Jamie Kennedy's New Restaurant
Has anyone been to Jamie Kennedy's new place on Church? Just read about it this morning in the Globe, sounds interesting. Any comments?
I was there on December 22nd at lunch. Lucked out on getting in as it was full. We ended up getting seats at the bar. They had a no-show.
I will try to give an unbiased opinion but it will be hard as I love Jamie Kennedy.
The restaurant has two bars and some seating at the front and back of the room. We were at the bar that had the wine racks. The other bar is around the kitchen and you get a chance to see Mr. Kennedy do his stuff.
Menu is very similar to JK Rom in that small portions are the flavour. They seem to have daily menus but I asked and he says it changes about three times during the day. If they run out, they improvise with something else as the market is a stone's throw away.
We shared the frites and the cheese tray. They had run out of the lamb poutine so we settled (very nicely) for the frites with the lemon mayo. The cheese tray was amazing. 6 different types of cheese ranging from an 8 year cheddar to a blue cheese to goat's, etc. Memory is hazy now but it was delish. I had the salmon, my friends had a salad and the soup.
It was very good.
For dessert, we had the sticky toffee pudding (to die for) and the chocolate anglaise which was also quite delightful.
They have suggested wines to match the meals and I did have a couple of glasses.
If I had to be critical, it would have been of the service. Slow. We got there at 12:30ish and were not out until close to 3. I was not in a hurry so I was pretty relaxed about it. And it could have just been the season and it was very busy. I have had the same problem recently in two other restaurants.....Perigee and Starfish. So it could just be that time of the year.
Highly recommended. And reasonable, price wise.
Ok It's not fair to call it a restaurant - none of the dishes are main course size - it's a wine bar and should be considered as such.
Because it's not a 'real' restaurant, it's surprisingly easy to get in at 'meal times'. For example, last Saturday it was turn away business at 6:30 but vacant tables at 8:30 - 9:30.
Everything is cooked after you order (and JK is there himself) so the food is good-excellent (depending on choice). We had all the items mentioned by Kimmy (except the salmon which wasn't listed), and ordered a second cheese plate - the camembert washed in Calvados was my favourite. Also had the pate which didn't come with enough toast - but we just ordered more (there's something about ordering toast to be made by Jamie Kennedy that is a bit surreal).
Because of their opening success - packed since Day 1, the wine list now has great holes, which presumably will be replaced in the New Year. This doesn't affect wines by the glass as they can just change those, but the wine list is 'optimistic' - we ended up checking the physical inventory, rather than the list, as it was much faster than having the server try and find stuff that no longer existed. And when we ordered a second bottle of one that did exist, we had consumed the last bottle. So some organizational problems around the edge (we even found a bottle there which was not on the list). There were some 'theoretical' excellent buys on the list - especially the older wines, but most of those were gone. In particular the Australian list was virtually empty - only 1 bottle remained (86 Grange Hermitage at $650 if I remember accurately - which is a fair price in Toronto).
But, the critical point - we'll be back - but not pre-show or post-show - definitely during-show.
My partner and I dined at Jamie's 3 days after it's official opening. The master chef was not there. We found the staff knowledgeable, informative, efficient and friendly. We went before the theatre and had no trouble getting a table. We had ample time to enjoy the delicious food. We shared four dishes and two desserts, all of which were delicious. As well it was easy, with half glasses of wine, to enjoy more than one vintage. The prices were reasonable, the service excellent and the conversations with those cooking and those serving enjoyable. We strongly recommend this restaurant to people who love good and interesting food.