Category Archives: Foodz

Momosan Aburi Sushi Bar

Address: 26 Baldwin St.  Toronto, ON.  M5T 1L2
Phone: (416) 901-8892
Website: http://www.momosan.ca/

Momosan Sushi Bar is a new sushi joint, where Bocca once was, opened in semi-Chinatown this late spring 2017.  They are extremely young to the industry and when I visited, I could tell that everyone are trying to get into the groove and move with the natural flow.  Everyone looked a bit nervous and at times, displaced.  I am sure with time and experience, they will improve.

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The revamped interior looked hip and modern, especially the combination of black and gray colours.  One complaint I have are the circular booth or benches.  They looked cheap, like made of plastic and looked like sitting in a burger joint.

The manager should take their printed menus into consideration.  They are so filthy and oily that I barely want to touch them.  They are not cleaned and when they accidentally land on the floor, workers just pick them up and hand it to the customers.  Proper hygiene is required.

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Sashimi Sampler ($30.00) was in no doubt very fresh.  We were served scallops, salmon, albacore tuna, and yellowtail kampachi.  The texture of the sashimi was very soft.  Except, I am confused with the salmon which tasted and looked smoked.

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Saba Oshi ($14.00) is pressed rice with a layer of house-cured mackerel topped with miso sauce and blow torched.   Salmon Oshi ($14.00) is pressed sushi with a layer of salmon marinated with Momo sauce, sweet soy, black pepper, then blow torched and finally topped with jalapeno.  Each oshi sushi comes in six pieces, hence we ordered two different ones to sample.  Both oshi sushi have a strong smokey flavour.  However, salmon oshi won in this particular competition.  I liked how the sweetness of the momo sauce is paired with the heat of the jalapeno in the salmon oshi.  Also, the blow torch released the fatty oils from the salmon, making the oshi melt and dissolve in your mouth.   The saba oshi tasted good too, but, there is a slight sour flavour to the overall sushi, making it less appetizing.  The miso sauce sort of heightened the sourness too.  However, I liked the crusty skin on the saba, a very interesting texture.

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Crispy Hokkaido Roll ($12.00) is made with chopped Hokkaido scallops with tobiko, brushed with sweet soy, and topped with aonori tempura bits.  If you require more flavours, a soy pippete is also served on the side.  The tempura bits gave the roll a definite crunchy texture, however, it was unnecessary.  The avocado and fresh scallops were so soft, making the roll very tender to the bite.  Overall, the roll was quite standard and there was nothing special that would blow my mind away.

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Aburi Slow Braised Pork Belly ($20.00) is made with a moromi maple glaze.  This was the tastiest entree of all that was ordered.  Pork belly was so soft and tender that you do not need to chew.  It just naturally disintegrates in your mouth.  The maple glaze was savoury and added dimension to the course.  It matched well with the side potatoes and brussel sprouts.  The salt and sugar elements were well balanced.

In general, the food quality was great!  I loved the flavours and the freshness of the ingredients.  But, this restaurant is only a good place for large group gatherings, or during happy hour.  The food portions were small, kind of like tapas style, where the pricing of the menu does not match the portions.  It would break my bank to continue ordering to fill my hungry belly during dinner.  I would recommend this restaurant if you are looking for something light to eat, or if drinking is more focused than food.

Ratings

Food 4/5
Ambiance 3.5/5
Service 3.5/5

Momo San Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Alchemy Coffee

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Address: 4361 Highway 7 East. Unionville, ON.  L3R 1M1
Phone: (905) 604-6622
Website: https://alchemycoffee.ca/

Found in a small strip plaza in Unionville is a cafe that serves classic brunch daily from open to 3pm.  With a lack of parking space available, it is advised to carpool or time yourself to arrive as early as possible to ensure a spot in this small place.

The storefront was small, with around twenty five seats when maximized.  Though, the space has a modern contemporary design to it.  It felt very warm and cozy with the wood tones.

