Mac and Cheese with smoked Spanish paprika sauce, manchego cheese, and chorizo crumble.

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