[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – Cluny Bistro

It looks like Cluny continues to be a crowd favourite every licious event! There’s always more people who want to come and try it out, and as a place with consistently good food and just such a unique beautiful environment, I just couldn’t turn down another Cluny outing to introduce more people to this place! And here we have another lunch review from 2016:

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Trying to shoot some different environment shots every time since I’ve reviewed this place so often in the past!

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Drinks - Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (left), Guava Strawberry Orange Juice (right)
Drinks – Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (left), Guava Strawberry Orange Juice (right)

Always fresh and delicious!

Basket of Mixed Bread & Butter (a bit hard)
Basket of Mixed Bread & Butter (a bit hard)

There was lots to choose from in this bread basket – one of them had a slight chili taste, another was multigrain. The bread seemed to be left out and was a bit hard and cold this time around, but the insides were still soft and fresh.

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Appetizer - Barley & Red Lentil Soup
Appetizer – Barley & Red Lentil Soup

This soup had lots of ingredients, so much that it was almost stew-like! The base had an unexpected sourness to it, maybe there’s some sauerkraut in there somewhere? It came kinda lukewarm though, not hot.

Appetizer - White Truffle Brulée
Appetizer – White Truffle Brulée

I wasn’t sure what to expect for this dish, but when this showed up I was pleasantly surprised! The focaccia bread was absolutely amazing. It had some garlic inside and tasted sooo good even on its own. The brulée was very hummus-like in texture and looks. Super creamy and tasty. The pear was sweet and cold and everything just went together nicely for a perfect summer appetizer! Top pick!

Appetizer - Escarole, Goat Cheese & Pear Salad
Appetizer – Escarole, Goat Cheese & Pear Salad

A standard salad – the leafs were a bit bitter and peppery to me. The brittle was sweet and added a nice crunch to everything.

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Entree - Chili Marinated Grilled Head on Prawns
Entree – Chili Marinated Grilled Head on Prawns

The veggies and the grits in the sauce were very flavourful and tasty. The very large prawns were not too spicy. There was a good balance of sauce and flavours on this plate for sure.

Entree - Beef Tongue Pastrami Tartine
Entree – Beef Tongue Pastrami Tartine

The beef tongue was very chewy and tender (maybe a bit too chewy in some parts). The mustard sauce that went with everything had a sweetness to it that made it extra tasty. The bread was nicely toasted. And of course their fries are perfect every time I have a dish with that on it :D

Entree - Baked French Cassoulet
Entree – Baked French Cassoulet

Inside the Cassoulet
Inside the Cassoulet

So there were lots of beans on the bottom of this. The breading on top was crunchy like bread crumbs. The duck meat inside was soft and shredded easily, being kept warm and soft inside the pot. This was full of very strong flavours of all the different ingredients mixing together. Something a little different on the licious menu! Definitely a good dish for people that enjoy the heavier stuff!

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Dessert - Bittersweet Chocolate Macaron
Dessert – Bittersweet Chocolate Macaron

This was definitely a very dark chocolate macaron and was made very well. The sauce was very sour in contrast. Definitely a dessert to please the palette of those who are not fans of the sweets!

Dessert - Raspberry Profiterole
Dessert – Raspberry Profiterole

I like that they brought back their signature profiterole dessert on their licious menu, but it’s also a different flavour than before. The raspberry one this time was very light and fluffy and not too sour like the real fruit. The chantilly and chocolate and crunchy topped it all off nicely! Loved it just as much as the first time I had it a year prior!

Dessert - Poire William Sorbet
Dessert – Poire William Sorbet

This sorbet was just as if you took a very very sweet pear and mushed it into yummy ice form! The pear flavour was super strong and tasty. The sorbet was not too cold nor too icy – just the perfect mixture. You also get a very very large scoop!

Take Home Goodies from Cluny's Bakery
Take Home Goodies from Cluny’s Bakery

Highly suggest stopping by the bakery on your way out and grabbing some delicious French goodies to enjoy at home later on!

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Attire - Casual
Attire – Casual

A weekend lunch is pretty easy going and comfy with attire, but think of a pretty french bistro kind of decor that you’ll be dining at.

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I remember how Cluny rose to the top of the recommendations list the first time, but didn’t wow me as much the second time during dinner. So this third lunch test was a real test of consistency and to see how their food has changed over the year. I’m happy to report that they are still doing a fabulous job at keeping true to their quality. This is still definitely a restaurant at the top of my recommendations list for anyone going to licious! Just have to make the trek over to distillery district, but you should definitely take the time to enjoy the historical area and unique shops while you’re there!

