The aim for the Chef's House is to be a fully functioning restaurant that serves as a real-time learning experience for George Brown students in culinary arts and hospitality as it is staffed mainly by students attempting to complete their studies.
I have been looking forward to dining at this restaurant and last Friday, my friend Nathan and I decide to indulge on the culinary adventure. When we arrive, we are greeted at the door by 2 very energetic hosts and led to our table, we already were surprised by the chic design of the open space and exposed brick walls and now have noted how eager all the staff were to please us and make our evening memorable.
Our server for the evening is named Corbin. Nathan and I noticed his trembling hands as he went through the menu options and his attempts to answer all our questions with authority. Corbin fumbled a tiny bit with the french names of cheeses but he had won our hearts over with his big wide smile.
At the restaurant - you have a choice of a 3 course meal $39 or a 4 course meal $45 and of course, for the sake of research - we both selected the 4 course meals. So between us - there were 8 dishes that we could sample.
At the restaurant - the house wine is also made by the students - we sampled the red and although it was fine- i prefer my wines bolder and a bit on the spicy side so we selected a Jackson Trigg's Shiraz.
As soon as we ordered our meal - another enthusiastic server came over to deliver the amuse bouche - she attempted to let us know what the name of the dish was but mumbled something under her breath and then ran away and left us guessing what the cubes of yellow were in front of us. So we shrugged and had a taste- we figured it had zucchini and squash and some cumin in it but that was what we could detect.
When Corbin came back - he told us in his broken french that it was a petit four that had zucchini, squash and that the chefs are empowered to create their own dishes and this is what they came up with for the evening. Also, I noticed that the flatscreens around the restaurant showed the cooks in the kitchen and what they were cooking on the stove which I found extremely entertaining as it was like watching iron chef.
For appetizers - we selected 3- the grilled octopus where the pieces were perfectly tender and flavoured with lemon, a smoked salmon plate that was served with dill yogurt on a gluten free pancake and we had niagara prosciutto pared pared with white aspargus - which you can never go wrong with!
Our mains included the smoked whitefish that was blackened served on a bed of vegetables and lamb with potatoes. Every time Corbin came back, he chatted us up about his life, his experience in the restaurant industry and even the Toronto strike. He was so engaging but still nervously chatting away and we didn't want to start eating while he was in the middle of his stories that our mains ended up getting cold. However that didn't bother me at all as he was so endearing that we couldn't fault him for anything! The verdict on the food was the lamb looked perfectly cooked with pink centers was a bit tougher than we would've preferred and the whitefish was a bit dry and not as tender but the presentation on both the plates were great!
After we finished our mains, we got the cheese plate- which included a 3 yr old cheddar as well as a blue cheese which was perfectly complimented with pear.
Finally we made it to our dessert which was a lemon tart and a chocolate moouse which of course we polished off.
The food is an extremely good value here and the experience is very memorable with the service aiming to please and learning as the key ingredient.
The Chef's House - 215 King Street West (King and Jarvis)