Tables are by first come first serve and if the party size can fit the table.  There are no numbers, no servers.  You just wait in line.  For example, if a table that can only fit two is available, but you have a party size of three or more, then tough luck, you will have to wait for space that can fit your party size, or use the brain juice to maximize the space to fit your party size.  Hence, wait can run from ten minutes to half an hour.  It really is by luck.  My group, thank goodness were petite, so we squeezed ourselves at the bar table instead of waiting on.

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Smoked Salmon Eggs Benny ($14.00) with portobello mushroom and kale is served with house fries and a salad.  I also ordered a hot latte ($4.00) with my brunch.  Sunday brunch at its best!  Even though the menu is quite typical but I love the classic and trustworthy items.  The food was pleasant, very well balanced flavours.  The salad was very leafy and crunchy, with a tart vinegar base.  With the saltiness of the house fries, which really are roasted baby potatoes, the salad was brought to another dimension of flavours.  Meanwhile, the main character of the whole brunch dish, smoked salmon eggs benny was well worth my waiting time and a hungry stomach.  The smokey flavours of the salmon, sweet hollandaise sauce, salty yet earthy flavours of the portobello mushroom and the creamy poached egg truthfully blended so well together, as if they were made for one another, like a love affair.  They were cooked to perfection, especially the eggs benny, which was very runny.   The soft melt in the mouth texture of the salmon on the meaty portobello mushroom was absolutely savoury.

This brunch was like a treat to my busy Sunday schedule.  It gave me life!  I was able to sneak this in my full day of professional education conference and gave me more energy to sit through another half day of education series.  I am extremely glad to have a good quality brunch spot in the York Region area.  I highly recommend this little classic traditional cafe.

Ratings

Food 4/5
Ambience 3.25/5
Service 3.5/5

Alchemy coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Guksu and Noodle

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Address: 7771 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2C4
Phone: (905) 771-7777

Something different is Guksu and Noodle, specializes in Korean noodles, served in both hot and cold.  We see many ramen joints popping up across the GTA, so I was very eager to try the Korean noodles to compare and contrast with Japanese ramen.

Service was slow, due to lack of helpers.  Priorities were wrong and noticed a lack of coordination.  Tables could not be cleaned right away, so guests were served late, which could be a turn down.  Taking orders could not be done together with cashing a table out.  Everything had to be done one at a time.  So, getting someone to take my order HAD to be done after they get someone else’s bill, take the money and bring the change back to them.  I was not impressed by the service because getting the helpers’ attention was longer than anticipated.  Waiting for food to arrive was another agony.  My order took one hour to be served, even when the restaurant was just barely full.  This is something they also need to reflect on.

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The side dishes were quite astonishingly limited and small.  They only served tart kimchi and sweet pumpkin puree.  Be prepared to empty stomachs because these snacks were not enough to make the wait satisfying.  I did not want to refill much because what if I got full from eating too much side dishes and could not enjoy the main dishes?!?!

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Fruit Bimbim Guksu ($10.50) is cold wheat noodles with spicy fruit sauce topped with seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables.  I felt like I was sitting in a lush green garden while eating the noodle salad.  Fruits and vegetables comprised of radish, tomato, watercress, Korean turnip, carrot, blueberry, pineapple and apple.  Everything was so crunchy and fresh to the bite.  I loved the mixture of flavours, though distinct, yet very clean and clear.  The sauce was mild spicy and when mixed with the sweet fresh toppings, the al dente noodles came to life, offering a sweet zesty taste, which was very appetizing and enjoyable.  This was a refreshing and creative option, and the best to have it in the summer.

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Chicken Guksu ($11) is handmade wheat noodle in homemade chicken broth, topped with marinated thin sliced chicken breast and various vegetables.  This noodle soup felt so homey, very hearty.  The broth was just amazing, a simple, yet strong chicken flavour and not as oily as one would assume, nor salty.  I like how they put the hot sauce on the side instead of inside the broth, so you can try a bit of different flavours and not everything likes their noodles spicy.  The chicken breast was so tender and juicy, while the vegetables were crunchy.  The chives acted like a spice, adding new levels of flavours to the soup.  Everything tasted very organic, just so fresh and with plentiful ingredients to make you full.  Noodles were obviously homemade, as you can see the different thicknesses in the strands.  They were done just al dente, and maintained the the same texture and springiness after soaking in the broth for some length of time.  This is a must go to noodles at the restaurant!  I actually wish I was able to pack the broth home, or wish they sold the broth separately.

