My friend Jojo has tried to make sure we are going to dine during Winterlicious since last December. Last year I have brought him with me trying out Prohibition Gastrohouse . This year, he was on anticipation when Winterlicious came back for this season. This time around, we went out dining at Pangaea with two more friends, Raymond and Randall.
It didn’t take too much to find the restaurant. Just by the Bay Station by the Bloor line, it was easily accessible for me commuting. When I located the restaurant, I saw that my friend Raymond was already there. The restaurant had a deceptively small façade from the sidewalk. It was definitely a surprise that soon as you walk in, the ceilings were high and the dining room was huge. We were led towards a quieter section of the restaurant on the side of Bay St., where the ceiling was made of tinted glass. Much as I want to witness the vibe of the restaurant on the main section, I rather appreciated where we were. It was more conducive to talking over dinner as the narrow corridor afforded some degree of quiet. Indulging a bit, I started my meal with a hot cider with rhum. It was surely a good start to my night.
As I was with 3 friends, it was easy enough to see majority of the Winterlicious menu of Pangaea. We tried 3 of the appetizers, 3 of the mains and 3 of the desserts. Some of us ordered the same item and I think it was always the vegetarian option that we left untried. My choices were the Tempura Lake Erie Perch Fillet, Sous Vide Prime Rib and the Maple Pecan Tart. Jojo opted for the Grilled Quail, Scallops and Bokchoy and Panna Cotta. Raymond’s choices were the Grilled Quail, Sous Vide Prime Rib and Dark Chocolate Torte. Lastly, Randall’s opted for Soup of the day, Pork Belly and Pork Loin Duo and Chocolate Torte. It was sure demanding to be quick about the photography as there were too many plates for me to photograph. I didn’t want to lose the warmth of the dish as it might take away from the experience.
Each dish I ordered was beautifully plated and it was a pity that the light was not enough to give justice to the attention to detail that the kitchen poured onto each item. I randomly stole from Jojo’s plate, tasting his choices from time to time and trading mine. Of the appetizers, I think I choose the tempura perch fillet over the quail. Each salty and crispy bite was balanced out with the corn salsa the fillet was sitting on. Sweet and salty always worked for me. For the mains, despite the goodness of each slice of prime rib, I must give extra mention to the sides of garlic purée, slow-cooked carrots, onions and mushroom. Making one complete bite on my fork definitely resulted to a satisfied smile. Lastly, my maple pecan tart came. I was glad that it was restrained with the sweetness. The maple flavor was evident but not overpowering. The crust was rather addicting and I made it my last bite.
This first choice of a restaurant for Winterlicious was excellent. It sure does make me happy that Winterlicious is clearly thriving. As we were leaving, I had the full intent to try another one. :)