Showing posts with label flatbread. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flatbread. Show all posts

The Kasap Turkish Cuisine (Dubai)


As you’re sitting on The Kasap’s patio and taking in the man-made views of The Pointe, it feels like you’re somewhere Mediterranean, maybe even Turkey, just somewhere far from desert life. The restaurant should be thankful there’s such a great outdoor atmosphere as sitting on the lowest level of the patio also means you’re forgotten and service is slow at best.

Once we were able to get an order in, the food arrives at a quick pace; in no time a dish of vibrant babaghanoush (AED22) arrives with soft toasted pita. While the dip was refreshing, the eggplant flavour was masked by the other vegetables and it could really use more salt.


In general, most dishes were under seasoned. The minced beef Turkish-style flatbread (AED49) screamed for spices – parsley, salt - anything to cover the meat’s gaminess that was so off putting I couldn’t have more than a slice. How is beef even gamey, surely this must have been mutton?


If anything, what impressed me most about the dish was the presentation: the long plank placed on can so other dishes could be placed underneath. Such a genius idea for efficient space use that must make city planners swoon.

Thank you to J for this photo

The most flavourful dish was the adana kebab (AED58), the tender and juicy skewers have a hit of spice that really sneaks up on you. We used our fair share of the yoghurt and pickled cabbage to help calm the heat.


It also went well with the kale and pomegranate salad (AED34), which was tossed with bits of bulgur and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. The kale just needed a good massage to break down the tough fibers.


Where I was happy with The Kasap’s restrained flavours was with the baklava (AED32). Normally, it’s a dessert that’s so sugary it makes my teeth ache – figuratively, not literally. The Kasap’s was still infused with plenty of honey but it was sticky without being too sweet. I also liked the liberal sprinkling of pistachios, which adds such a nice nuttiness to the dessert.


If all else fails, eat elsewhere and visit the restaurant for a drink. They offer a wide selection of juices, the Kasap special (AED29) a fruity blend of passionfruit with apple and orange. All our drinks tasted great, if only they arrived colder.



That’s when we could have really gotten the tropical experience of icy drinks, blue waters, and tons of sunshine. After all, with the Atlantis in the background, you could even daydream about being transported to Bahamas. Desert, what desert?

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 Address: The Pointe
 Website: http://thekasap.ae/

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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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CLOSED: Awai revisited for their new menu (Toronto)


Awai first launched as a vegetarian restaurant offering tasting menus without a price – customers eat as many dishes as their stomachs can handle and set their own price. After a number of years, they decided to scrap the concept citing diners felt awkward figuring out the “value” of food offered. Instead, the restaurant now offers menus in 5-course ($48 Sunday - Thursday; $62 on Friday & Saturday) and 7-course ($75 Sunday - Thursday, $95 on Friday & Saturday) options – still in a plant-based format.

I’m happy to see the creamy mushroom soup stayed on the menu as it’s something Awai creates beautifully. The smoked porcini and cauliflower soup gets a kick from jerk spice, but is still silky and decadent with puréed mushroom pieces and truffle oil. My only complaint was the portion wasn’t big enough.


A coca flatbread also makes an appearance, a chewy bread prepared in their wood burning oven so there’s a smoky essence. That evening it was topped with a white cauliflower and truffle cream sauce, which would have made it similar to the soup, but in the flatbread there was a tangy herb drizzle for differentiation. I love the big chunks of artichokes topping the bread, but could have done without the chewy figs – although for those who like a sweet, savoury, and sour element, it does work.


Cauliflower continues the meal with pieces of it mixed with sous vide beluga lentils and a potato string nest. The deep fried potato balls were so hard that they’re impossible to bite through – instead, I resorted to breaking it up with my hands to mix into the lentils. Overall, the dish was too fussy with textures that didn’t exactly work with each other, the miso and lemon vinaigrette a little off with lentils, and the temperature too cool.


