Sunday, 13 July 2014

Toronto Summerlicious: Bent

I was excited to try one of Master Chef Susur Lee's restaurants in Toronto for this year's Summerlicious. I had high hopes on the meal to come.

The interior of the restaurant was well-lit. It had huge windows on one side which brought all the natural light in. The restaurant had a patio seating, which was packed with sun-loving Torontonians. I loved the simplicity yet quirkiness of the decor. White ceramic brick-shaped tiles adorned the walls, beautifully contrasted by the rustic wooden floor and wooden tables.

A few minutes after settling in, our server showed up. He had great knowledge about the menu and suggested additional house specialties, should we find the Summerlicious meal insufficient. We started off with Fried Jerk Chicken with a side of jicama salad. This was clearly a twist to the classic fried chicken and coleslaw pairing. It was delicious! The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was enveloped in a wonderfully spiced chili lime glaze. I am guessing the chicken was twice cooked as there were no traces of blood near the bone and the meat was close to falling apart.

The next appetizer was the Cajun Shrimp and Vegetable Fritter. The fritter was perfectly cooked, no oily aftertaste whatsoever. The delicate batter lightly enrobed the succulent shrimp and vegetables. The tomatillo salsa with avocado provided the perfect amount of heat. The corn salsa was made up of smoky charred corn kernels which enhanced the dish further. 

The first main course we tried was a duo of beef, Asian Marinated Striploin Steak and Braised Beef Agnolotti. The striploin was delicious and the pan sauce as light and tasty with the mustard emulsion providing the perfect touch of heat. The braised beef inside the agnolotti was very tasty. I just wished the agnolotti was a little crispier to provide more of a play of textures. But the dish was a hands-down favorite and my husband and I literally fought for the last piece of meat and secretly hoped another slice would miraculously pop up.

The other main course we tried was the Caribbean Pan-Roasted Salmon with a mango ginger sauce. I loved how the salmon was delicately cooked! The sauce wasn't one of my favorites and wished it had a tad less curry flavor. The spiced plantain would've been better crispy as well, instead of being incorporated into the sauce as unrecognizable chunks.

Finally, they served a trio of desserts(which was awesome instead of having to choose just one!). The first of the trio was a Banana and Jackfruit Spring Roll with a caramel rum sauce. It reminded me of a favorite Filipino dessert called turon except that this one had the sauce on the side while turon is dusted with brown sugar and fried until the melted sugar melds perfectly with the crispy wrapper. The next dessert was the Mango Panna Cotta. The texture was creamy with the right amount of sweetness but the pineapple chunks on top was more of a distraction than a complement for me. The last dessert was the Coconut Chocolate Mousse with French Golden Licorice Meringue. It was a one-bite dessert and was divine. 

As a bonus, we were able to get a glimpse of the Master Chef himself, Susur Lee!

Overall, my husband and I both enjoyed this meal very much! It was a great summerlicious deal!

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