Sweetest Fooding,
Dreamz*

http://www.clunybistro.com/
Restaurant: Cluny Bistro
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: It’s pretty big so they can seat a lot, but they’re always full of people for this event!
Recommended Attire: Casual / Business Casual

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[Recap] Summerlicious 2015 – Cluny

After having an amazing lunch at this place when they first joined for licious a year ago from now, I knew I wanted to go back here for a dinner meal during Summerlicious 2015. And so I did! The vibe and atmosphere at night was just as amazing as during the day. The dimmer lights at night give the place a good outdoor French bistro on a cozy street corner kinda feel. The decor of this place is still one of my favourites for Toronto restaurants. Cute little story was that I happened to bump into my best friend also having dinner here on the same night, just at a table diagonal to me! What a sweet surprise! This place is definitely the new place everyone wants to try out in Distillery District. The great thing is you can take the time to enjoy the historic attractions after your meal too :) So, let’s get right to it!

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Drinks - House Sangria with White Wine (left) and Red Wine (right)
Drinks – House Sangria with White Wine (left) and Red Wine (right)

Myself not the biggest fan of sangrias – but I liked how they had both white and red here. I’m more of a white wine kinda gal so I enjoyed the white one more. Red sangrias tend to be a little more dry and sour. But both were very tasty sangrias and filled to the brim with fresh fruits as you can see!

Drinks - Joie de Vivre (Left), Aviator (Right)
Drinks – Joie de Vivre (Left), Aviator (Right)

So, let me talk to you about my drink for a minute, which was the one on the left. This drink probably means nothing to you by name, but let me tell you that the general ingredients were amaretto, egg white, and cinnamon. If you follow my food reviews, you’ll know that I’m definitely a sweet tooth for everything. Amaretto is always a safe bet with me when it comes to alcohol because, well, sweet and smooth! But let me tell you… this drink. It is STILL, to this date… the best alcoholic cocktail I have had to drink in my personal opinion. If I had a cocktail defining me – this would be it. I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this drink because it was like drinking dessert in alcoholic form out of a fancy glass. If I could borrow Thor for a minute – please click here for what I mean in picture form. I really hope they still have it next time I go because I’m craving it… Oh. And the one on the right was a gin with Violette – not mah type of strong alcohol but it was very nice to look at xD

Quinoa Rye, Olive Bread, and Baguette with Butter
Quinoa Rye, Olive Bread, and Baguette with Butter

Wow! Don’t you love variety and choices?! Especially great because this place has a cute little bread station in the center of the restaurant where you can see all sorts of breads! Then they cut them up and bring them to you. Everything is just so cute :) I’m not sure if I had a favourite out of these, but I think I liked them all the same here!

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Appetizer - Yellow Tomato Gazpacho
Appetizer – Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

This soup actually had a little bit of spicy heat to it! Unbeknownst to me, it was a surprise, but otherwise a nice chill soup to start. Nothing in particular to note. Ooo look at that pretty dishware!

Appetizer - Smoked Trout Rillette
Appetizer – Smoked Trout Rillette

Inside the Smoked Trout Rillette
Inside the Smoked Trout Rillette

The rillette had a pretty hard shell that I had to break into to get at the fish. I’m not too sure what the shell was exactly, but it had no taste and was a bit mushy in texture like hard potatoes. It was kinda like eating clay maybe… but once I got to the fish it was much better lol. The fish itself was very flaky and a tad dry, but taste-wise it was all there. Personally I prefer these with a little more creamier sauces mixed in to prevent the fish from being too dry in your mouth. The pickled veggies on the side turned out to be VERY sour… too sour for me to enjoy =P It’s ok though, smoked trout saved the day.

Appetizer - Spinach and Buffalo Ricotta Salad
Appetizer – Spinach and Buffalo Ricotta Salad

The salad was nice and crunchy and had a good sweetness to it from the ricotta cheese. A pretty standard what you would expect kind of salad from the photo and ingredients listed. It was healthy and refreshing and a very enjoyable starter for sure!

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Entree - Braised Short Rib Burger
Entree – Braised Short Rib Burger

So I picked the burger half because I remembered how awesome their fries were from the lunch I had before. And no doubt the fries were the same and absolutely awesomely thin, crisp, and delicioussssss~ However, the ribs in the burger I found to be a little bland in taste and too dry. I think it would’ve been much better if some barbecue sauce was added to the mix. A little bit of a disappointment there, but the fries were phenomenal!

