Monki and Downtown Food YYC
A few friends and I went to downtownfood on Saturday night, and I agree with johnjohnson that its prices seem high for what if offers. We ordered the chef's tasting menu ($65/head) for a six-course tasting menu. Our server was very friendly but the friendliness quickly turned to apology for a couple of serious lapses by the kitchen: I like a leisurely dinner but there were quite long waits between courses (the dinner, all told, too over 3.5 hours long; I think it was less because they wanted us to have a leisurely meal and more because they were slammed even though the restaurant was only a third full). The waitress confessed to us that she was also trying to do some prep in the kitchen. Also, even though I had told the waitress that I didn't eat fish (although I do eat shellfish), one of our tasting menu courses was tuna, for which she apologized profusely but didn't offer to take back. I was hoping that we would get different things for our tasting menus so we could sample more of the menu, but the four of us all got the same courses, with the exception of the main dish, which we could specify. I had ordered the scallops as my main, and right before it was a lobster soup with. . .scallops.
Some of the food had lovely, subtle flavors (the lobster soup with its foreshadowing of scallops was particularly good), but I also felt that appearance might be more valued than taste: many of the dishes featured beautiful, expensive, tasteless edible flowers. Not a terrible meal by any means, but I left feeling dissatisfied and thinking about how much it had cost.
I had a late breakfast with my girlfriend last week at Monki. It's nice bright little spot with a good atmosphere and the service was friendly. We ordered a couple of coffees which I thought were quite good, followed by a sausage and pepper frittata with burrata and a meatball panini sandwich.
The panini was awesome. Very flavourful and cheesy with a perfectly crisp exterior. It came with a nice salad that was dressed with a sweet vinaigrette. Top marks for this one.
The frittata was so-so. The house made "Monki sausage" is what sold me on it......and it was good, although nothing spectacular. The frittata came in a nice little iron skillet but it was only about 2cm thick and was over done on the bottom while undercooked on top. The cooked burrata just turned into a rubbery little cheese ball in the middle. It totally lacked light souffle-ish texture that a good frittata should have. I think the problem is that they started the dish on the burner and simply put the skillet in the oven as opposed to under a broiler or salamander which results in a much puffier and evenly cooked dish. From my own experience this works much better when making a single serving frittata. An easy fix but I didn't really think my advice would be appreciated at the time haha.
What I really appreciated was that they had a proper selection of north american and Mexican hot sauces. I can't stand it when the only sauce a breakfast joint carries is original Tobasco.
Overall, a solid meal and I'll certainly return. I'll avoid the frittata but there were plenty of other great looking dishes on the menu that I'd be happy to try.
I tried Downtownfood (an odd name and difficult to Google) this week. It’s a really nice space. The service was great. The food is presented beautifully. I felt the portions were a little small for what you paid.
This is what we tried:
Broxburn tomato salad – basically sliced tomatoes – fresh and nice but not an exciting dish at all. I thought the $14 price tag was outrageous.
Summer Watermelon salad – this was basically a watermelon cube wrapped in a cucumber strip. For $10 I was expecting something a little more spectacular
Pork Cakes with Kimchee - These were small but so delicious. They were crispy and succulent made from rendered down tails and other pork meat. A must try.
Crispy Duck Leg – This was so good! It’s confit style, so it was a braised meat with a crispy skin, served on a bed of cabbage and mushrooms. I wasn’t crazy about the cabbage part but the meat was wonderful.
Carbonara pasta – This was the best thing we had there. The pappardelle pasta was made fresh and the bacon is house made. I loved this dish.
Lemon Tart – I would consider this more of a lemon meringue pie. It was very very tart, with very little coulis. My friend enjoyed it but I found it too sour. The sugar coated lemon rind was a nice touch though.
Although the salads didn’t impress me because of the value, overall all I enjoyed it very much. I think I will definitely be back.