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Kimchi Soo Yuk ($12) is grilled pork belly with kimchi and served on top of a salad.  This was quite oily.  You can see the oil seeping out as the dish sat longer on the tabletop, quite disgusting.  Towards the end, everything was swimming in a layer of oil.  Nonetheless, it tasted decent enough.  Though, I wish the pork belly was softer and with a melt in the mouth texture.  I thought this cooked dish was a bit salty for my liking and the kimchi became salty and tart as it cooled down, which was quite weird.  The fresh bed of salad, which the pork belly was sitting on top of, end up being cooked in a slick of oil.  It was kind of disgusting after a while.  To be honest, there is improvement to their cooked entree dishes,  nothing spectacular.

I really liked the noodles, and was definitely worth the enjoyment.  At least there is something light and different, compared to ramen.  I highly recommend trying their cold noodles.  BUT, do expect the wait time to be long.

Ratings

Food 4/5
Service 3.5/5
Ambiance 3.25/5

The Guksu and Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wish Restaurant

Address: 3 Charles St E, Toronto, ON M4Y 1R9
Phone: (416) 935-0240
Website: http://wishintoronto.com/

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Tucked on a side street off the big intersection of Bloor Street and Yonge Street, you will find an attractive gazebo-like entrance to Wish Restaurant.  You can find a paid parking Green -P around the neighbourhood, but beware of all the condominium construction across the streets from the restaurant.  The prime location and the future opportunities look quite promising for successful business, UNTIL, a developer decides to buy the land, strip it down for new living space.  But, for now, the restaurant looks really cute with the patio and very welcoming.

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It was so cute, cozy and dreamy inside, though somewhat tight.  I love the full white atmosphere, so airy and makes me feel like I am floating in the sky, or sleeping on a cloud.  Mirrors were their accent pieces hanging on the wall to make the space look more open and wider to the eye.  You would find yourself very relaxed in the restaurant.  The owners really maximized their seating space to the max, because there were a few awkward seats, under the stairs, a three-some table on an angle facing the mirror column.  I was annoyed looking at my own reflection constantly for the couple of hours I was there.

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Apple Walnut Steel Cut Oatmeal Pancake ($15) was topped with salted butter and cider syrup on the side.  I was a little disappointed that no fruits or salad came with the pancakes.  This was a full carb breakfast diet, which was very fat.  This was just too much pancakes, 5 large pieces!  My heart kind of dropped when it arrived.  Lesson learned, always order some fruits and vegetables on the side.  It was quite dry and bland, turning soggy after some exposure.  However, I did bite into small pieces of walnut occasionally, but not finding the apple bits.  Overall, pancake was a pancake, nothing spectacular or screamed amazing.  Neither the butter nor syrup could liven up the pancake.  One last thing, I could not justify the cost of the pancakes; they were not worth it.

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2 smashed avocado on rye toast with heirloom cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and poached egg ($18) was definitely more mouthwatering.  Avocados taste good with anything!  So basically, this tasted like guacamole, with stronger cheese flavours and larger tomato pieces.  It was not as mashed or finely ground, but I liked the overall texture because there was more feel to it than the paste-like dip, causing more desire and enjoyment to the food.  The eggs were runny, though with a rubbery white.  With the runny yolk, it added more liquid and sweetness to the underlying ingredients.

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Eggs in Purgatory ($17) is baked eggs, poached soft in a stew of peppers, chilies and tomatoes, studded with scamorza cheese and grilled baguette.  This was the best brunch option of all that was ordered.  The name was attractive and matched the appearance, how things look tortured in burning fire.  The sauce was aromatic, full of sweet and tangy tomato flavours.  However, the eggs were a bit overcooked, harder than I would like it to be.  This dish of food had a bit of everything from every food group, your daily vegetables, protein, wheat, and dairy intake, hence, quite a healthy choice.  It would be a shame to not lick your dish dry and immerse all your taste buds with the sauce.

