Winterlicious 2015 – Hawthorne

Ahh yes, the reviews are coming in later and later but I’m still going at it! With the goal to get all these done before Summerlicious comes around! LOL. Oh my lazy self just always kicks in, rolling around like a useless ball after having a big delicious meal :’)

And next up we have Hawthorne – also a newcomer to the licious scene this year. Picked this place because I literally work right beside this little gem, and so it would be the perfect spot to try for lunch! Been here before for regular meals, so I know they have good quality fresh food, and the licious menu is definitely a steal for that price for the three courses (cheapest price range what what?)! It’s not a very big place, but you can tell they put a lot of thought into their decor, putting together a unique cozy and simple modern setting to enjoy a good meal at. During the day, their full-length wall-to-wall windows allow you to soak in the outdoors environment and people watch, while people also walk by and glance at you eating your delicious food =P. At night, they dim down their interior lights to give a bit of a fancier intimate dining feel. A very cute place indeed.

I also learned that Hawthorne is part of an organization called the HWTC, where skilled workers come in to work and train in order to better their skills in the kitchen and workplace. I think that’s such a great restaurant community and makes you realize it doesn’t require all top tier experts to create amazing food. More info about this can be found on their website. And now let’s get to what I remember about their dishes!

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Small comfy restaurant and completely brightly lit with outdoor natural lighting
Small comfy restaurant and completely brightly lit with outdoor natural lighting

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A tasty warm mushroom soup. It’s flavoured well so that you don’t only get that strong mushroom earthy taste (which is what I dislike about mushrooms). And those fried enoki bits were a great texture and tasteful addition to the soup!

Appetizer - Woodland Mushroom Bisque
Appetizer – Woodland Mushroom Bisque

Wow, this is probably the best form of gnocchi I have ever eaten. It was piping hot fresh on the plate that I had to blow on it a bit before devouring the pieces. But they were so good it was hard not to immediately bite into the very thinly crispy fried outer layer, which leads into this creamy soft innards of sweet potato-ness. Mmmm, this is waaaay better than sweet potato fries hands down! The addition of the creme fraiche and the bit of veggies helps to even it out so it doesn’t seem like you’re just eating fried pub food – not that the quality would ever make you think that anyway. One of my favourite appetizers of the event for sure!

Appetizer - Sweet Potato Gnocchi Fritti
Appetizer – Sweet Potato Gnocchi Fritti

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Didn’t get to personally taste this dish, but my sources say that this was a very nicely cooked and put together dish. Has all the elements of a coq au vin and the meat was tender and well flavoured. Seems to me like a heavier dish – I’d prefer it for dinner rather than lunch. But for those who like their lunches meaty, this is the fancy way to go!

Entree - Mulled Wine Coq Au Vin
Entree – Mulled Wine Coq Au Vin

A very unique type of lunch dish. In fact I found all their dishes on the menu to be rather unique and different and I love that for licious restaurants! The tart looks small but was very dense and filling indeed! That chunk of cheese on top was a little much for me by overpowering my tastebuds, but the tart itself was done very well. The shell was the right flaky softness and there was A LOT of flavours and ingredients going on in the whole plate itself. It was like a little bit of everything thrown in, which is good, but not necessarily fully complementing at all times. I felt I was getting something a little too different depending on how I mixed the bites, rather than a consistent meld of flavours that always worked alongside the main item. However, it was an enjoyable dish indeed… until I got to the salad part xD just kidding! The apples and the dressing made it all good :)

Entree - Rustic Savoury Tart
Entree – Rustic Savoury Tart

The items on the plate seem a little simple and normal, yet arranged very nicely. The sandwich tasted very nice when put together. The brisket was tender and smoked with that bbq goodness in meats. Those crispy onion strings are always welcomed on sandwiches and burgers to take it to the next level. Well flavoured and a very homey feel to a lunch meal.

Entree - Applewood Smoked Brisket
Entree – Applewood Smoked Brisket

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Nicely done creme brulee. Nothing too special about it… did the black walnut stand out or make any differences to this dessert? Not at all, I don’t think I knew that existed… but the creme brulee was a good one nonetheless!

Dessert - Black Walnut Creme Brulee
Dessert – Black Walnut Creme Brulee

Oooo, this was a heavy ending for a lunch dessert, but it was soooo yummy. Soft little pieces of dessert bread pudding drenched in this wonderful sauce and powdered sugar. With juicy plums to give an extra oomph to the dessert. Absolutely lovely~

Dessert - Pumpkin and Spiced Plum Bread Pudding
Dessert – Pumpkin and Spiced Plum Bread Pudding

Awww, such a cozy little dessert that’s also completely different than your typical restaurant offerings. I mean, it’s pretty straightforward I guess, but still a very nice way to end off a meal! *smiling milk moustache*

Dessert - Cookie with Spiced Almond Milk
Dessert – Cookie with Spiced Almond Milk

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Unfortunately I did not get a chance to take my own outfit photo (rush rush rush back to work after a heavenly lunch >__<).

Dress Style – Casual Nice. This restaurant is so chill and cozy that you can walk in with casual clothes and not feel weird about it. I would suggest something a little nicer than mere casual just because the environment is done up nicely (especially at night), and you often get the work crowd in the area in their business outfits in here!

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And that’s it for this quaint little restaurant! Highly recommend coming here for lunch especially, as I think their pricing and portions for lunch are much more worth it for a regular day. Always get top quality and fresh Ontario goodness from this place! If you’re into the smaller and more intimate dining scene, this place is perfect~

Pieceeee (of cake) Outtt,
Dreamz*

http://hawthorneto.ca/
Restaurant: Hawthorne
Winterlicious: $18 Lunch // $25 Dinner
Reservations: They’re very tiny but also not as well known / accessible. Would definitely make a reservation for licious before walking in though!
Attire: Casual Nice

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