Visited LUMA with some of my favourite girls for dinner on the night of Feb 11 for Winterlicious. This restaurant is located on the second level of TIFF Bell Lightbox, a wonderfully cultured place displaying artsy, foreign, and unique movies that of which you would not find in your regular Cineplex theatres. With that being said, you can expect some classy food in a beautiful environment from this restaurant, also under the O&B restaurant chain.
This was the first Winterlicious visit for this restaurant for me, however I have had a regular dinner here once before for a friend’s birthday. Therefore, I was definitely looking forward to the quality of food at this place. Not to mention, the setup is comfortable and relaxing. Dimly-lit artistically by using open lightbulbs that hang straight down, along with lots of loungey booths and padded chairs for their seatings. Giant ceiling to floor windows overlooking down onto the busy King Street in the center of Toronto’s Entertainment District. The architecture and interior was done phenomenally to bring out the perfect date-night outing atmosphere against the dark night sky. This descriptive explanation was required because I was forgetful in taking a photo inside this nice restaurant unfortunately =___=. And won’t forget to mention that the service was excellent here, especially after what happened with the previous Winterlicious restaurant 2 nights ago which was literally right across the street from here (read below). But nonetheless, shall we begin with LUMA?
Before I move on to the food, I can’t believe I was so terribly forgetful on this night with so many of my photos, when I’ve been doing this for so many times already! But we actually all ordered drinks for this meal, the only time I’ve done so for this whole Winterlicious event! The waiter introduced to us the Apple Cider which you will see in the menu above. We got both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic (hot AND cold) versions amongst our group, and it was unanimously decided that it was a delicious cheers to go with our meal regardless of which version of the drink we got! *clink*
As usual, O&B restaurants all got their own in-house dips for their breads! Bread was warm, dip was good, enough said!
I read the name and saw celery and I’m pretty sure I immediately skipped over this at first. But then I ended up being more attracted to the soup than the other salad choices, so decided to give it a go despite that scary vegetable which I’m not too big of a fan of. However, the soup came and it was very dense and creamy… and I couldn’t taste the celery YAY! Was very strong in flavours of the other ingredients listed. I would say it was almost a bit too much and very heavy for an appetizer from what I remember. But still good soup!
Nabbed a bite of this and remembered it was very refreshing. You would feel a burst of *fresh fresh fresh* after eating the light airy mixture of radish and things! Definitely had a bit of asian fusion feel going on, and the sesame seeds worked out so well with everything, and surprisingly adding a different kick in flavour and texture! Preferred this over my soup as an appetizer.
This fish was cooked deliciously! Soft and flaked right off to melt into your mouth. I can’t remember the scallops anymore, but I do remember this to be a great seafood dish overall that I wish I had gotten! Verdict of the full meal from my girlfriend – YUMMY!
So I was debating for the longest time whether I wanted the Honey-Charred Chicken or this… and I ended up going with this. *Insert disappointment face here* I mean I knew I was going for a vegetarian dish and they tend to be a little more plain with less to work with. But for whatever reason that day, I felt like trying some ravioli for Winterlicious since that is one of my fave pasta dishes. Such a bad choice for Dreamz. I mean, I’ll give you that the ravioli itself was cooked well, and it was good food. But overall, it was just all really salty and cheesy was what I tasted the whole meal. Thought it was bit lacking I guess after trying everyone else’s dishes. Kinda wish I went with honeeeyyy and meaaaat. Actually had a tough time wanting to finish this dish =\.
MMmmmm mmmm! Read the description and you’ll know that this was definitely the most dynamic of the dishes. Photo-wise, I could have done better because this dish was just plated gorgeously from all angles. In terms of taste, the sauce and mixture of all things was superb. In terms of texture, me and my foodie girlfriend both felt that the pork was a little on the dry side. A bit hard to chew through, but given that it was a huge hunk of meat, it was still well made and a good dish to have, just not perfected. (Better than mine I’m sure *cough*)
So I got this thinking that it was more of pudding form… Well. What is it with me and getting these banana desserts at all these Winterlicious restaurants, and them coming out NOT AS EXPECTED??? LOL. Well if steamed pudding actually means a banana muffin, then I would give you that and I am also highly confused. Because that is literally what that thing was. I cut it open and it was a banana muffin. I have to say that Fred’s Not Here’s “bread pudding with chocolate chips” was a better banana muffin with chocolate chips than this one. At least that one had melted chocolate chips inside it. But it’s alright, at least there was ice cream and dried + fresh banana slices to save me from muffin.
So because I am not a person who can eat cheese on its own as a delicacy, I had to enlist in my wonderful friend, Esther’s help in reviewing this dessert. She is a foodie and a cheese fan, so she would be none other than the best in qualifications to tell me that this was a delicious cheese plate. She also mentioned that the side pieces that came along with the cheese gave some crispy and sweet textures, which mixed very well. I did get a chance to try one of those figs, to find that it was sweet and chewy and might even have stolen the show away from the cheese itself for Esther xD
Hmmm… coffee… not really my thing either. But it’s at least something that I can take to try out in a dessert. Or I thought… hehe. The coffee was way strong in this one! Texture was nice, but just too much coffee for me. You really gotta love your espresso if you’re gonna eat this, it just overpowers that chocolate. The biscotti was alright. Probably be able to find much better ones at local bakeries.
So that’s my deal for LUMA. Photos really do remind me of food tastes even after all this time! I also made extra special mental notes to remember during Winterlicious because I knew I’d have to write about them after! This place is really a great restaurant overall. I would definitely come back even if all the dishes weren’t spoken of perfectly in this review. I mean, the food itself is really good, just that the tastes weren’t quite to my likings this time around. So do give this place a try, and check out the movies at TIFF while you’re at it! Speaking of which… watching a movie at TIFF is still on my TO-DO list… argh!
Is now hungry at 1:30AM,
Winterlicious: $20 Lunch // $35 Dinner
Reservations: Not as busy as other O&B restaurant reservations, but advised to call early to secure your spots as they are fully seated even on weekday nights.
Attire: Business Casual / Business