Winterlicious may be over but it’s really just an excuse to discover new places or go back to your favorites. This year, the clear winner for me in terms of quality and price point has got to be Oliver & Bonacini’s Bannock. They’re known for Canadian comfort food and I’ve been a fan since the first time I’ve set foot in their restaurant conveniently located on Queen and Bay, in front of Old City Hall, across from the Eaton Centre. This is their first year participating in Winterlicious and I’m so glad they did because their menu was great. The food was well-executed and delicious. Service was prompt and super-friendly. We went for our anniversary lunch and ordered different items in order to maximize the dishes tried.
Seeing as lunch was only going to cost $15, we decided to splurge on drinks. I got a Mandarin Peach Sparkler and my beau had Peppermint Hot Chocolate.
For my appetizer, I went with the Kale Caesar salad with Bannock croutons. It had the right amount of dressing. The bannock croutons were very good. I had never had kale before this salad and didn’t know what the fuss was all about and it’s actually really good. Not as bland as regular lettuce but not as bitter as arugula.
The boyfriend had the Habitant Split Pea Soup. I had a taste and thought it had great depth, but I still liked my salad better. Keith loved it however and said the ham was the best part.
As soon as we were finished, plates were cleared right away and the main dishes appeared in no time. I had the Pig & Chips, pork shoulder with roast garlic fries and kimchi greens. I’m not a big fan of kimchi but mixed with the fall-apart-tender pork, I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t stop eating the fries but I had to in order to make room for dessert.
Keith had the White Fish Cake with dill pickle tartar sauce and I had more than just a few bites. It had great texture and flavor. It was perfectly flaky and light but still filling. I almost didn’t want to give it back when we switched plates.
At this point, we were already quite full but once dessert came, we could not say no to finishing them off. I had the Cheesy Chocolate Cannoli with chocolate peanut sauce. They were fun to pick up and eat but super rich. I devoured the first one but had to leave half of the second.
As good as the cannolis were, the dessert Keith chose was better, Sticky Bannoffee Cake with caramel and crème fraîche. It also was sprinkled with what we think was thyme and it just brought out all flavors of the dish.
It was a great experience and I hope they do it again next year. If you’ve missed Winterlicious, Bannock’s regular menu is just as amazing. The arcadian court chicken pot pie is a must-try.