More Winterlicious has come upon me. This time, a girl’s lunch at Yorkville’s Pangaea.
If you’re not interested in spending a ton of money on dining out, I definitely suggest going for lunch at one of the Winterlicious spots. If you think the dinner deals are good, the lunch ones are often very similar if the not the same menu, with an even better price tag.
I walk by this place on a fairly regular basis; last year especially as I had a class very close by. Slightly off to the side from the happening center of Yorkville, and just north of the big Bay Street towers, this restaurant was filled to capacity at 1 yesterday. The incredibly friendly service from the moment we walked in made me even more excited for the dining experience ahead.
Right off the bat, decisions were difficult to make as everything looked and sounded so delicious; I don’t think you can go wrong at a place like this.
While making sure we chose different options to get a taste of as many dishes as possible, I chose a citrus and arugula salad to start and a roasted leg of lamb.
As athletes I can say it’s pretty safe to make the generalization that we’re almost always pretty darn hungry. So when the kind and generous waitress came along to bring us some bread, she gave us each two pieces. As we made small talk, we mentioned how hungry we were and in between courses she even came around to give us another. What service!
My first impression of the salad was definitely positive as the arugula shined with a coating of red wine and honey vinaigrette but I had to say I was a little concerned about the size…however as soon as I dug my fork into it, the entire thing fell apart into a portion the size of the plate. I was amazed at the magical appearance of more salad. The bitter arugula, grapefruit, and pomegranate arils all exploded with flavour; a combination I had yet to try. With just a hint of sheep’s cheese and subtle dancing nodes of mint and coriander, this salad was perfect (I mean that!).
Another great choice at the table was the soup of the day which was creamy and packed with comforting flavours that made you forget about the cold weather outside.
(Insert another piece of delicious bread here…mmmm)
With rich and delicious meats like duck confit and lamb, we had some filling mains coming our way. My leg of lamb was sliced and delicately placed over a creamy gorgonzola and rosemary barley that accented the spices on the lamb while also making it more winter-appropriate. With a few little florets of roasted cauliflower on the side, this dish hit every mark. But how could I forget the reduction! Its sweet juices red wine made this meal even more comforting as it added the perfect element to group the entire dish together.
The duck confit was another score! The fall-off-the-bone meat had clearly spent lots of time marinating while other accoutrements and a sweet cherry sauce topped it all off.
Dessert! This was probably the hardest choice of them all, but we narrowed it down to the toasted cinnamon crème brulée and the dark chocolate cake. After admiring the gorgeous plating, I took a big bite of the chocolate cake first. The dense cake had been lightly layered with cocoa powder to give a punch of bitterness in contrast to the rich cake. The little poached cranberries and vanilla icing were both excellent pairings for the cake but the little drops of salty caramel sauce were the real knockout. The little roasted and salted walnut also added a little extra detail both aesthetically and added a bit of crunch to the dish.
The crème brulée was also a homerun; under the tough sugar coating lay a thick, dense layer of crème that tasted exactly as you’d expect a cinnamon bun to; to the side was a homemade biscotti cookie drizzled in chocolate sauce. It was hard to put our spoons down between bites.
I have to admit that this restaurant wouldn’t have been my first pick had it not been for Winterlicious. However, our experience with friendly service and incredible food has me thinking I’d like to try other options on their menu. Can’t wait until then!