Wish gave me an airy feel and the atmosphere set up your mood to the food that is served.  There is a wide selection for everyone and the menu changes every season, while having a couple of stapled items.  Remember to reserve your tables for brunch, otherwise, you will regret it because I know I could sit there for hours and chat.

Ratings

Food 3.75/5
Service 3.5/5
Ambiance 4/5

Wish Toronto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Piano Cafe

Address: 217 Queen St, Port Perry, ON L9L 1B9
Phone: (905) 982-0707
Website: http://www.pianocafe.ca/

Port Perry is such a neat little township Northeast of Toronto.  It is right on Lake Scugog, a very popular cottage county for a nice relaxing trip away from the city or for a.  The town has enough vibrance to keep you attracted, with free parking everywhere!

I visited Port Perry on beautiful warm weekends, which we were blessed with two weekends ago.  After a 40 minute drive on Major Mackenzie Road East, I finally saw the edge of the Town, where Tim Hortons and a few Fish and Chips restaurants are located.

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The Piano Cafe is located at the end of the Main Street.  It was the only noticeable busy cafe on the short strip.  The interiors of the cafe, was very homey and cozy, with local art hanging on the walls.  Everyone who worked there were so kind and can make quite a conversation.  However, waiting to be served was long and waiting for your lunch to arrive was even longer.

Piano Cafe is family owned and their menu is typical, but better than Tim Hortons or at the grocery stores.  Their classic lunch menu do not look filling, but they provide you with a finger licking experience when everything was cleared off your plate.  I had such a hard time choosing what to eat for lunch because everything looked attractive.  My hunger took over my rationality.

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Black Forrest Ham and Cheddar on Focaccia ($13.95) is made of blackforest ham, homemade sundried tomato dressing, cheddar and honey mustard sauce baked to perfection.  The sandwich was complimented with a choice of soup, green salad or Caesar salad.  I obviously chose the soup of the day, which was butternut squash.  The sandwich was so rewarding.  The ham was thick, but a bit dry in terms of the meat.  The meat’s seasoning with the sweet tomato dressing and honey mustard pair was just perfect tangy combination, with a subtle smokey flavour.  I wish there were some vegetables on it because they will add more crunch and freshness to the sandwich overall.

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Chicken Caesar with Apple Wood Wrap ($13.95) also came complimented with your choice of a soup, green salad or Caesar salad.  As above, the butternut squash was chosen.  The wrap was full of fresh lettuce and tomatoes, making the wrap crunchy to the bite.  The chicken Caesar sauce added a creamy texture to the filling, with a hint of tartness but I could not fully taste the smokey apple wood.  Basically, a chicken salad wrap was experienced.  It was a good refreshing wrap but I craved for more chicken bites.  I really like the butternut squash soup.  I could sense the onions’ heat and the starchiness of potatoes blended into the soup.  It was smooth and full of seasoning, but was not salty at all.

Piano Cafe had a sense of belonging.  It serves tasty comfort foods and the atmosphere was very welcoming.  No doubt it was one of the busiest eateries on Main Street.  Just like the rest of Port Perry, I sensed a relaxing aura, along with a easy going nature, and enjoyment for all age groups.

Ratings

Food 4/5
Service 3/5
Ambiance 3.5/5

The Piano Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mot Na Son Korean Restaurant

Address: 5374 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 2N1
Phone: (416) 222-1170

North York Yonge Street is the concentrated Koreatown of North Toronto.  Korean restaurants are lined on both sides of Yonge Street, from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue.  The district does not lack restaurant choices and has a lot of competition.

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What attracted me into the bustling small restaurant was the cottage look with whole wood structure.  Personally, I thought it has a quaint earthen touch but it made the restaurant look down-to-earth and more traditional in essence.  After all, houses were originally made of wood or marble or stone in the ancient times.  The family like restaurant decorations were very simple, just photos hanging on the wall.  Due to the poor ventilation system, the room was quite stuffy and greasy from the table top cooking.

