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Dinner, Drinks, Lunch

Urban Restaurant: For the Urbanite


Neighbourhood: King West

Address: 303 King Street

Phone: (416) 598-5656

If one is to go back in time, to the 19th century, a time when the Phantom haunted the Opera Populaire in Paris (if only in reality is three hours of musical theatre), one may as well eat as urban as possible prior to it, in 21st century Toronto.

As a belated birthday and Mother’s Day gift to my Mum, we dined at the Urban Restaurant on King street near the Princess of Wales theatre, before the 8 o’clock showing of the Phantom of the Opera. The restaurant itself wasn’t too crowded even though the rest of the restaurant strip was buzzing (this should have been our first indication).

We asked to be seated in their rooftop patio, only to discover we were the only ones there. They started us off with a bread basket and hummus – both of which were nothing special. After a brief glance at the menu, as we only had about an hour to spare, we decided upon the Prix Fixe menu (pour moi) which consisted of a mixed green salad, Cornish hen and pear strudel, and a chicken dish off the regular menu for my Mother.

The mixed greens salad arrived with a julienne of vegetables (carrots and another mystery vegetable) a citrus ginger vinaigrette and a sesame seed crouton. The mixed greens, although not doused in vinaigrette, came across as too tart, with the sesame crouton not flavourful (nor ample) enough to offset the taste of the sour dressing.

The grilled boneless Cornish Hen with linguine and double smoked bacon carbonara was tasty enough, although the bacon was altogether too chewy (read: fatty) to enjoy without feeling overwhelmed with guilt. The pasta and sauce however, were delicious and I must say that the portions were quite generous.

The seared “Supreme Breast Of Chicken in Crimini Mushroom Sauce with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Vegetables” were just that. Nothing more. It’s something you could make at home for one third the cost. The mashed potatoes were the only thing that made a second bite worthwhile.

Lastly, the Pear and sun dried Cranberry Strudel with Creme Anglaise, was probably the best dish only because it was something out of the ordinary, with its crispy crust encasing a warm, moist mash-up of pear and cranberries, drizzled with “English cream” and chocolate sauce. Again, quite a large portion suitable to be shared by two.

Overall, not much of an atmosphere with the rooftop patio view consisting of mainly urban backyards and the Holiday Inn, and save for the dessert and Shiraz (Mud gee, Simon Gilbert `03) it’s not somewhere I’d be going to again.

Urban in Toronto

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