Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bourbon. Show all posts

Bourbon dinner at Jump (Toronto)

If whiskey helps to ‘grow hair on your chest’, than bourbon is a nice one to begin with as I find it sweeter and more palatable than the Scottish and Irish cousins. When Toronto Life contacted their Insiders’ group about a bourbon dinner Jump was throwing, my friend and I leapt to get tickets. This would be a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge about the spirit, especially in a situation where it’s paired with food.

Walking into the curtained off private dining area, the tables were already set up with gleaming glasses of the caramel coloured liquor. It takes will power to not slug them back before the food arrives. Luckily, everyone’s presented with a mug of Tom Collins made with Jim Beam and the table is set up with nibbles to tie us over: tasty terrine on crostini, a passable honey tarte with caviar, and a big plateful of crunchy chicharrĂ³n (its salty fattiness is cut nicely by the sweet bourbon).

Surprisingly, the meal started off with a lobster roll, not a typical item to pair with a strong spirit. While the lobster filling was delicious, the black garlic aioli was way too powerful for seafood. I get it, they wanted something that could hold up against the bourbon and the sweet smokiness of the black garlic can, but the condiment didn’t compliment the lobster. Keep it simple, I say, the bourbon green apple & celery slaw and fish roe would have been more than enough.

There’s no fear of overindulging in drinks at this dinner, as each course is more substantial than the last. Jump’s fried chicken showed restraint, a 3-bite crispy moist chicken drumstick, but then it’s served with sweet potato lasagna. Admittedly, it’s a surprisingly tasty side where the potato’s sweetness is balanced by cheese and the spud sliced so thinly that each layer does taste like pasta.

The dish just didn’t necessarily pair well with bourbon. Perhaps it’s just the spirit itself, so strong that it’s really hard to compliment food. Personally, I find bourbon is best when it’s sipped on plain or paired with dessert. For dinner, I’d imagine you’d need something luscious and creamy to coat the tongue to really meld with the bourbon.

A dish like the lamb shoulder worked well. If anything, it’s just a really good dish in general and Jump should add it to the menu. Pieces of tender lamb are wrapped in collard greens and sit in a tomato and okra stew that has a fantastic punchy gravy, which is of coursed spiked with the alcohol. If I weren't so full, I would have wiped up the sauce with bread.

In terms of dessert, how best to celebrate bourbon than with a flaming baked Alaska? The caramelized banana ice cream inside was absolutely delicious but the actual meringue simply too alcoholic tasting. Perhaps it’s due to the flame extinguishing while the dessert was brought over; the alcohol wasn't burning off and the meringue didn’t build that lovely crust. Nonetheless, on paper, it sounded like a good choice and the flavours did go nicely with the strongest drink, the Booker’s Kentucky straight bourbon, of the evening. It’s one the certainly needs the sweetness.

If anything, the dinner was an eye opening experience. Firstly, to learn that Jump has such a huge bourbon selection and to morph the typical corporate feeling restaurant to an intimate affair. Moreover, Ray Daniel was such a great host – indeed, he’s knowledgeable, but funny and warm as well. It was a night of laughs and so many interesting stories about bourbon and the Beam Suntory Corporation (the history and its founders). I won’t give away all the secrets, in case you bring a bourbon connoisseur to their next one. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

Want to become a Toronto Life Member? If this event sounded great, don't miss out on the fun. Toronto Life is providing Gastro World readers a $25 off discount code to become a member!

Just use discount code GASTROWORLD at the Toronto Life Member checkout and the discount will be automatically applied.
Email me if you join and let me know the next event you'll be attending. Maybe we can meet in person!

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 18 Wellington 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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