Winterlicious 2015 – Cluny Bistro

Cluny Bistro was one of my last minute picks while I was looking around for newer restaurants to try. Came across a suggestion of this place from a blog, and after finding out they were situated in Distillery District and was a French-style bistro, I decided it was a good new place to try for a cute lunch. This is actually also the first time they were listed for a licious event, so lots of firsts here! Their website actually caught my attention and excitement, then their menu had me jumping up and down so ready to try this place! Needless to say, the novelty of this place and their unique menu definitely made this one of the top restaurants I was looking forward to this whole event. The restaurant was opened not long ago, in the summer of 2014, and headed by Chef Paul Benallick from Ontario, whom worked in many of the O&B restaurants before Cluny. So with little known about this newer place, let’s see how it went!

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I was absolutely blown away by the interior of this place when walking in. I did not expect to be so immersed in an environment that was designed to bring you into a place which is exactly how you would feel like being at a nice fancy bistro in France. The decor everywhere was stunningly intricate and beautiful, and was made to be themed as a comfy bistro situated outdoors in a nice day in France. The furniture, ceiling and walls were all so perfect *o* I was in French bistro heaven!
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The waiters and waitresses would actually go to and from this station to cut up the bread and deliver it to the tables. Loved it!

Neat little bread cutting station in the middle of the restaurant!
Neat little bread cutting station in the middle of the restaurant!

Such a classy, yet modern design for their menus and cutlery!
Such a classy, yet modern design for their menus and cutlery!

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Started the brunch off with some freshly squeezed juices. Very refreshing and smooth, and was just pureeee liquid juice.

Brunch Drinks - Fresh Pear Juice & Fresh Pomegranate Blueberry Juice
Brunch Drinks – Fresh Pear Juice & Fresh Pomegranate Blueberry Juice

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Starting the meal off with some pumpkin soup, one of the few dishes I enjoy my pumpkin in (yes, don’t hate me but I never had a liking for the taste of pumpkin pie)! The bisque itself was a well balanced mix of being not too dense and not too watery either. The nuts added a really nice texture to it. Had a good savoury flavour with a bit of sweetness that went nicely altogether as a solid pumpkin soup.

Appetizer - Spice Roasted Pumpkin Bisque
Appetizer – Spice Roasted Pumpkin Bisque

The terrine was very delicious. Nice cold soft chicken meats pressed together with lots of good tasting other stuff! I especially loved the addition of the tomato with what appears to be topped by a soft smooth sardine??? That’s what it felt/tasted like to me, but it was so soft and didn’t have the usual strong fishy sardine taste to it, that I’m not too sure myself. But everything on the plate came perfectly together, giving each bite a wonderful and flavourful super smoooooth blend of tastes.

Appetizer - Pressed Chicken Terrine
Appetizer – Pressed Chicken Terrine

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THIS. WAS. HANDS DOWN. THE. BEST. CALAMARI. I. HAVE. EVER. EATEN. No lie… the first bite I had into this calamari dish, I looked up at my partner before even finishing it and I said “IT’S SO GOOD I FEEL LIKE I’M EATING CALAMARI PILLOWS IN MY MOUTH”. It was the softest and most tender calamari I have ever eaten! I didn’t even know they could be cooked like this!!! My life is forever changed. The calamari itself was definitely the highlight, but the sauce itself was also good because it wasn’t too strong in tomato flavouring, and also at the right consistency for the seafood (not too chunky and not too watery). This was a heavenly dish from the heavenly French bistro.

Entree - Tomato & Saffron Braised Calamari
Entree – Tomato & Saffron Braised Calamari

Let’s see, the meat was super tender, the “slaw”/sauerkraut was good, the pickle was fresh, the mustard didn’t overpower at all (even me the mustard hater could handle it), the bread was like soft milk bun… it was basically just a very yummy meat sandwich! Those fries were also killer addictive! So thin and slightly crispy yet soft, nicely flavoured with salt and spices! The perfect fancy lunch sandwich to be had!

Entree - Alsatian Choucroute Sandwich (braised pork shank)
Entree – Alsatian Choucroute Sandwich (braised pork shank)

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Oh man, such delicious cream puffs (that’s what I call them). Easy to bite into and the creams did not overflow to make a mess. Presented beautifully as well. Carefully stacked with a bit of chocolate and chantilly to hold them together. The centers were filled with a room temperature hazelnut chantilly I believe? The chantilly on the sides were soooo delicious. I was about the lick the plate clean at the end of it all. NEED. MORE.

Dessert - Roasted Hazelnut Profiteroles
Dessert – Roasted Hazelnut Profiteroles

Granita is similar to a sorbet, but specifically an Italian dessert made semi-frozen with water, sugars, and whatever ingredients to give the flavour involved. It’s more icey than regular sorbet it seems. Tasted like a berry/fruity sorbet to me, but a slightly harder texture from the half frozen iciness of it. Was still flavourful though and not icey water tasting at all. A good cold finisher!

Dessert - Pomegranate Granita
Dessert – Pomegranate Granita

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A beautifully decorated restaurant that definitely gives you a nicer vibe. For lunch I would totally come here with colourful nice outfits. For dinner, I can definitely picture a fancier vibe from the decor, even if it’s still very comfortable and bistro-like at its core. Not supposed to be a “fancy” restaurant at all, but the decor can bring dressing it up a notch I feel. I was intentionally dressed for something else that day though, but it worked nicely with the environment for me!

Dress Style - Business Casual / Casual Nice
Dress Style – Business Casual / Casual Nice

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Hands down one of my favourite restaurants this licious event. All the food was amazing with no complaints. The decor still wows me to this day. Definitely a recommendation to all, and I do wish to come back here in the summer. I think it’s the perfect setting being in the distillery district, and I’d love to go back on a regular day just to walk around the area and have their food again. It really was that good and I hear they have amazing brunches regularly as well! Can’t wait to come back to this place and see what great things they continue to offer :) *squeaaaaal*

Absolutely Foodishly Delighted,
Dreamz*

http://www.clunybistro.com/
Restaurant: Cluny Bistro
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $35 Dinner
Reservations: Do reserve in advance. Having lots of seats, they were at full capacity for weekend brunch dining already.
Attire: Business Casual / Casual Nice

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