259 Host - Anyone been?
Just wondering whether anyone has been to The Host's new restaurant 259 Host on Wellington Street? The menu looks different from my last visit to one of the Host restaurants.
I'm going there for dinner this Friday and thought I'd check if anyone has been...any comments would be welcome!
259 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA
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The food was quite good in my opinion - their focus is on creative presentation and apparently everything they use is fresh, and all spices are handground, according to our waiter, nothing comes from a can.
For appetizers we ordered the paneer and brie cheese croquettes, and the samosa sampler. Nicely presented, the cheese balls were quite unique and were an interesting combination of cheeses. The samosa I had (there were four different types) was filled with something similar to guacamole, and was interesting, very unusual take on a samosa and I can't say it was my favourite thing of the night...some of the other combinations looked better but I only tried one from the platter.
For mains, we ordered the butter chicken, the rajasthani beef tenderloin, the chicken xacutti and the paneer cheese tikka. The butter chicken was really good and the chicken perfectly cooked. The beef was very tender and again nicely presented. My favourite was the chicken xacutti which we were told contained 25 handground spices - it had a really nice flavour and you could really taste the different elements. The panir was okay, and probably my least favourite of the dishes we tried. Their naans were very good as well and were ordered separately. The serving sizes were okay for us (a group of 4 females) and we split everything and were pretty full by the end of the meal. Each dish had about 4 decent size pieces or two large chunks of protein, and we were all satisfied, and agreed that next time we'd probably go with 3 mains instead of 4 and maybe just one appetizer to share.
The best part of the meal had to be the dessert - I was dying to try quite a few of the interesting creations described to us but we ordered two of the "paan kulfis". Paan is sort of a breath freshener wrapped in a betel leaf, if you aren't familar with it, so we were intrigued as to how this would translate into kulfi. Fortunately it wasn't a literal translation! The dessert came with two "pellets" of kulfi, a little bigger than a toonie, they were topped with a sweet sauce which is very reminiscent of one of the fillings of a paan - I can't describe the flavour but if you've ever tried paan, its very familiar. So when you ate the kulfi pellet, you got all the flavours of a paan without any of the leaves or nuts or fennel seeds.
Also on the same dessert plate was a little saucer of something that tasted like melted kulfi, I think you were supposed to drizzle it on the other components of the dessert. And lastly, there was a little samosa filled with carrot halwa (a fudge-y type of dessert). All in all, the dessert was definitely very unique and something I would go back for. They also have a gulab jamun dessert stuffed with dark chocolate that I'd love to try next time, just because I've never imagined the two flavours together and the dessert menu really highlights the creativity of this place.
Service was prompt and since we went when they were fairly new, we were willing to forgive a few minor mishaps as the staff were clearly still learning.
Now for the major complaint I have with this place...
After a good meal, we asked if we could see the private dining area, as we were thinking it'd be a nice place to have a birthday dinner. The manager came over and immediately started complimenting our "beautiful" group of ladies. He asked if we had husbands and insisted we sit down with him. We were all very uncomfortable and I finally told him we were in a rush and wanted to see the room. As he took us on a tour, he continued his barrage of offensive and inappropriate comments, and we didn't say anything because I think we were just shocked. Afterwards we thought of all kinds of responses, but I've never met anyone so unprofessional in my life. I'd have loved to go back to 259 Host but the manager's behavious was outrageous and bordering on sexual harassment.
I was the The Host Yorkville last night and mentioned this to one of the employees and he said that that sort of behaviour was unacceptable and took down my information. The manager called me yesterday, and I just got a message from the owner asking to speak to me in regards to our experience, so I'm optimistic that someone will follow up on this. The sole reason I'm hesitant to go back to 259 Host is the manager, but hopefully that will be addressd after I speak to the owner. Anyways, that's my report, hope that helps!