Posted by Sherman Chan on Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Gosh, I haven't seen Hypno in years... Funny thing, we used to live within blocks of each other and we still didn't see each other much. Wait, was this a hint or something? Whatever the case, he was back in town and wanted to meet up for eats. After throwing out some ideas, we established the fact that we had to go somewhere that did not feature too much seafood (he doesn't eat seafood). Hence, my suggestion of Wildebeest was welcomed with open arms.
We started with a few small appies including the Spiced Pork Rinds. These were served majestically in a metal cup where they ate as good as they looked. Light, crispy and airy, each bite melted in my mouth after the initial crunch. There was no absence of seasoning where there was some sweet and salty smokiness going on. The only thing I would've liked to see was less grease as it could've been drained a bit better. Next, we tried the Poutine which was the beneficiary of a good amount of cheese curds. I couldn't tell if they were squeaky or not since they had all melted. With a sprinkle of black pepper, the gravy was both salty and peppery. As much as the fries were fresh-cut, I would've preferred them to be crispier (the parts not doused in gravy that is).
Onto some bigger starters, I tried the Roasted Veal Sweetbreads with charred heirloom onions, mission fig purée and spiced walnuts. I have to say this dish was on point (or should I say on fleek?) as the sweetbreads were expertly prepared. With a nice seared caramelized exterior which gave way to a tender bite with a rebound, this was as good as sweetbreads can get. The side of fig puree added an understated sweetness that complimented the onions and walnuts. Hypno decided on the Spring Beet Salad with shaved cucumber, compressed apple, ricotta salata, beetroot sorbet and miner’s lettuce. Beautifully plated with equally eye-catching colours, the salad was also good. The sweet Earthiness of the sorbet stayed within the theme of the dish where the beets themselves echoed the same flavours.
Onto our mains, I went for the Seared Venison with roasted cauliflower purée, grainy mustard spätzle, belgian endive and natural jus. Prepared a proper medium-rare, this ensured that the lean venison would be succulent and sufficiently tender. On the outside, there was a flavourful bark from the ample sear which added a smokiness to the meat. I thought the cauliflower puree was impactful with a natural sweetness. With a fluffy rebound and a crisp crust, the spätzle was well-executed. Hypno had the Angus Striploin with roasted fingerling potatoes & cipollini onions, onion purée, smoked salt and hay jus. As requested, the meat was just past medium-rare where it still maintained a succulence that resulted in a moist and tender chew. Again, the meat was obviously seasoned where the sweetness of onion emanated from the puree and cipollini onions.
For dessert, we shared the Wildebeest Cheesecake with strawberry sorbet and crumble. This was a super light and mildly sweet version where the "cheesecake" was akin to whipped cream. I personally would've preferred something more dense. on the other hand, the star of the plate was the natural-tasting smooth strawberry sorbet which added a sweet tang. The light crumble on top added more texture and sweetness. From the dishes we tried at Wildebeest, we were pretty content. Portion sizes weren't exactly large, but they were adequate. Unlike some others have stated, we received really good, unpretentious service.
- Well-prepared proteins
- Not deficient in seasoning
- Attentive service
- Portion sizes were modest