Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Harbourfront Lounge East Bay Street

I do love a Wednesday night out. Halfway through the week, with the previous weekend’s shenanigans behind me, I am ready and eager to venture out again. The Harbourfront lounge is also a fan of Wednesdays. On said night, they host a weekly Supper Club; offering a special menu of whatever takes the chef’s fancy. The Juggernaut and I needed little encouragement to go and check it out. Greeted with a rapturous reception, we immediately felt at ease. We took a table I the atmospheric courtyard, with its clay coloured walls sheltered by Sail awning and strings of lightbulbs. A gas fire in the centre lent a welcoming glow. I liked this place so far
Pleasant acoustic guitar playing on the speakers  gave rise to a relaxed bohemian atmosphere. The combination of gourmet menu in a laid back setting was a winning one. I could happily while away many an hour here.
My eyes lit up on seeing tonight’s theme; Lobster fiesta. What could be better? Food of the gods from local waters with an international spin. First things first. Wine. Our waiter suggested the Noble Torrontes Sauvignon/Chardonnay blend from Argentina,  a new additio n to the cellar, smooth with a fruity after taste. We took his word for it and ordered it.
The ‘boutique’ list was largely made up of wines from Argentina South Africa and the USA and included Fume Blanc and Pinot Noir, two of my faves.
 After perusing the tempting menu for some time, we placed our order. A bit greedy, admittedly. Hard to resist the spiny sweet fleshed suckers. A visit to the was a bit of a let down coming from the cosy earthy of the courtyard. Clearly this area had avoided the renovation that the main part of the restaurant had seen. The ladies was clad in pink granny chic tiles with matching coloured toilets. It wasn’t cool or ironic. Just wrong. This area was in dire need of some attention. When I returned the food had arrived. Don’t you love it when that happens?
Lobster and green mango summer rolls with chilli lime dipping sauce ($12) were beautifully constructed. The delicate white parcels on a mat of black nori were almost too pretty to ruin by eating. The rolls were clean and sharp. The sweet saltiness of the dipping sauce offset this beautifully. The flavours of Thailand in a mouthful.  Bravo.
The creamy lobster chowder ($12) was a bowl of soul food. Love and pride had gone into making this dish. Comforting and hearty, eating this was like wrapping yourself in a cashmere blanket in front of a log fire. The highly recommended Lobster Levelle was a lobster tail in garlic sherry cream sauce with Basmati rice and asparagus ($39). The indulgent sauce coated morsels of lobster nestled in the shell. My tastebuds did a little dance in my mouth. Heaven on a plate. The only disappointment was the Lobster and vegetable tempura with ponzu dipping sauce ($21). Great lovers of Japanese cuisine The Juggernaut and I are great lovers of Japanese cuisinebut sadly this lacked the finesse that great tempura demands. Heavy batter dragged the lobster and its vegetabes down.
A short break for digestion and thoughts turned to dessert. There were some stodgy puddings on offer, namely guava duff, key lime pie and chocolate brownie. They would push us over the edge. Instead we ordered some mango gelato. A huge mound arrived, more than we could cope with. It was too sweet for me; more intense mango flavours would have been welcome.
I looked around the cosy courtyard, genuinely baffled as to why more tables weren’t occupied. The food, service and atmosphere were on the whole pretty favourable. The a la carte menu offers international tapas, gourmet pizzas, pastas, seafood. A great mish mash of cuisines. I’m a fan of the Harbourfront Lounge. If you haven’t gone lately or at all, you should give it a whirl.

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