Kelly’s Landing (Toronto)

Kelly Landing’s prime location in downtown Toronto has made it a popular place for me; typically for after work drinks but there’s been a lunch and dinner as well. Indeed, it’s a go-to place for many people – by 5pm there’s already a small line-up at the door. Yet, they’ve always seated reservations quickly and with their large space the only time I've been turned away without one is when there's a sporting event.

Having tasted the Moroccan curried chicken ($20) at their grand opening event, I wanted more. This was the first dish ordered during a return visit and thankfully it didn’t disappoint. Just as flavourful as I remembered, it combines North African spices creating a curry that has a good amount of heat, you’ll want a bit of the crema to help cool the tongue. The bits of almonds and apricots help add texture and there’s plenty of basmati rice and flatbread that you won’t leave hungry.

For a smaller meal, the pan seared scallops ($21) paired with salad is a good alternative. Being sizeable, the scallop arrives slightly raw on the inside with a great caramelized crust. There’s also a sweet and salty aspect to the starter thanks to the thinly sliced crispy pork belly and maple sherry glaze.

Despite not looking very appetizing, the nachos ($22) were really satisfying. It could be due to the ample cheese melted onto the chips and the jalapeño crema that adds a tangy kick to everything. With the crunchy peppers, onions, and olives there were sufficient ingredients on the nacho.

However, two ingredients were lacking: the Cajun chicken pieces were a little dry (perhaps a pulled chicken would be better) and the guacamole resembles a premade mixture from a tub, it’s a terrible puke green colour and lacks taste (the extra $3 to add it on was a waste).

Having seen other tables order the steak frites ($23), I had high hopes for the dish. When it arrived, it certainly looked impressive with beautiful grill marks and a glistening coating of sauce. Once I cut into it, the cooked through meat (when it should have been medium rare) was a huge disappointment. 

Moreover, it wasn’t a one-off incident as my friend’s was overcooked as well. Nevertheless, I begrudgingly ate the steak (our waitress did offer to re-fire both dishes but we didn’t want our other guest to wait around) and it was passable; at least well-seasoned and the hot demi-glace (likely partially responsible for the steak being overcooked) helped add moisture.

Overall, with some highs and lows, sadly the food isn’t as consistent as their staff’s friendly service. Yet, with their great location I’m sure I’ll be returning, I’ll just stick to the tastier items sampled at their opening event. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 123 Front Street West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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