Luckily, the last savoury course ends strong with a tortellini filled with sunchoke, amaretto and almond butter. It’s a lighter dish with pea foam topping the butternut squash. Pasta is another item that Awai does superbly, the dough thin but still chewy. The only slight flaw was the snap peas didn’t have their ribbing removed making them difficult to chew through and detracted from the otherwise crunchy vegetables.


Before dessert, we added on the faux-mage cheese board ($25) - we’re told all the vegan cheese is made in-house. While I’m not a plant-based cheese expert, I’m told by a friend who eats it regularly that there are much better options available for sale. Overall, we found the texture - whether it be the cheese ball, cashew-based blue cheese, or the truffle cheese made with almonds – tasting like spread. So, it felt less like you’re having cheese with crackers and more like flavourful hummus.


Two desserts were presented at the table for sharing: on their own not the greatest but worked well together. The coconut butter pudding had a rather odd texture since instead of being being dense it was very fluffy. The chocolate ganache was understandably rich and dressed with a lot of cocoa powder so it was overpowering solo. Once blended together, the two desserts were better balanced and reminded me of a tuxedo royale cake.


With a set procession of dishes, the meal did seem longer as there was a lag between each plate – perhaps the kitchen’s way of timing a 5-course and 7-course meal to similar durations. True to its purpose, I enjoyed not having to conduct a strategy session amongst the table at the end of a filling booze-filled meal. The process of settling the bill and leaving was definitely easier and less labour intensive. Mission accomplished.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2277 Bloor Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Paintbox Bistro (Toronto)


With what seems like the recent revitalization of Regent Park, it’s hard to imagine that PaintBox Bistro is already six years old. In celebration of the milestone, they threw a party where customers can try any of their mains for only $6 (regular menu prices provided below for reference purposes) with $6 wine to boot. 

As soon as I stepped into Paintbox’s airy space, I felt healthier. The restaurant is a mixture of large tables and couches so you can go and read a book or gather a group for a scrum. Set as a quick service restaurant, guests order at the café area and then are provided with a sign so you can sit and wait for the food. 

Small eats like pastries are available and then there are a few options that are in between a snack and full on meal. The clumps of meaty brown butter white beans makes the Ontario harvest flatbread ($11) surprisingly hearty and along with the crunchy pumpkin seeds, melted brie, carrot puree, and fresh arugula creates a well toasted flatbread that’s filled with flavours and textures. This works great as a shared starter or a main if you’re in the mood for a smaller bite.


The mac, cheese & greens ($14) is also rich and creamy, the four cheese sauce balanced by broccoli florets. The kale that’s mixed into the pasta gives it an interesting taste – one friend felt it almost tasted like bacon. While I didn’t find it overly smoky, the kale was a nice addition to the pasta adding 
an extra flavour and textural element.


What a great idea to wrap the enchilada filling in collard greens instead of a tortilla! Paintbox’s enchilada ($14) is stuffed with spicy rice and a protein mixture that gives the filling a ground meat texture. In the end, the creation tastes like a delicious cross between a cabbage roll and enchilada. The roasted pepper coulis and scallion lime aioli were great additions that provided the traditional enchilada flavour but with an extra flair.


The only disappointing dish was the tofu green curry ($15). Firstly, the tofu was baked/fried so long that it became dry and hard (even being steeped in curry couldn’t rehydrate it). Moreover, the curry was too sour, which is strange as I expected it to be fragrant and coconutty since the menu describes it as “Thai-inspired”.


If a meal of plant based dishes doesn’t have you leaving the restaurant feeling good, at least know that by eating at Paintbox Bistro you’re supporting their ethos of providing job opportunities to those living in the neighbourhood and being mindful of their environmental footprint (there was no disposable cutlery used despite the fast casual environment). And with that, I left Paintbox feeling as snug as an enchilada wrapped in collard greens.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 555 Dundas Street East 

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
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!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Paintbox Catering & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato