It's a proven fact that Mississauga residents enjoy being anywhere and aren't opposed to taking the 45-minute local bus route to Islington then subwaying to the core. At the same time, they are open to high school reunions (or even catch-up sessions with other Sauga folks) taking place within the immediate neighbourhood. Toronto locals are generally open to places within TTC boundaries, despite bearing massive hatred for the transit system itself. From observation, occupants of the Brampton and Hamilton area rarely venture outside of their hometown; the difference lies in that Hammertown is fully embraced and promoted by their inhabitants, even when far more superior hangout and dining options are located elsewhere.
But back to the residents: for the vast majority, few enjoy venturing past their zone of comfort. This area may sometimes impose east-west travel boundaries on Kennedy or Woodbine or even so little as a five-minute drive to the nearest plaza. In short, a great deal of persuasion is needed to convince such locals out of their humble abode and into the nearest suburb.
< Pictured above: Honey Green Tea, Papaya Smoothie, Honey Lemon Water, Cranberry Juice, Almond Milk Black Tea, and Green Tea Smoothie at happy hour karaoke >
With the exception of the few tables lining the mall-facing perimeter of the celebrity chef's second shopping centre outpost, the remainder of the interior was painfully dim. A medium-sized table had been prepared for us behind the bar and adjacent to one of the order-entering computers.
This should have inadvertently implied constant service right? Not at all.
In my desperate attempt to wave a different server over to address our urgent desire for sustenance, the received response was no more than a quick glance in our direction, a head turn of smugness, and a monotonous gust of "I'll get your server" while hurriedly retreating away from our line of vision. Please. Don't act like you're busy.
As if our request was lost in transit, our server appeared some time later to note down our orders. It wasn't a particularly professional method either, as the music was quite loud and many of us were forced to shout down the table to relay our requests. He did double-check our items once before departing, but most of the things he repeated were just mumbled phrases from my position at the other end of the table.
A prominent component of Jamie's Italian was wood, lacquered and unlacquered. From the walls to the open kitchen to utensils to furnishing, one could scarcely find something that didn't exhibit a timber-like appearance. At every table was an old-fashioned salt and pepper set and simple white cloth napkins embroidered with blue lettering. (The reason behind utilizing white napkins for a tomato sauce-heavy menu is beyond me, really.)
I had taken a quick glance at the cocktail section before harshly being harshly being reminded by reality that I would responsible for my own safe return. The group was provided a 1L jug of water instead.
It is indisputable that the so-called Garlic Bread was made in-house, but at that point in time, I'm sure that the group would not have minded storebought baguette to satisfy carby cravings. The resulting appetizer was not reflective of the standard image of garlic bread, nor was it a pleasant surprise for those hankering for a properly crispy, buttery slice.
The Tomato Bruschetta, which I did not have the opportunity of tasting, was loaded with sun-dried tomato paste, wrinkly cherry tomatoes, basil, and ricotta. On a visual aspect, it was appealing; on a gustatory scale, however, its size definitely did not validate the $9.95 it was labelled for.
Any hopes for my Classic Superfood Salad was banished at this point in time, but I didn't think Jamie Oliver could re-invent salad to any point past my understanding. Frankly, I was wrong.
Thanks, but no thanks. I'll be taking my next $11.95 to a spot that doesn't cause both my stomach and wallet to sob with grief.
In my case, it was wholly a miss, but the same cannot be said for every diner.
I will most definitely not be returning nor recommending. The neighbouring Starbucks will be my go-to in the luxury expansion of Square One.