The menu, as viewed online, was needlessly elaborate for the type of fare being served, complicating basic appetizers with supposedly complex condiments and tacking on price tags sufficient enough to rival that of an upscale diner like Momofuku.
Well, it is Yorkville after all.
Ever since our first encounter at Teara Lab, feedthebear and I have attempted two potential meet-ups in the Markham/Scarborough area, both of which emerged unsuccessful due to schedule and logistics conflicts. For the rare weekday she happened to be unoccupied, we contemplated several spots in the GTA before finally settling for a downtown spot upon her recommendation.
We arrived shortly before noon to find, in the most literal sense possible, a largely empty restaurant.
The establishment boasted high ceilings (with shrubbery peeking out from allotted rectangular spots), plants of varying sizes in almost every nook and cranny, construction materials ranging from sleek lacquered pillars to the same exposed brick formation used for the exterior, and a mindblowing assortment of geometric light fixtures. The black and white base theme was largely minimal, yet the boxy details and splashes of rose gold added sophistication as well as cohesion.
Interior design was phenomenal to say in the least - even the washroom stall doors featured rose gold locks! The musty-hued seats could have undergone some degree of hygiene refreshing though.
Before we realized, the atmosphere had become a tad rowdy with lady lunch-goers, making it increasingly urgent to draw to a conclusion.
After much debate (and Insta-research), the Beet & Carrot Tartare, Peas & Rice, Beauty and the Beet were requested. My utterance of the side dish had earned me a subtle eyebrow raise and change of tone, but I wasn't about to doubt my choice until witnessing the dish.
While I cannot recall the exact components of the beverage, I recall the inclusion of Planta juice, a housemade cold-pressed juice of beets and mint. The first sip was an overwhelming hit of mouthwash-strength mint.
"This taste is all too familiar" I thought, "Ah, it's toothpaste!"
Beet juice was plenty, but not as abundant as crushed ice. For every sip of flesh-staining liquid, there were three solid spoonfuls of ice. It didn't take me long to discover that eleven dollars had brought me a cup of ice, some mouthwash-like concoction, and a frail amount of discernible gin. Quite a shame really - the coconut flakes were fragrant, despite the fact that they contributed absolutely no impact to the beverage.
Though, it should be noted that the item leans more towards a "quinoa and avocado" tartare with added toppings as opposed to its original name. Tortilla chip dust was also a rather economic choice for the associated cost of $19.00.
For $6.35, I hadn't been anticipating a platter of gold, but sweet red bell peppers ("pimento"), kidney beans, and mushy sweet potato-like "Caribbean pumpkin" definitely do not rank high in terms of value.
Perhaps I'm not just not one to comprehend the merit of eating with the force of nature, which is why I'll happily plant my feet (and wallet) elsewhere.