Service was slow.  The owner was quite condescending because I wanted to order the traditional fermented homemade soy bean stew instead of the soup, but he right literally said “NO, you would not like it because it had a thick texture and acquired taste”.  It was my first time seeing it, hence, I wanted to know the difference between a soup and stew, just for comparison.  I was disappointed and was shocked to have the male owner reject a customer’s request because he thought someone would not appreciate it or not accustomed to it or how it would not match with the food we will order.  Why would someone be so opinionated on a customer!  I was truthfully upset.  Then why would that stew be on the menu if people were not allowed to order it or if it would not match in flavour to the other foods on the menu.  Quite lame.

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In the end, I ordered the Traditional Fermented Homemade Soy Bean Soup ($9.99), which to my surprise, tasted different, extremely rich and flavourful that other restaurants never provided.  The soup was not salty nor full of monosodium glutamate (msg).  I do not know if the homemade fermented soy bean made a difference or not, but the soup was sweet and you can really taste the soy bean and you see bits and pieces of it floating in the bubbling soup.  On top, some alcohol essence was tasted in the bubbling liquid too, which could be developed during the fermentation process.  With the owner’s insistence, recommendation and rejection, the soup did taste pretty decent.

Spicy Stir Fry Pork Combo ($19.99) came with a soup of your choice, which we chose Pork Tofu Soup.  The combo was a good deal because individually, the soup would have costed $8.99.  Pork was fat, kind of like pork belly, therefore, each bite was really tender and soft, with oil oozing from your mouth.  Pork was stir fried with onions, carrots, and peppers.  Portion was big, which was also enough for a third person.  Too bad it was not as spicy as I hopped.  The dish was more like sweet and “weak” spicy.  Cooking oil was really not needed because the natural fat from the pork was more than enough to fulfill the cooking purpose.  Just unfortunate, they added too much oil to make the dish a bit too greasy.  The soup that was included in the combo was just a typical kimchi based soup, so nothing special or worth noting.

The soy bean stew is still on my mind.  I desperately want to try it still but I would not be surprised to be rejected by the owner again.  Overall, I did find the food quality acceptable and typical of Korean cuisines.  The menu was just too vast, too many options and kind of confusing in a way.  Most of the menu was combo-related.  A big group of friends is ideal to visit and try an assortment of the food.

Ratings

Food 3.5/5
Service 2.5/5
Ambiance 3/5

Mot Na Son Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Montecito Restaurant

Address: 299 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7
Phone: (416) 599 – 0299
Website: http://www.montecitorestaurant.ca/

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In the heart of Downtown Toronto’s Entertainment District and Financial District, Montecito Restaurant does not lack clientele, is easy to access, and is quite recognized in the public because this dining joint is a collaboration between Hollywood director Ivan Reitman and Innov8 Hospitality, who also manages Wayne Gretzky’s memorabilia in a dining experience.  This is quite an intelligent partnership because this natural form of publicity and advertisement comes from the collaborator’s individualized fame, which act as a “free” marketing tactic.  With all the bells and whistles, we all know this is quite an upscale, classy, high end restaurant.

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Interior decor is a holy shrine to the works Ivan has directed and produced.  Cast photos, movie scenes and behind the scene photos are everywhere as a sign of accomplishment, a recognition and respect.  There was no doubt that I looked thoroughly at all pictures surrounding me in the dining room and as I was walking towards the washroom.  To those who lived in that era, it was a memory.  But those who were born in the 90’s and the millennials, it was all new and curiosity overcome emotions.  Truthfully, the movies Ivan produced were iconic, thus, I cannot imagine anyone acting like a blank sheet.

High ceilings made the space very open and airy.  The tables and chairs were arranged neatly, very organized, signifying a systematic management.  However, I find the room quite dark and I wish they could make use of those large ceiling height windows for some natural light because that would make the outlook more welcoming, especially for Sunday brunch.  Brightening could enlighten up the mood and is more cheerful overall.

