Thursday, February 6, 2014

FOOD: Bannock - Winterlicious 2014

Bannock is the Oliver & Bonacini owned restaurant whose offerings are dubbed "Canadian Comfort Food". It's located at the corner Queen St. and Bay St. in Toronto, right beside the Bay. My boyfriend and I made the trek downtown for Winterlicious 2014 and decided on something close to the Eaton's Centre - presumably for the purposes of shopping afterwards - that boy is a shopaholic. 

Winterlicious is basically a Toronto food fest with meal deals (Lunches for $15, 20, 25; Dinners for  $25, 35, 45) and restaurant options at more than 200+ eateries. 

In two words, I'd describe Bannock as... casual and rustic. It's part cafe/coffee shop/restaurant which adds to the casual dining atmosphere. Here's what we ate: 

Black Barley & Piccalilli Salad (Vegetarian and Local) - Ontario Vegetables, Sugar Bee Hummus, Rutabaga, Dukkah Spice. Best. Salad. Ever. I'm a huge fan of the earthiness of beets. Alongside the tartness of the pickled broccoli with dukkah spice (similar to a curry) and the black barley, I might have to try and make this myself. An stellar start to the meal. 

Habitant Split Pea Soup - Sherry, Thyme, Smoked Ham Hock. There's not really much to say here. The soup was pretty ordinary. It had some decent "smoked" flavour from the ham hock. 

We both ordered the Pig & Chips - Pressed Ontario Pork Shoulder, Roast Garlic Fries, Mustard Greens Kimchi for the main. It ain't all that glamorous but it was pretty indulgent. I found the fries to be a little overdone and the pork shoulder needed a touch more sauce but the flavours were all there. The Kimchi Mustard Greens added the right amount of acidity to counter all the oil from the fries and pork shoulder... though I wish there was more. 

Ices - Daily Selection - Vanilla & Raspberry. This is my boyfriends dessert. I was going to say it's plain old plain old when he ordered it but I was taking some huge scoops from his bowl it was so yummy. 

Sticky Bannoffee Cake - Screech Caramel, Banana, Creme Fraiche. Essentially, this is banana bread with creme fraiche on top. I love herbs in desserts I think there was rosemary sprinkled on the top, which added a little somethin somethin. 

Other than the food, I loved the rustic yet modern decor. The waiter was pretty nice, but he seemed very scripted (we heard him saying exactly the same things to the table behind us). A few more snaps from the meal... 

Here's Ambrose (aka boyfriend). Note the moose decor in the background.

Note the manikins of the Bay in the background. Loving the decor and the atmosphere. 

I'm a huge fan of the lighting fixture. I need one of those when I get my own place. 

Overall, the food was good but not amazing. Definitely worth the $15, though I wouldn't dine at Bannock if it wasn't Winterlicious... I guess that's the point! I especially loved the Black Barley and Piccalilli Salad - need to learn how to make it for myself. Next week, we're going to Pangaea (at Bay & Bloor), so stay tuned for more food photos. 

Bannock on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: My boyfriend paid for this meal... 

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