Lunch at JK Gardiner - review
I had lunch at Jamie Kennedy's spot on the third floor of the Gardiner Museum on Friday. Party of 2, managed to get a reservation the day before for 2pm. Most tables were busy in the street-side half of the resto, and about half of the other side. Not too busy, but definitely hopping - it took us a while to get water, etc, but otherwise the service was courteous and quick.
The menu isn't huge, and is a nice mix of salads, app-stye seafood stuff, and bigger mains like burgers and sandwiches. All the items have a paired wine which can be ordered by the 3 oz, 6 oz, 1/2 litre and bottle. Prices range from $8 for a small soup or salad to $18 for a full lamb chop or seafood dish. The room is lovely at mid-day, with a nice view, lots of light, and simple tables nicely spaced out so one doesn't feel crowded cafeteria style. Plus, it has pretty much the fanciest bathrooms I've seen since Boiler House.
The food! The spread that come with the artisan bread, to start, is divine - cumin spiced and chickpea based I think. My friend and I split the beet salad with mustard green that very tart and lovely. My friend had the smoked salmon, which really was a app sized portion. She said it was nice though. I had the signature hopper dish, which they describe as a mild Sri Lankan curry, with the halibut filet. It comes with a dosa/injera-like bread lining the bowl, then a veggie curry on top, then the halibut on top, also treated in the curry sauce, and it came with a platter of haka-style condiments to sprinkle on top (ala Saravanaa Bhavan). Stunning, stunning, stunning. Such complexity of flavour, paired perfectly with a Malivoire Gewurtz.
I can't say enough about the overall experience and the quality of the food. I really appreciate the attention to Ontario wines, in particular. All told, came to $70 with tax and tip for one salad, two 3oz glasses of wine, the smoked salmon dish and the hopper. For a lovely lunch in mid-town, well worth it!