Montecito offers brunch buffet at $39 per person every Sunday from 11am to 3pm.  I made reservations for 11am and arrived a few minutes later.  To my surprise, the restaurant was quite empty, that reservations was not really required.  Over the course of two hours, which was the maximum time slot for everyone, only a few more tables were occupied.  Overall, the brunch buffet was not as popular and lively as I hoped.

*Disclaimer* The food options change every week to keep it special.  What I was served this week may vary from others who tried it another day.

oi000356.jpgThe food tables were misplaced or quite random.  The purpose was to avoid huge crowds or line ups, however, I felt confused, dislocated and misguided.  The center of it all, the most obvious buffet table, with the cooked food, salad, antipasto,  was situated at the kitchen at the middle of the whole dining hall.  The seafood platter propped on a bar table, which I thought was not served and did not try, was camouflaged independently next to the curtains.  It comes back to the argument of the restaurant is dimly lit but could also be my carelessness; but how did I completely miss the seafood?!?!  The dessert and pastry table was next to the entrance.  Till this day, I am still trying to decipher the logic behind the position of the food, like, why did they put the food there, why those locations.  It just seem so inconvenient.

The food was of fusion style, mainly influenced by Californian, Mexican, Italian, and Caribbean cuisines.

At the salad bar, there was the typical spring salad mix, kale salad, lentil salad, grilled fennel with beets and peppers marinated with olive oil.  To summarize, you can mix and make your own salad with the provided selection of ingredients.  I was disappointed to not see a pasta salad.  Yogurt and parfait was also served.  On the side, there is a selection of aged and cured ham with several cheese options next to it.  The ham was thinly sliced that it was hard to pick up with the tongs, hence, be prepared to pick up more than 1 or 2 slices.  However, the ham tasted amazing, especially on top of a salad.  The smokey savory protein enriched the flavours of the salad and dressing.  I also paired the ham with baguette, biscuits, anything bland.

Hot foods were stored in the heavy duty Staub cast iron casserole to maintain the warmth and freshness.  They served fried chicken, curry with white rice on the side, pizza, sausage, potato wedges, bacon, eggs.  The fried chicken was so crispy and coated lightly with jerk spices.  Everything else was safe, tasted nothing special.  I thought the eggs were overdone and left sitting on the counter too long, which became dry.  Everything that was served that day seemed to be spicy and the choices were limited.  

There are things that are freshly made.  Waffles and pancakes are made to order.  You can get the original buttermilk pancake or a chocolate chip pancake.  Guacamole is made to the order too just to ensure the avocados do not turn brown.  Once again, I am surprised omelet was not on the list.

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 The dessert and pastry selection offered was assorted donuts, tiramisu, danishes, bread pudding, chocolate brownie, cupcakes, carrot cake, scones and croissants.  Mixed into the selection was a variety of fresh fruits like honeydew, watermelon, apple and oranges.  The organization was a bit random.  In fact, I find the dessert variation quite disappointing that day for me just because the selection was not captivating.  In fact, the cakes and puddings have room for improvement.  They tasted a bit flavourless and texture was rough.  However, the croissant was flakey, if only there was more butter flavours.

Servicing and attitude was done quite onto the spot though.  Everyone was so nice, handsome or pretty, well groomed, mannered, and professional.  They were tentative, always there when you need their attention.  However, the young man who makes fresh guacamole was so bored that he was desperately waiting for someone to order the popular Mexican dip.  I also noticed they did not replenish the food based on the age of the food that has been on the counter for, but as when the volume becomes more depleted.  There are things that can be improved on.  Overall, the selection of food was typical, had no specialness or wowness to the flavour.  The restaurant does not scream out to me nor does it yern for more of my business.  I find it quite disappointing for such a high end dining experience.  I hope the collaboration all the best and keep on improving for the years to come.

Ratings

Food 3.25/5
Service 4/5
Ambiance 3.5/5

Montecito Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato