Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Makk on 124 - New Menu Launch


Last week I had the pleasure of attending The Makk on 124's new menu launch, and I'm happy to report that this charming little restaurant did not disappoint. Despite the steep price tag of $50/person, I felt that the experience was worth every penny due to the quality/quantity of food and excellent customer service. I have been at The Makk before for Father's Day brunch and I was very impressed. It was honestly the best brunch I've had to date, and that is what prompted my return visit to check out their new menu with newly appointed chef Jonathan Ruby. Unfortunately the restaurant doesn't do brunches anymore, but below are a couple of pictures for reference.

When you see vegan porridge ($11) on the menu, it sounds healthy but doesn't exactly seem like a delicious option. Surprisingly the porridge was a warm mix of tasty granola, nuts and berries with maple syrup. The dish also came with house-made peanut butter on toast and a creamy raspberry orange smoothie.


The brunch special was waffle with bacon bits ($12), a dish just for Dad. I loved the texture of the waffle because it was dense but still soft and fluffy — typical Belgian style. The bacon bits were embedded in the waffle, so there were savoury bursts of flavour throughout.


Now back to the new menu launch. As soon as we arrived for our dinner reservation, we were seated promptly and given cranberry water and a complimentary cocktail called the pineapple upside-down.


Then we were served an amuse-bouche of chicken club. It was a miniature version with cured meat, spinach and mayo sandwiched between crispy chicken skin. It was loaded with fat but oh so sinfully tasty!


Next was a selection of 3 breads: (from left to right) caraway bread, brioche, and spiced poppy bread with raisins. The brioche had a buttery croissant-like flavour and went very well with the parmesan truffle butter. The caraway and poppy were both toasted and carried stronger flavours, so they were better enjoyed without butter.


Appetizers

Scallop "Creme Brulee" (reg:$16)
The scallops were literally jiggling like jello as the dish was set down in front of me. They were pretty big scallops, charred nicely, and were so incredibly bouncy that you'd think they were still alive. The "creme brulee" was a warm bed of egg white custard with a super smooth texture like tofu pudding. It was unlike anything I've tasted before and I initially found it a bit strange, but the truffle aroma and subtle sweetness won me over.


Beef and Potatoes (reg: $15)
This appetizer was rather filling as it consisted of a large slice of salt beef with a rich glace, ermite cheesecake and roasted hay potatoes. The beef was firm in texture with a slight gaminess typical of red meat. It was alright, but in my opinion could not compare to the extremely fresh and bouncy scallops.


Entrees
(served with wine pairing: Pinot Noir)

Duck Drunk on Wine (reg: $30)
This was an excellent choice and offered variety as the meat came in the form of duck breast and a breaded ball of duck leg confit. The breast was tender with a hint of smokiness; it was very nice but I did not like the red wine chocolate sauce. The chocolate flavour was too dominant, and combined with red wine, the sauce was so rich that it was bordering on bitter. The duck ball reminded me of crab cake with its crispy shell and shredded meat filling. It tasted alright, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the duck breast because I found it a bit too dry. The accompaniment was Italian style seasonal root vegetables. The small stir-fried veggie cubes made me feel like I was eating a farm breakfast. This veggie hash was interesting and quite tasty, but not my cup of tea.


Bison (reg: $32)
The coffee-rubbed bison steak was denser and heavier than a regular steak. It was slightly on the salty side and was probably the least impressive of the 3 entrees I tried.


Alberta Lamb Cannon (reg: $35)
The lamb came in two varieties: lamb cannon and lamb tart. The cannon was a very lean cut with no fat or sinew, so it was soft and tender just like a rare steak. The juicy meat was perfect with its garnish of crispy fried kale. The lamb tart was also very tasty with a filling of marinated lamb and onions. The pastry seemed a bit hard as I was unable to cut it apart with my fork, but when I bit into it, I found it was quite flaky with a strong butter flavour.


Desserts
(served with wine pairing: Riesling)

Milk and Cookies (reg: $8)
I thought that milk and cookies was a rather uninspiring option for dessert, but was I ever wrong! Milk was served in a dainty glass cup rimmed with crushed mint chocolate. The cookie look-alike in the middle of the plate was actually white wine sabayon topped with chocolate chips. Sabayon is a custard of egg, sugar and white wine, but I think it really is an acquired taste. The taste of white wine in the sabayon was too intense for my liking. What I really enjoyed was the fried milk coated in chocolate cookie crumbs. It was served piping hot and while the crumbs weren't crispy enough, the milky pudding-like centre was soft and soothing and not too sweet. Comfort food at its best.


Carrot Cake (reg: $8)
The carrot cake was the least enjoyable dish of the night for me. The cake was so fluffy to the point that it had almost no texture. The butter cream and salted caramel made it even more soggy and it tasted like a wet spongy puff. The worst part was that the cake had no carrot flavour at all, but at least the candied carrots on top were tasty.


Fairwinds Farm Goat Cheese with Honey (reg: $8)
The goat cheese ice cream was so incredibly creamy and delicious that I wish I could have taken some home. And I don't even like ice cream that much. The goat cheese flavour was perfectly preserved and complemented by a rich drizzle of buckwheat honey.


The bill arrived with liquor-filled chocolate truffles. I didn't actually taste these because I left the box in the car and the chocolates were half-melted by the time I remembered, but it was a good gesture on the restaurant's part.


So to sum up this meal, for $50/person we each had a cocktail, an amuse-bouche, bread, appetizer, entree, dessert, 2 wine pairings, and take-home chocolates. Food was above average and service was great. Water was refilled promptly and our waitress actually came and wiped bread crumbs off our table. And most importantly, our waitress truly seemed passionate and enthusiastic about the restaurant. Although the place looks like a bistro, I still consider this meal a fine dining experience.

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