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Mildred's Temple Kitchen - What a Disappointment

After much anticipation, a group of us went for dinner last Friday at MTK. Must say, the vibe of the restaurant is great - industrial feel, lots of concrete, fantastic open kitchen. With positive memories of Mildred Pierce in our minds, we eagerly anticipated our meal.

The food, however, left 3 of the 6 of us saying we won't be back.

The reality is that there is just no good reason to ever have a bad meal in Toronto, and 3 of us left feeling that's exactly what we'd had, at not insignificant cost.

The fois gras app was fabulous - the one saving grace. And the three of us who had either the beef or the curried cauliflower, were generally happy with their meals (we all agreed the cauliflower was the best dish going), but the three who had the Pig Shin (at $28) or the Roast Hubbard Squash (at $17) were incredibly disappointed.

The shin was small, dried (hard to understand, since it was braised - can only assume it sat under the heat lamp too long), and everything - I mean *everything* on the plate - was cloyingly sweet. There was no variation in flavours on the plate at all.

The roasted squash dish was likewise without any variation in flavour, and also way oversweet (yes, I get that roasted squash is sweet, which is why it makes sense to pair it with contrasting or complementary flavours - not more sweet).

While the server made all the right 'we're very sorry' noises (after attempting to educate me that the pork was sweet because it was braised in cider - thanks for that), apart from apologies there were no actual attempts to do anything to make good on a bad dining experience.

All in all, a significant disappointment. As I said above, there is no reason to have a bad meal in Toronto, and no reason to pay $28 for a cheap cut of meat done badly (this, from someone who revels in a cheap cut of meat done in a way that's fabulous!).

We won't be back.

Mildred's Temple Kitchen
85 Hanna Avenue, Toronto, ON M6K 3S3, CA

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  1. we had a similar experience last year. desperately wanted to love this place (we loved mildred pierce).....we were so disappointed with the food that we have never returned

    1 Reply
    1. re: todc1996

      Ditto. Went last year not long after they opened - loved the space, wanted to love the food, totally underwhelmed, haven't been back.

    2. While it can't replace a dining out experience, their cookbook seems to contain authentic recipes from the "old" Mildred Pierce. So you can't get the old - or new - ambiance, but you can replicate much of what they used to serve.

      1. Totally agree with this review. And with peppermint pate's comment about the space - definitely the best part about the experience. Went once, super excited, left super disappointed. Posted about it, I believe.

        1. DITTO
          Went for Valentines and it was really very disappointing. The space has a typical industrial feel, maybe a little too open and cold, but certainly well designed if that is your thing. The food and the service were terrible! Really. Had a John Mayer concert to attend, opted for the meal-for-two special thinking we'd be pressed for time. The entire meal (except for the dessert we had to remind the server we were entitled to) arrived at the same time. Bruschetta, salad, and spaghetti - bam! Bruschetta was awful (bland and oily). Seafood salad was fine, but the size of a martini glass. Over-salted water made the pasta dish a mess. Asked for some parmesan cheese to see if that might improve things and the server arrived with this crazy hand-held file that sprayed cheese all over the table, and into my wine (pathetic wine list btw).. Won't return!

          1 Reply
          1. re: astaylor

            THe place has gone to crap, crap, crap. Had dinner there a couple of months ago, and didn't finish most of what they brought. Brunch is still good, but far from jammed the way it was at the old place. They're on my deathwatch list.

          2. Just went for Mother's day brunch (first time) and have to say, I'm glad it was brunch and not dinner. Surprisingly it wasn't a zoo as I imagined but though we had reservations, we still waited 45 minutes for our table.

            Food was "okay" but the services was atrocious. We went with kids and one didn't get his drink til his meal was finished though the waitress was asked 3 times. Pancakes were ordered with the toppings on the side and again the sides didn't show up til the pancakes were almost done and we had to ask a couple times for maple syrup. Who doesn't bring maple syrup to the table when pancakes are ordered??

