Reviewed March 30, 2004   »   |     

Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar

9 Church St. - Toronto, Canada
Mediterranean Fish Soup | $11. Tender chunks of white fish floating in a splendid rich lobster bisque/bouillabaisse cream. A decently portioned accompaniment to the taster meal and a wonderful way to start the evening.

Poutine | fries with pecorino and lamb kebab, $8. Jamie's famous frites sit in an over-reduced stock that's a concentration of salty goodness, while grated pecorino and a cigar stub of a juicy piece of ground meat sit on top of the small mountain of just right fries. A nice play of flavours packed into an appetizer-sized portion of indulgence. No worry for those on a diet, as this is a nice little treat that won't tip your scale.

Moroccan Vegetable Tajine | $7. Juicy root vegetables (aubergine, zucchini, carrots and parsnips) and greens bathed in a fresh sauce of tomato and coriander seed; a perfect poached quail egg sits atop like a crown jewel. A nice little dish, that's not to be missed. Emphasis is on the small size once again (might as well order 2).

Braised Oxtail | Braised to ultimate tenderness, the jus of the rich oxtail is sweet, sticky and bursting with flavour. In addition, the delightful morsels are served with soft leeks and perched with a round of fried crouton topped with two intensely rich slices of bone marrow. An excellent dish, packed full of beefy goodness, gives you a surprising punch inside the mouth.

Conclusion: The food and the price for such compacted flavours in tapas-sized packages couldn't be any better, however the service is poor. Staff know how to keep customers queued by ignoring them, (you likely won't be greeted at the door, and there will be a lineup) even if you manage to make it early. But when you do make your way in, and are finally granted a table (or a seat at the chef's counter) service is slow. It seems like 50 minutes before someone takes our order. (There's no breadbasket, although you can order one with dips and a flaming rosemary sprig for $5.) In addition, people arriving after you, could end up eating before you. Even when you confront a server about your order you still wait nearly 20 minutes before a waiter delivers the first dish. Although it's quite fun to work your way through the menu of tapas-size dishes, don't expect to feed any immediate hungers due to the long waits. Once you do get the treasures set in front of you, feast. Note: Ensure that Chef Kennedy is at the kitchen station/bar (the best place to sit anyway) as I've heard horror stories of inconsistencies in the quality of food when he's not manning the stove.


out of 5.0


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