This past weekend I was invited to a Winterlicious menu tasting at Hawthorne Food and Drink. The restaurant is located on Richmond Street East with easy parking and is 100% wheelchair accessible. They are open Monday-Friday for breakfast and lunch and Tuesday-Friday for dinner. They open Saturday and Sunday for Winterlicious only.
Hawthorne Food & Drink’s sole purpose is to give back to the community and deliver farm to table meals. The restaurant serves delicious dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients. They also provide careers for people in need of skills and employment. I love that the staff were passionate about their jobs and carried a friendly attitude. Hawthorne’s menu changes often and takes inspiration from the farms of Ontario and the neighborhoods of Toronto. The presentation of the food was always creative and artistic which I enjoyed the most. This restaurant was a bit out of my element when it came to certain textures and concepts. The flavors were incredibly bold and pungent at times which I also wasn’t expecting for some dishes.
It was very sweet that the Chefs at Hawthorne wanted us to taste their famous pickled platter but most of the pickling just was not for me. There are not a lot of things that I WON’T eat but unfortunately, blue cheese is one of them and that was a part of this massive spread of pickled foods. The platter also included two different types of boiled eggs. Tumeric and Beet, both which were bold and tangy. This is a great option for someone who appreciates pickled foods!
Wontons+Tartare * (Can be made GF), (Local)
The servers and Chefs were all wonderful and accommodating when it came to choosing a gluten free dish. Instead of the Tartare being served with wontons we substituted with watermelon radish slices. The tartare was served a huge portion size and was big enough to share. The taste was good but this ain’t no beef carpaccio.
Daily Croquette Poutine * (Local)
This was a creative spin on the “poutine” I thought I was ordering. Really crispy, which I loved and the gravy was perfect. Was tasty, although I did not really taste the cheese in the dish.
Jerk Pork * (Can be made GF), (Local)
Pork belly on top of a rice and edamame cake. The flavors in this dish were bold, especially in the jerk sauce. This dish was awesome but I would personally like it better if the pork was jerk seasoned, not just the thick paste globbed on top. It was a bit difficult to evenly disperse the jerk “sauce” evenly. Some bites getting too much jerk and others not getting any at all. Overall this dish was good and glad it was gluten free. Also really enjoyed the presentation and look of the candied decor.
Whole Roasted Carrot Ginataan * (Vegan), (Local), (GF)
Just by looking at this dish, I was impressed. It was a fair portion size and felt like I was eating clean and healthy. The red and puffed quinoa were light yet filling and the roasted carrots were well done. Topped with coconut-ginger velouté, which kind of tasted like green curry to me…This was AWESOME.
Pasteis de Nata – Portuguese Egg Tart * (Local)
I was expecting a bit more from this, probably because I work in a bakery and love egg tarts. The taste was really nice and light but I found that it wasn’t cooked enough. It was a bit rubbery and jello like, which I’m not familiar with or fond of. The crust on top was delicious and I kind of wanted more of it.
Winter Vegetable Cheesecake* (Vegetarian), (Local)
This was a nice choice for a Gluten-free dessert, minus the cake crumbles on top. The taste was very healthy and did not really feel like I was eating dessert. Not typically a “sweet” I would crave because I am more of a chocolate dessert kind of girl but, it was well done for what they were trying to achieve.
Thank you Hawthorne Food and Drink for having me it was an awesome experience!