Wednesday, April 2, 2014

la bonne table.

Graduation celebrations at La Bonne Table! I've been eyeing this place for almost a year now but since it's relatively expensive (for me) I've never been.  Opposite to the fire station on Wakefield Street, it's hard to spot as you drive by since it's not particularly flashy.  It's former life as a carpet/tapestry salehouse can be seen only by the high stone ceilings and the big carpets hanging in the foyer but other than that it has been Cinderella'd into a romantic, candle-lit modern day restaurant.

Although it's touted as Korean-French fusion, it was more like a mix of French, Italian and Australian with two Korean choices (both with kimchi).  Ordering took some time since we decided to get a few small plates to start off and three mains to share between four.  As for drinks, there is a long list of wines to choose from but not too many choices for the non-alcoholics.

The meal started off with complimentary bread and dippings.  Yay! Who doesn't love free bread?

Double Baked 3-Cheese Souffle with Apple Salad & Walnuts: $19.00
Perfectly risen with a slightly burnt crust (the photo makes it look darker than it was), the souffle was incredibly soft and moist.  However, even though it said '3-cheese', the blue cheese came out the strongest and pretty much overpowered the rest.  Since I don't mind blue cheese I enjoyed my small portion nonetheless, but another didn't finish theirs and gave the rest to me.  

Quail with bean puree, apple infused apple & sweet potato crisp: $19.00
This dish, although so excruciatingly pretty to look at, was flat and completely lacking in flavour.  The quail didn't taste like it was marinated at all and apple infused apple? What is that?  The best, although by no means great, part were the sweet potato crisps which were crunchy and had some flavour.  Other than that it was a complete waste of a dish and, thankfully, not too much stomach space.

Kingfish Ceviche, Compressed Watermelon, Mango & Coriander: $21.00
Light, simple and easy to prepare, this would be the perfect summer entree.   The textures of each ingredient, red onion and fresh tomato included, worked incredibly well together and each mouthful was like a surprise. The tumbler is kept cool with ice pieces surrounding the bottom of the dish, a clever idea, but I didn't see the need for the wilted lettuce to keep it company.

Kimchi Risotto with bacon, sofrito & creme fraiche: $26.00
This was essentially soggy kimchi fried rice with sour cream.  The risotto was not that spectacular.  I understand that arborio rice is supposed to be slightly chewy, it doesn't explain why it was kind of hard and grainy.  I didn't really see, or taste, much bacon or kimchi - it had probably either melted into the sauce already or was smothered by the creme fraiche.

Chicken Supreme, Pearl Barley, Cavolo Nero, Fried Gnocchi & Veloute Foam: $34.00
The presentation of this dish confused me.  Am I supposed to find a block of chicken attractive? Or was I supposed to be drawn away from the chicken brick by the mountain of barley on which it sits? Although the chicken was incredibly soft and tender, the fried gnocchi soft and pillowy, and the pearl barley pleasantly chewy the dish also fell in the taste department.  There didn't seem to be much flavour in anything, and if the veloute foam was supposed to hold it together, it failed.

Lamb Loin, with Lentils, Cauliflower Puree & Cherry Jus: $38.00
For all the faults of the chicken 'supreme', the lamb made up for it.  Three pieces of lightly crusted, miso-marinated lamb which were blushing on the inside and ever so tender, all four of us declared it the best dish of the night.  The cauliflower puree was the next best thing with it's creamy and smooth texture.  Unfortunately the lentils were, like the barley, a bit superfluous and didn't really connect with the rest of the dish.

Honestly, I don't think I'm coming back anytime soon.  Or ever, really.  Serving sizes, both 'small' and 'main', were pitiful compared to the price and it's not like the taste was there to make up for it in some cases.  All of us were still hungry by the time we finished our meal and I know that two-minute noodles were on the minds of everyone.

Service was polite and attentive throughout the night and the food was spaced out pretty well, although the kimchi risotto came almost 45 minutes before the other two mains came out.

La Bonne Table on Urbanspoon

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