Sherman's Food Adventures: Vivace on the Drive

Vivace on the Drive

When Eileen asked if I was available for a meal at Vivace on the Drive, I wasn't too familiar with the place.  The only thing I knew was that it took over the spot where Federico's Supper Club used to be located.  Upon arriving at the place, I quickly knew we weren't in Kansas anymore...  Sporting a beautiful bar that occupies most of the restaurant, the place is now much more modern and completely inviting.  With a stage at the back of the restaurant, there continues to be live music as well as a big screen for all those soccer and rugby matches.

We arrived for a late lunch and as a rugby match was just coming to an end.  Loved the atmosphere of the place where it was packed and fans that were into the game as well as enjoying some eats and drinks.  So we decided to get in on the action with our own bevies including Blueberry Mojito, Mezcal Sour, La Vie Lavende and Peachy Paradise Orange Sour.  These were all very good and balanced.  My mojito had some fruitiness and of course herbeceousness.  The mezcal sour was tangy and lightly sweet.  Naturally, the lavender came through on the la vie lavende with some sweetness and gin finish.  For the peachy paradise, it was a virgin drink that was sweet and tangy.

Onto the food, we started with the Terrine made with ham hock, piccalilli and toasted brioche on the side.  This was a nice appie where the pork was tender and nicely brined.  It paired well with the lightly toasted brioche.  The bread stood up well to the hearty terrine, but was not dense nor hard to eat.  The piccalilli condiment added a mustardy tanginess to the mix that helped cut through the heaviness of the ham.

Next, we were presented with the Mushrooms on Toast topped by a soft-poached egg and whole seed mushroom dressing.  Although there was no meat to this dish, it ate very well with plenty of body.  Those sautéed mushrooms were earthy and buttery.  Soft-poached egg was perfectly delicate with a runny yolk while the mustard dressing was sweet and slightly tangy.  The bread held up to the wet ingredients without being too hard.

Although seemingly simple, the Full English Breakfast was satisfying and well-prepared.  It featured a plethora of back bacon, sausage, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, grilled toast and sunny-side eggs.  As you can clearly see, the eggs were perfect with runny yolks and tender whites.  The bread was nutty and nicely charred.  Mushrooms were like the previous dish while the sausage was meaty with little fat.

The following dish did not belong to their regular menu.  Rather, it is part of the Pasta Challenge until October 29th.  The L'Oceano Vivace featured squid ink tagliolini, lemon butter foam, chorizo, pan-seared scallops and trout roe.  Some EVOO on top for good measure.  This was fantastic with al dente pasta and when mixed with the foam, there was significant lemon tanginess.  Scallops were buttery and tender.

We also tried a few items from their dinner menu including the Pork Belly with pumpkin puree and cranberries.  This was fantastic where the large chunk of pork belly was tender with just enough fattiness.  It was nicely seared on all sides for caramelization and aesthetics.  Puree was creamy and sweet while the cranberries added another layer of sweetness combined with tartness.

Another seemingly simple, yet delicious dish was the Radicchio with grapefruit, pumpkin and fig.  The slice of radicchio was seared up nicely where it was smoky and tender.  However, it was still firm and wasn't overdone.  The sweetness of the pumpkin and fig helped temper the considerable amount of bitterness.  The grapefruit on top added both colour and some acidity to compliment the other flavours.

For dessert, we shared the Brioche & Butter Pudding with white chocolate and cardamom.  Oh wow, this was insanely delicious!  Beyond the appealingly charred exterior, the bread soaked up all of the white chocolate sauce.  Hence, it was well, pudding-like.  However, it contrasted beautifully with the crunchy and smoky exterior.  So we went into this meal not knowing what to expect.  But we came away impressed at the plating, overall execution and deliciousness of the meal.

*Partial comp on the meal as the drinks were extra

The Good:
- Appealing plating
- Well-executed
- Nice vibe and drinks

The Bad:
- Lunch menu is good but may need a few more items


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