[Recap] Summerlicious 2015 – Harlem

This is the last review I have here for my Summerlicious recaps, and as we end here, we’ll be beginning with Winterlicious 2016 very soon! I hope you all have your restaurants planned out for the next 2 weeks, and if not, don’t worry there’s still time to review, research, and pick your favourite ones :)

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Harlem is a cute little gem of a restaurant located a little further out from the usual fancy financial district line of restaurants. It sits in an intersection that’s not very populated (Richmond & Church), but with a name that’s rising in popularity due to its unique style and tastes, people definitely know where to find it. Harlem does soul food and they do it authentically well. The restaurant itself is super cozy, and has their menu on a vinyl record on regular nights (I hope they still do this because it was a while ago since I last went). This was the first time for me visiting the restaurant during the summer, and I’m super happy that I discovered their amazing patio on a beautiful sunny day when I dined there for Summerlicious! The whole restaurant is perfect where it is because it provides the right chillin’ and jammin’ kinda vibe to go with their culture of food. So let’s check out their licious run~

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Outdoor patio seating to the side of the restaurant in an alleyway area between two buildings. Closed off with a bit of roofing to block out some sun.
Outdoor patio seating to the side of the restaurant in an alleyway area between two buildings. Closed off with a bit of roofing to block out some sun.

Gorgeous artwork all over the walls of the buildings where the patio seating was.
Gorgeous artwork all over the walls of the buildings where the patio seating was.

The restaurant probably has one of my favourite unique summer patios in downtown Toronto. Because it’s not located in a busy area of the city, sitting on the streets between 2 buildings outdoors on a nice day really gives you the perfect chilling spot for lunch. You would be surrounded by all the graffiti and artworks everywhere you looked, and it was just so cultural and fun to eat in such an environment. You almost expect a Jamaican band to appear and start drummin’ on the corner of the patio under the sun! And yes, they do have overhead covering so you’re not burning your head off while enjoying your meal :)

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Appetizer - Cornbread
Appetizer – Cornbread

Unfortunately, after having the cornbread from America Restaurant (which I keep raving about in all my reviews that you’re prob sick of it now), this was somewhat underwhelming. I’m not even sure if I can find cornbread as delicious as that anywhere else… even if that wasn’t fully authentic *cries* This cornbread felt a little too dry and the taste wasn’t really there for me.

Appetizer - Pear Salad
Appetizer – Pear Salad

This salad was exactly what you’d expect. A salad – refreshing, crunchy, healthy :) Freshly sliced pears :9

Appetizer - Fried Okra
Appetizer – Fried Okra

Personally, I’m not a fan of okra so I can’t give you an accurate rating of how good or bad this was. But I’m pretty sure this tastes exactly like what it is haha. Deep fried vegetable – not too oily, not too hard. A good balance but I just don’t know what it is about okra that I just don’t really enjoy… its texture or flavour? Deep frying it still doesn’t make me like it =P

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Entree - Roasted Jerk in Coconut Bread
Entree – Roasted Jerk in Coconut Bread

I thought this dish was quite enjoyable. However, it was noted by those who can handle spicier foods that they felt the jerk chicken could use more jerk. For me, it was good enough because I can’t handle foods that are too spicy, but I understand that normally jerk foods are expected to give quite a kick! The coconut bread was super soft and yummy, and the meat was extremely tender. A perfect lunch meal sandwich!

Entree - Caribbean Curried Vegetable Stew
Entree – Caribbean Curried Vegetable Stew

The curry here was very flavourful, but everything else was mediocre in the sense that it was quite average and exactly what you see on the plate in terms of tastes. A solid curry and that’s about it.

Entree - Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles
Entree – Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles

Ahh, the chicken and waffles, a popular dish all around for this event. The deep fried chicken was very tasty. Crunchy on the outside with nice soft chicken meat on the inside. The waffles were also soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside – meaning they were freshly made! A good sweet and sour dipping sauce for the chicken, and of course the sweet syrup for the waffles! Everything delivered to expectations here!

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Dessert - Candied Plantain
Dessert – Candied Plantain

These are my favourite things that they serve here. Their plantains are warm, sweet, soft, and absolutely delicious! This would be the item that brings me back to this restaurant for a craving of this dessert :D

Dessert - Bread Pudding
Dessert – Bread Pudding

I didn’t really enjoy the bread pudding. The raisins were overpowering here, and the textures were not quite soft enough for a good bread pudding. The accompanying ice cream scoop was however very good. Soft and melty, kinda like having vanilla soft serve instead.

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Attire - Casual
Attire – Casual

Very casual and relaxing environment. Look at that young high school girl attire that I’m even sporting there… =_=”

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This restaurant is a great place to dine. It’s such a good deal because they’re on the cheaper spectrum for licious, and totally worth it! You come here to have a great time enjoying good food for a good cheap price, and that’s exactly what they give ya. I think coming here in the summer is a much better choice because you’ll get to sit at the awesome patio that takes you to another place entirely. If you’re looking for some real soul home-cooked kinda southern style dishes, this is the place to be no doubt!

Let the licious continue on,
Dreamz*

http://www.harlemrestaurant.com/
Restaurant: Harlem Restaurant
Summerlicious: $18 Lunch // $25 Dinner
Reservations: Quite a small and cozy restaurant, so not a lot of seats. A couple more seats open up in the summer due to the patio seating. Reservations recommended during busy hours, walk-ins might be acceptable. Restaurant is getting pretty popular lately though :)
Attire: Casual

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