            Apologies were made for us being patient but I definitely won't be back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotsauce28

              As a faithful Milred Pearce goer for about 15 years, I tried MTK for brunch shortly after it opened. The prices seemed okay, but the service was not great and I felt like I was in a cafeteria. So, I decided to go for dinner. Even though it was night and the room was lit very differently, it didn't feel much different. The room is just way to big and it doesn't feel intimate at all except maybe if you are sitting at that big round table way at the back with the curved semi-circle wall behind it. Also, I was not happy with the service or the food. I desperately want to the like the new place as I have such great memories of Mildred Pearce and know that the operators are very seasoned and can deliver. But, they simply aren't in MTK.

              I am not sure why they closed the old place but it seemed the perfect combination of good food, ambience and service and had that 'undiscovered' feel to it. Although packed most of the time, most of the people I took there over the years had never been there before. I sure hope the capital investment that was made in the new resto gets rewarded but it sure won't unless things change.

            2. all of these replies and no one has complained about the air-canada announcements in the washrooms yet? i found them so creepy and annoying... also the little sign with instructions on what to do with the toilet (which it seemed people ignored)

              we shared a wee app (arancini) which was unexciting, then had apps which were really tasty (grilled peach with arugula and prosciutto - can't mess that up - and a very nice trout) and the gnudi which were really yummy (served with fried parsley that was crisp and lovely). there was a long awkward pause between apps and gnudi though - should not have happened since we ordered at the same time.

              we sat outside so did not have the cafeteria feeling but when i went in to use the creepy loo - holy refrigeration! there was no one there (literally, there were maybe two other tables when we started our dinner and none when we finished - but it was a tuesday) and they were keeping the temperature at about 5 degrees.

              1. Have not been to dinner, but my brunch there some months ago was actually one of the better brunches I have had in this city. service was bad enough for me not to have returned yet though

                1. I am wondering if anyone has been there lately and if the food and experience has improved at all. I went to the old Mildren Pearce for 15 years and was almost never disappointed.

                  Also, I am wondering because Groupon had a 50% off deal for up to $60 worth of food and drinks and restaurants don't do that unless they really need the traffic.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Flexitarian

                    I was there for brunch, for my birthday no less!, around a month ago and all of us had a wonderful time.

                    The food, service, and overall experience were all very good indeed... and it was pretty damn busy.

                    I think that they are doing good business there, as it was quite busy when I popped in for a lunch meeting a couple of weeks back.

                    1. re: Flexitarian

                      We were there last Saturday and sat at the bar for an early dinner.

                      We had the octopus appetizer in spicy tomato sauce, which was really great... fat bits of seafood and two generous pieces of nicely toasted bread. Mr. Rabbit had the burger, which was perfectly respectable. I had the steak, which comes with a baked potato and bbq sauce - again satisfying and nicely done. These are admittedly unimaginative choices, but we were having a back-to-basics night. We finished with the apple cake, which was really nicely done with ice cream and a goat's milk dulce de leche.

                      The cocktail list is interesting and nicely executed, the space is pleasant, and our service was very good. I was pleased (not blown away, but perfectly satisfied). After our evening I also considered the Groupon coupon but we have a new baby so we are having trouble getting out and about these days and I don't want it to go to waste.

                    2. It's still disappointing. We were there for brunch this past weekend; the service is abysmal. We waited at the unstaffed counter for 5 min, then wandered in to the main room. There were 5 servers/bartenders at the bar, no one made eye contact with us or even smiled at us. We had to grab someone's attention and it was almost unwillingly that we were seated.

                      The banquettes (light coloured fabric) are filthy and stained. We asked to be moved to another table with hard chairs as all of us in our party were worried about what would get transferred to the seats of our pants.

                      Really long waits to get the server's attention... to get a drink, to have him take our order, to bring it, etc. No apologies for the delays. The food was ok, but nothing spectacular, given the high prices. An order of green eggs and ham was thin sliced, fatty ham, mixed salad without any dressing, one lone potato slice (?) and overcooked (steamed I think) eggs with pureed spinach. The blueberry pancakes were good, but the serving was small. Huevos rancheros - again, tasty, but a very small portion. No bread or garnish of any sort. We ended up going elsewhere afterwards for a snack and we are not big eaters, but honestly, we were famished after that meal!

                      No one thanked us for coming and we when we walked out, we passed the same group of servers who were yakking with each other. Again, no acknowledgement or thank you's.

                      We won't be back either!