Entree - Moroccan Style Pork Shoulder Pot Roast
Entree – Moroccan Style Pork Shoulder Pot Roast

This was a very interesting dish for sure. Definitely very healthy tasting and stew-like. The pork was fatty, soft, and tender (sorry did I say healthy?). The dish overall turned out to feel very light though, while having a good hearty meaty taste from the pork. A newer kind of dish to me for this event.

Entree - Marinated Albacore Tuna Salad
Entree – Marinated Albacore Tuna Salad

The salad was slightly spicy and not too saucy. The tuna had a light fish taste. I especially enjoyed the large thick pieces. The pickled cucumbers added a nice touch to the dish as well.

Entree - Grilled Asparagus Crepe
Entree – Grilled Asparagus Crepe

The crepe was sooo thin and crispy, made perfectly. The asparagus was… well… asparagus. LOL. It’s a vegetable… that I don’t really like the taste of… and it tasted like what asparagus would taste like! So yea… that crepe…… hahaha

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Dessert - Blueberry Sorbet
Dessert – Blueberry Sorbet

A sweet and soft sorbet. Not overly icy. Lovely cold finish to a summer meal! Full of blueberries and blueberry flavour :)

Dessert - Banana Buttermilk Pudding
Dessert – Banana Buttermilk Pudding

Definitely packed this pudding with bananas because it had a very very strong banana taste. Texture was soft and mushy, with a sweet crunch from the accompaniments. Also, think western style pudding here, not the japanese style jiggly stuff. I thought this was a heavier dessert with strong flavours, but I enjoyed it. If you do not like bananas though, you probably won’t enjoy it. LOL

Dessert - French Apricot Galette
Dessert – French Apricot Galette

Look-wise, this would be the most drool worthy dessert I feel. But oddly enough, the flavour combination didn’t mesh too well with me on this one. The dried apricots were a little too sour for this dessert, and I’m not sure if it worked out overall with that sesame ice cream on top. I thought the fusion with the western pastry and the asian ice cream was a little weird and didn’t complement each other properly as a dessert. Womp womp~ I prefered to eat them separately as separate dessert things.

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Attire - Business Casual
Attire – Business Casual

The ambiance is just so nice in here! High fashion European styles would fit here for sure! But dining customer attire is pretty open and casual friendly still.

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So overall, I was still very happy with the place although not every dish was perfection. It didn’t live up to my hype in terms of food tastes from when I was last here for lunch, but it did meet my expectations as a whole. Environment is always a bonus for being so pretty, and the people being so kind. I feel the food was almost to perfection but just missing a bit here and there. I hope they will continue to improve and update their dishes because I would love to keep coming back and trying all the things they have to offer! Viva Cluny! Wait, that’s not French… Cluny… est magnifique!

Au revoir,
Dreamz*

http://www.clunybistro.com/
Restaurant: Cluny Bistro
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $35 Dinner
Reservations: This place is the new hip place, so make sure you make your reservations early to snag the good times. It’s pretty big so they can seat a lot, but they’re always full for this event!
Attire: Business Casual

The Summerlicious 2015 Lineup

Summerlicious has already started! Have you gotten your reservations in for this year’s restaurants yet? If not, it’s still early and the event is running from July 3 – 26 this time around, so you still have a chance! Don’t miss out! Feel free to check out my past restaurant reviews to make your pick! Here is my upcoming list of restaurants I will be reviewing this time:

– America
– Splendido
– Cluny
– Copa Cabana
– Harlem

This time around, I’ll be mostly sticking to returning to some new favourites from Winterlicious, in order to check out consistency in deliciousness! But there are some new ones in there that I will be trying with friends and family so I will let you know how they go!

Enjoy this round of Summerlicious all! <3

Dreamz*

Summerlicious Website:
http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=04deaf2c85006410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

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

Winterlicious 2015 – Line ‘Em Up!

For those of you who are following along this time around, here’s my upcoming restaurant list that I shall be reviewing (click names to be linked to website!):

La Société
Five Doors North
Cluny
Canoe
Hawthorne
Splendido
America
Biff’s Bistro

Trying out a good mix of everything this time around. Got some lunches and dinners. As well as both high-end well-known restaurants mixed with some newer or out of the radar restaurants. Looking forward to trying a lot of these newer places and reporting on them! Hope you have some delicious plans coming up as well!

Can’t wait to nomnom!
Dreamz*