Sunday, 22 September 2013


Friday, September 20, 2013

If you wander a tad off the beaten Hintonburg/Westboro track, down Holland, you'll find Allium. It's a medium-sized restaurant with modern, clean décor and friendly staff. The servers are most willing to speak in either French or English, and are attentive without being overly so.

The wine list caters to a variety of diners - those who want to pair their dishes by the glass, those who - like us this evening - wanted to share a half litre among girlfriends, or those who are looking for an interesting and well priced selection of bottles. If wine isn't at all what you're into, I highly recommend the cocktails -- specifically the Moscow Mule, which I haven't had properly made (albeit with a twist) since being in the Windy City.

The menu is limited to a few carefully chosen dishes, but does include vegetarian options if that's your thing. For those of us who are adventurous, you'll be tickled to find both an appetizer and main course "blind" option à la Murray Street Café. You can't ask questions, you can't have allergies - but you definitely  won't believe your eyes (get it? blind...) or your mouth.

My only critique here is that the "blind" main was very heavy. I understand that it's autumn and people tend to be looking for a meal leaning more into the comfort food category. However, while my lamb was cooked to perfection, I didn't need meatloaf, gnocchi and fried green tomatoes as side dishes. Maybe one? But not all three... No way I was finishing this plate...

The seared tuna plate was also a generous portion, but was served with a nice piece of cornbread and a relatively light succotash. The steak frites was the best bang for your proverbial buck, where the steak was larger than the serving of frites.

Overall, this chill but chic restaurant deserves your visit. I will return, probably in the spring, to see what they do with their seasonally inspired menu options at that time of year.

Rating: maybe not a diamond, but a Swarovski crystal in the Westboro ruff??


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