L2 Grill (Fantasyland Hotel)

October 24, 2013
I visited L2 Grill with a couple of friends after a movie at WEM because the restaurant is conveniently located in the same mall. I knew this was a fine dining establishment, but I didn't expect such an unparalleled level of service. The Chinese gentleman who served us did a phenomenal job and really made us feel like VIPs. Even the place setting was unusually fancy with the napkin folded into a luxurious tuxedo.

I started with a cocktail called the orchard (2 oz: $10), made with Chambord, strawberry schnapps, cranberry juice and lime juice. I had expected a very fruity burst of berry with a refreshing dash of citrus, but the drink tasted more like fruit flavoured medicine. Maybe I just don't have a developed palate for this type of alcoholic beverage.

Bread was served warm with whipped butter balls, and there was even fruit-infused butter!

After the bread, our server surprised us with a complimentary amuse-bouche — a thin strip of bacon wrapped around savoury duck meat.

We shared an appetizer of blue crab cakes ($14), recommended by our server, and it was the best crab cake I've ever had. The breading was very thin and had a nice crisp to it. The filling was a generous amount of fresh and sweet crab meat, complemented perfectly by the garnish of sweet-tart orange marmalade and creamy pomegranate aioli.

We were waiting for our entrees to arrive when our waiter surprised us again with this complimentary orange sorbet that tasted just like Starburst. It was cool and refreshing — perfect for cleansing the palate before the next dish.

Instead of a traditional steak of beef, I opted for something a little out of the ordinary — a 6 oz organic flax seed crusted elk tenderloin ($38). The meat was soft and dense, but didn't have the same melt-in-your-mouth quality as a rare beef tenderloin. I also found the dark chocolate demi-glace and mashed potatoes too salty. So while this entree was satisfactory, next time I think I'll stick with beef.

I was really full from the elk, but decided not to turn down dessert. This turned out to be a mistake, as the warm chocolate and banana bread pudding ($10) tasted like a failed baking experiment. The caramelized banana slices were great, but the bread pudding was a soft pulp with the taste of raw flour. The consistency was somewhere between an uncooked dough and a batter.

According to the menu, the bread pudding was supposed to come with cappuccino ice cream, but what we got was definitely vanilla. It was disappointing because I really don't think much of vanilla and was looking forward to some creamy and aromatic cappuccino.

Our server noticed I left most of my bread pudding untouched and asked if I didn't like it. I told him my thoughts, and he immediately apologized and brought me a box of chocolates to take home. I didn't expect this and I wasn't planning to complain about the dessert if he hadn't noticed, so I really appreciated this gesture of goodwill.

When we asked for the bill, our server arrived with yet another surprise — complimentary liquor-filled chocolate balls. I probably wouldn't have ordered dessert if I knew these were coming; I just wanted something sweet to finish off the meal. I thought I would enjoy the dark chocolates more, but I didn't like the rum filling. Instead I really enjoyed the white chocolates filled with a fragrant lemon liquor.

Although L2 Grill is a very pricy restaurant, I felt that the experience was worth it because of the excellent level of service and the overall quality of the food.

L2 Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. The chocolate balls didn't roll around on the plate?? :O

  2. They did! That's why they are not even distances apart.


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