Winterlicious Review: Bannock

Kale ceasar salad - dulse, horseradish, bannock croutons (left). Pig & chips - pressed ontario pork shoulder, roast garlic fries, mustard greens kimchi (right). (Courtesy Samantha Sim)

Kale ceasar salad – dulse, horseradish, bannock croutons (left).
Pig & chips – pressed ontario pork shoulder, roast garlic fries, mustard greens kimchi (right).
(Courtesy Samantha Sim)

If you’re looking for quintessential Canadian comfort food, look no further than Bannock. The Queen St E. spot from Toronto restaurateurs Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini made its debut on the Winterlicious roster with $15 lunch and $25 dinner offerings this year.

When I settled in for a mid-afternoon meal with a friend, the restaurant was abuzz with people in suits enjoying late lunch on company credit card and tables of chatty women catching-up over mid-afternoon cocktails. Best of all, Bannock’s wood-clad interior and rustic atmosphere was a welcome retreat from the blistering cold and slush-filled sidewalks outside.
My meal began with the restaurant’s take on caesar salad complete with dulse, kale and horseradish. I paired it with a true north cocktail (not included in the $15 deal). The salad was excellent— a perfect combination of zest and subtly. The drink, however, tasted like a bottle of cherry cough syrup spiked with a shot or two of vodka. Definitely could have used some lighter notes.
For my second course, I opted for the only carnivorous choice on the Winterlicious menu— the pig and chips. Accompanied by some kimchi, the pressed Ontario pork shoulder was cooked to perfection, but the portion size was a little much, especially with dessert on the way.

To wrap up the meal, I selected the sticky bannoffee cake, a combination of screech caramel, banana and crème fraîche. As a caramel fiend, anything with a drizzle of the golden stuff gets a thumbs up from me, but if I were to choose again I’d take a chance on the pair of cheesy chocolate cannolis.

Service was great, wait times acceptable and I didn’t even get scolded for showing up late for my reservation.
The bottom line: Casual, classy and affordable, Bannock is a great choice for date night or a meal with friends, especially when you’re a student on a budget!

Price: $15 for a three-course prix fixe lunch

Vegetarian Options: Yes

Vegan Options: N/A

Overall Rating: 8/10

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