Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Toronto Summerlicious: Luma

Luma is one of the more casual restaurants owned by the Oliver and Bonacini group. The restaurant is on the 2nd floor of the TIFF Bell Lightbox building in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District. My husband and I came for lunch and at 11:30 am, we were their first summerlicious customers.

The restaurant decor was modern and sleek. The tables were well-spaced which provided a little more privacy than usual at downtown Toronto restaurants. As a bonus, the chairs were comfortably soft too.

Our server patiently described the Summerlicious menu and told us that we were the first ones to try it! She patiently answered our questions and provided her recommendations when asked. For the first course, we tried the Tossed Octopus Salad with chickpeas, tomato and eggplant puree. The dish was very good and provided a perfect play of textures on the mouth, i.e. a bit chew from the Octopus, crispness from the toasted chickpeas, and creaminess from the eggplant puree. It was spiked just enough with a drizzle of harissa oil.  

The other appetizer dish we tried was the Chilled Soba Noodle Salad with Miso Dressing. We were not fans of this dish. It wasn't interesting enough for us.

For the main course, my husband tried the Slow-Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Salsa Verde. The beef short rib portion was very generous. It was fork-tender but could use more flavor. The sauce that came with it was a saving grace although for me, it didn't taste anything like "salsa verde" as described on the menu. The corn kernels, part of the succotash salad, were not noticeably charred as I had hoped.

The next main dish was the Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken with a Warm Cheddar Biscuit and Three-Cabbage Slaw. The fried chicken was tender on the inside with a perfectly seasoned crispy coating. However, there were traces of blood nearing the bone. Although biscuits are one of my guilty pleasures and I never pass on them, this cheddar biscuit was a tad dense than a perfectly baked biscuit so I only finished half. Instead of a very straightforward rendition of the classic chicken and biscuits, I secretly wished they did a twist on it and came up with a more creative and fun version of the classic. On the bright side, the side of three cabbage slaw was enjoyable. 

For dessert, we had the Chocolate Parfait Sundae with passion fruit cream and mulled berries. The ice cream texture was more icy than creamy. Maybe it was scooped out too early and left in the freezer too long prior to serving. 

To cap our meal, we had the Ontario Stilton with plum compote and spiced oat crumble. It was the perfect combination, with the acidity of the compote toning down the strong and pungent stilton.  

The 3-course meal was a steal for $20. The service was great, and the ambience was delightful. However, in my opinion, some dishes from the summerlicious 2014 menu can be improved with a little bit more thought and creativity put into it.   

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