Sherman's Food Adventures: Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar

Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar

Sometimes, our lives get so busy and complicated, we do not get a chance to hang out with friends.  Okay, let me rephrase that.  We do meet up with friends, but it is usually with family (aka with the kiddies), so it really isn't a night out.  So when Chill and Bubbly wanted to grab some dinner in Downtown on a Friday night, this was something out-of-the-blue.  In fact, we hadn't had dinner without the kids since we last ate at the long gone Cru on Broadway.  That was like 10 years ago!  LOL.  This time around, we decided to try out the new Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar out on Pender near Chill's office.

Despite being very tempting, we decided to order a la carte rather than share their family-style meals (maybe next time).  Before, that we got a few appies including 1/2 Dozen of Oysters with the usual accompaniments.  We had 3 each of Royal Miyagi and Kushi oysters which were shucked expertly without any shell fragments.  Both were fresh and I really liked how they included a wide variety of sauces such as mignonette, horseradish, cocktail sauce and aioli.  Looking like they forgot to plate the rest of the dish, the Grilled Octopus made up with quality over quantity.  Retaining an appealing firmness, the octopus was tender to the chew.  It was mildly seasoned with lemon and oregano while served with a fava bean puree.  This was pretty good, but for not a whole lot for $21.00.

Next, decided on one of their many spreads served with pita bread being the Menta.  As expected, there was a natural mint flavour to the spread as well as tangy creaminess.  At first, we thought the bread was oversalted, but on further inspection, it was in fact the dip that was salty.  It wasn't a huge deal in my opinion, but for those who want more balance, they might've disliked this.  We decided to get one side which was the Charred Cauliflower with grated mizithra and green herb oil.  We really loved this as the cauliflower was cooked all-the-way-through while still crunchy and vibrant.  It was charred just like its description where the smokiness came through.  Unlike the spread, this was not overseasoned which allowed the herb oil to come through.

Onto the mains, I ordered the Lamb Chops with aged vinegar drizzle over oven-fried potatoes.  I personally love lamb and since Viv doesn't really eat it, I tend to get it whenever I have the chance.  This was a good decision as the 3 portions of lamb rack were cooked to medium and well-seared on the outside.  Again, the seasoning was mild while the aged vinegar was also not very apparent.  Moving away from the red meats, Viv decided on the pan-roasted Pacific Salmon with lemon dill sauce.  This was a simple creation that was executed quite well.  Featuring well-seasoned crispy skin, the salmon itself was flaky and moist except for the thinner section.  The lemon dill wasn't exactly super impactful, but it was there.  Once again, the protein rested on the same over-fried potatoes.

Chill didn't stray far from the regular and had the Beef Tenderloin.  He asked for it to be prepared medium rare and it was char-grilled perfectly.  The meat was moist, well-rested and tender.  This was finished with a braised garlic sauce which was either subtle tasting or possibly there was just wasn't enough of it.  Hence, the fairly well-seasoned meat stood on its own. The most impressive-looking plate was the Grilled Angus NY Steak Skewer ordered by Bubbly.  This mostly had to do with the side of fire-roasted veggies served on the same plate.  For everyone else, it was served separately.  We really enjoyed the layered dish of potatoes, onion, green pepper, eggplant and tomatoes.  However, it was overly greasy.  As for her skewer, it was prepared medium and sported a delicious char.  Meat was moist and completely tender. The tangy yogurt added a refreshing bite to the dish.

No one was really interested in dessert, but Viv and I decided to get the Cream of the Crop anyways.  It was beautifully plated and didn't eat as sweet as it appeared.  Lots of tanginess provided by the lemon curd hidden within the meringue flower.  It was surrounded by praline sponge, more lemon curd, berries and a side of mandarin & blood orange caramel.  Even after dousing the meringue with the caramel, the dessert was balanced where the various flavours were not dominated by sweetness.  Overall, we felt that the meal was pleasant where it was served in a gorgeous dining space.  Service was top-notch as well.  Price point is a bit high for the type of food though.

The Good:
- Nice dining space
- On point service
- Proteins prepared properly

The Bad:
- Prices are high for the type of food
- Some portion sizes could be slightly bigger

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