Restaurants & Bars

Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Winterlicious - Celestin (with pictures)

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Winterlicious - Celestin (with pictures)

ThomOnTheNet | Feb 1, 2006 11:36 PM

Celestin
623 Mount Pleasant Road
416-544-9035

We arrived at a few minutes early. Upon arrival, we were pointed to where the coat check area is. After checking in our coats, we returned to the front desk, where after a short wait we were shown our table.

The dining room has a subdued elegance. The tiled floors make the dining room very noisy; I found difficult to carry on conversation during dinner.

We were served a basket of bread with butter on the side. The bread was bland, soft on the inside with a very hard crust. It was quite ordinary, especially when compared with breads served in other restaurants in the same price range. Since they run their own bakery, they could have offered something better.

My SO started the meal with the salad. The citrus rind dressing was too acidic. I had the ravioli of braised lamb shank with tarragon sauce. It was very tasty and far better compared to the salad.

My SO had the pasta entree, papardelle with lemon, sage and oven dried tomatoes. In my personal opinion the pasta was slightly overcooked; I prefer it more al dente. The occasional oven dried tomatoes provided some interest to the pasta, although I found it a tad too oily. There seemed to be some capers in the pasta as well, although I do not recall it was mentioned in the menu. I ordered the duck confit, served with beans and sweet creamy morel sauce. The duck was a tad dry; the sauce was very good though.

For dessert we ordered the orange tartlet and the chocolate cake. The orange tartlet was served with a scoop of grapefruit sherbet, which strangely both complemented the tartlet in terms of acidity, but also provided some contrast with the sweet tartlet; not sure if makes any sense, but suffice to say that it was very good. The chocolate cake was very dense, the consistency between a truffle and a toffee. It was very rich in chocolate; the raspberry and caramel ice cream were lost in the overwhelming chocolate flavor. It was too heavy, although some chocolate lovers might like it. The orange tartlet was the best choice in my opinion.

Dinner for two with a glass of wine, a glass of juice and two coffees came to $115, tax and tip included. The tip had been added by hand to the bill when it was brought to the table. The waiter did inform us that it had been added. I figured out that the tip was more than 15%, close to 20%. I understand that for large parties, this is a common practice. However, for a party of two, I find such practice objectionable. Having heard the same experience from Negaduck, it did not catch me by surprise.

Service was sub-par. At the beginning of the meal it was ok. After we finished our entrees, it took a while for the plates to be taken away; that could be understandable, considering it was a busy evening. It took another while for the waiter to ask us if we'd like something with dessert; we ordered coffee. After another wait, the coffee arrived. However, it took a long time for the dessert to be served, by which time the coffee was already cold. After we finished the dessert, it took a while for the table to be cleaned and another long wait for the bill to be brought. You can already see the pattern here, the closer to the end of the meal, the more forgotten we felt. Between when we received the bill until when we finally got the credit card slip to sign and leave the restaurant, over 30 minutes had passed, probably close to 40 minutes; I don't know exactly how long it took, I was not measuring the times, but I know it was over half an hour. More than thirty minutes to swipe a card and print a slip?!?! I had to flag the waiter in order for him to bring back my card and the slip. He simply dropped it back on the table; there was no attempt to offer an apology for the long wait or to say anything. It is interesting to observe how in some establishments, such as Canoe or Auberge, service is flawless and it seems so effortless for them to accomplish that, while in others, it can be so poor. I did notice thought that patrons sitting at another table who ordered from the regular menu received much speedier service.

Bread basket: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Mixed greens salad: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Ravioli of braised lamb shank: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Papardelle: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Duck confit: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Chocolate cake: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...
Orange tartlet: http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e31...

Peace,

Thom

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