My wife and I often like to take in a movie at the Varsity in the Manualife Centre, but have often been disappointed with the available pre-movie dinner offerings in the area. Just tired of Yorkville I guess.
But last night we tried 5th Elementt near Bay and Wellesley, and have to say I was really impressed. The concept is sort of Nouvelle Indian, and they offer two prix fixe menus, a three course menu at $32 and a four course at $36, with a very reasonable, though limited by the glass wine list.
We opted for the three course menu. My wife had a fennel and asian pear salad, which she really enjoyed. The crunchy textures with an indian inspired dressing were really good. I had a pulled lamb appetizer, with subtle indian spicing (cumin coriander pepper?), goat cheese and crostini. Really tasty and I washed it down with a nice california cab at about $10/glass (6 oz).
Mains were, for my wife, a baseball steak (8 oz) and venison (for me, one rib with a lot of meat on it), each server with mashed potatoes and an interesting indian spiced demiglace. I ordered bread to mop up the demiglace (oddly a bread basket was an additional $5, though I really had no problem with it), and when I expressed how much I like the demiglace they brought me out a ramekin of it for dipping. Yum!
Desserts were a fabulous mango kulfi for my wife and classic and competent chocolate mousse for me.
Service was excellent and attentive without being overbearing. After complimenting the food, to the waiter, the chef came out and said hi. I get the feeling he's not part of the established Toronto "fooderati" and has not quite achieved greatness, but I he's doing a superb job with this place. Kind of a an indian bistro camino, but more upscale.
The room is airy and open, with chiffon like curtains partitioning off parts of the room.
Overall, a really good experience and with the prix fixes, excellent value for money. The nouvelle Indian concept works overall and I highly recommend it. Perhaps not as a destination restaurant, but very competent well done interesting food with superb service.
Total bill, with two prix fixes, one champagne cocktail and four glasses of good wine, $125 including tax but before tip (and i tipped well: they earned it).
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