It’s Summerlicious time once again (ends July 24th) and I realized that I didn’t share my experience from winterlicious! Since we haven’t done a resto review in a while, this is the perfect opportunity.
If you’re not familiar with summerlicious and winterlicious, here’s the synopsis: a plethora of restaurants around the city offer popular items on a 3-course prix fixe menu, and you can choose between lunch and/or dinner. The hardest part is always trying to settle on a restaurant; so many to choose from in so little time! My friend Sid and I decided to try out Oliver & Bonacini at Bayview Village.
Although this O&B location is situated inside a mall, it was quite expansive once you stepped inside. There was also seating outside the restaurant (inside the mall). It had an open layout with a large kitchen at the back. The lighting was dim; great for dinnertime and since it was winterlicious when we attended, it was packed!
Though they were very busy with every table full, the staff managed to remain attentive and polite. We had a reservation and only had to wait a few minutes before being seated. Once we were seated, our server appeared almost immediately to take our drink orders. Once our food orders were placed, the wait wasn’t too long before a server brought us our appetizers. Any one of the servers tended to you, so our glasses of water were replenished before we could even notice that we were running low and empty plates were cleared by the end of the last bite.
Their winterlicious dinner was $25.
My friend and I both had the Chickpea & Pea Fritter (celeriac remoulade, Cajun spice). Because of the spice there was definitely a nice kick to it, but it only added how flavourful the fritter was. It reminded us of pakora and was quite delightful. When I first saw that there were peas in it, I wasn’t too sure how I’d feel about that, but I’m happy to say that it worked well in this dish along with the remoulade. The chunks of chick pea and peas made this a fun app!
My friend had the Smothered Pork Loin (stone-ground grits, pearl onions, collard greens, honey mustard) and loved it. She said it was like cutting through butter and almost melted on her tongue. For her, it was absolutely delicious. I don’t eat pork, otherwise I would have tried it!
I had the Fried Chicken & Cornbread – jalapeño white gravy, slaw, stewed mustard greens – and can I just SAY that this was THE best cornbread that I’d had in a very long time! I wished there was more than the one slice! The fried chicken as always was a nice pairing with the bread. The gravy and slaw were just okay, but the meal wasn’t about them anyway. The greens were also quite delicious, but let’s face it – I ate them because they were in the way of that cornbread!
My friend had the Pumpkin & Buttermilk Cake (nutmeg, clotted cream) and was underwhelmed by it. She said there wasn’t “anything special” about it and was like regular cake. She didn’t mind it and finished it, but when I asked if she’d order it again, she said no. She even she’d gotten the same dessert as me as she enjoyed it more.
Key Lime Pudding (graham cracker, ginger) and would highly recommend this dessert if you go to this restaurant. It was served in a cup topped with a gingery graham cracker and I really felt like I was eating key lime pie (one of my all-time favourite desserts). The pudding was just the right amount of tart and wasn’t sweet (which I like) and the tart taste fused well with the ginger flavour.
We enjoyed our experience at O&B – the service was prompt and food tasted fresh. Though it was packed, it didn’t take away from our experience. We looked at the regular menu and the price were a touch on the high side, which may explain why it had such a crowd for winterlicious. Oliver & Bonacini is located at 2901 Bayview Ave (& Sheppard) 416-590-1300.
Well, it’s time to try out a new restaurant before summerlicious ends!