July 8, 2013

Summerlicious @ Café Boulud

Summerlicious this year started out at Café Boulud, a restaurant that I've been meaning to try for a while. The lunch menu is $25 for three courses. They modified the lunch menu slightly so it's a little different from the online one that was released earlier from the Summerlicious website. 
Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, the vibe was unexpectedly casual and fun. That said, service was still top notch!
Three types of bread were served with salted butter. I was particularly fond of the brioche (on the right).
My sister decided not to order from the Summerlicious menu and ordered two things à la carte instead. She had the seared albacore tuna ($16) to start, and it came with spring radish, edamame, yuzu vinaigrette, and katsuo mirin spice. I had a piece of the seared tuna and it was lovely. I also loved the presentation and that vibrant, bright green sauce. Eating colourful things tends to make me a happier person.
Raymond had the marinated squid salad- baby gem lettuce, cilantro, shrimp cracker, jalapeño and lime gremolata, He thought it was a pretty ordinary salad. 
My mom had the heirloom tomato salad- tomato consommé, pecorino fresca, basil, black olive. Probably the most unadventurous choice out of the three but it was still tasty. 
I had the chickan galantine with smoked bacon, green almonds, black olives, watercress, mustard crisp. I think I had galantine once before and didn't really enjoy it. I'm happy to report that I very much liked this one! 
My sister also ordered a crispy duck egg (not from Summerlicious menu)- jambon de paris, asparagus, and mustard dressing ($18). I think this was one of Café Boulud's signature dishes here and our server proclaimed that it was her favourite! We were instructed to just smash the egg apart and have the runny yolk spill over everything and that's exactly what we did! Even though I only had a bite of the egg, I thought it was a stand out! My sister particularly enjoyed the creamy mustard dressing. 
Raymond had the Mediterranean sea bass with cocoa bean and cucumber salad, coriander, and cumin sheep's yogurt. I didn't try any because of the sheep's yogurt, but the verdict was that the fish was rather mediocre. 
Two of us had the roasted Cumbrae beef with tuscan potatoes, salsa verde, broccoli rate and calabrian chili. I thought this was very well executed. The salsa verde complemented the beef very well, and the fries-like potato were strangely delicious!
Out of the two I tried, my favourite main was the sweet corn risotto, with summer savory and fromage frais. The creamy risotto was luxuriously rich and the flavours were really bold and delightful. Although I couldn't detect much of the corn, it was nevertheless very tasty. My mom was not a fan of  the "undercooked rice' texture, but for me it was perfect. It was, however, quite heavy, so sharing is highly recommended!
Desserts were also standouts! First up, we tried the chocolate gateau with cocoa nibs, dark chocolate mousse, and limoncello sorbet. If you're a dark chocolate fan, this dessert would be your cup of tea. The chocolate gateau was intensely rich and dark, and the sorbet provided a nice, tart contrast. 
There were two sundaes on the dessert menu, and both were fabulous! Even when we were looking the menu, it was really difficult to pick between the two because both sounded so good.! My mom, the passion fruit-lover, had the passion fruit and banana sundae with mango, vanilla crumble and meringue.  The passion fruit and banana ice cream was much more passion fruit than banana (I could barely taste the banana) and it went incredibly well with all the components in the sundae- especially the vanilla crumble in the bottom. I had the other choice- tonka bean sundae with chocolate genoise, candied pecans, maple caramel, and tonka bean chantilly. I wasn't really sure what tonka beans were, and our server informed us that its flavours resemble a mix of coffee, caramel and hazelnut. I was immediately sold since I love all three. The tonka bean ice cream was a pleasant surprise!  To me, the flavours were nutty and resembled caramel (but not very intense) with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I particularly liked that it wasn't overly sweet. Make sure you dig to the bottom of the cup to get to the chocolate genoise! I didn't realize it was there until I almost finished the entire sundae! 
I was very impressed with my meal at Café Boulud. The food was outstanding (at least everything that I ordered) and the service was impeccable. I was also really happy that it was so convenient to make a reservation on Opentable (unlike some other popular choices like Canoe, where you basically have to stand by your phone for an hour and call them until they pick up!) I would definitely want to come back again in the near future.
Cafe Boulud on Urbanspoon



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