21 Old Mill Rd, Toronto
I had high expectations when I went to the Old Mill for lunch today. First of all, my aunt got married there several years ago, and I was impressed with the food at the wedding. Secondly, this fine dining restaurant has been in operation for 100 years so you figure the food must be good.
Yeah… not so much.
I will say that I still love the architecture of the Old Mill building. This gorgeous heritage boutique hotel has beautiful brickwork and fantastic landscaping. The dining room itself is cozy, although it’s really dark in there. But you’re not reading this review to hear about bricks or lighting.
One quick note before I get started though. I know that Summerlicious menus don’t always reflect the quality of the restaurant. I am aware that some restaurants put together a less-than-stellar menu just so they can fit into the prix fixe restrictions, which is a shame (check out this article from Toronto Life). Yet there seems to be plenty of restaurants that manage to serve scale downed portions of the same delicious food that they serve all year.
The Summerlicious event is supposed to “offer residents and tourists the opportunity to sample a wide variety of diverse and innovative cuisine through prix-fixe menus.” (from Toronto.com). Personally, I use Summerlicious as a way to try new restaurants without having to pay a lot of money. If I really dislike the food during Summerlicious, I’m not likely to return to that restaurant.
So with all of that in mind, I’m going to say that while the food I ate today might not have been their best work, it was the experience as a whole that made me not want to return. By the way, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to this restaurant. Just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean that you will have the same opinion. Ok, enough justification, on with the food comments!
My mom and her co-worker, Miriam, ordered the Watermelon Gazpacho as their appetizer. This cold soup had spicy king crab, mango coulis and mint oil in it. I’m surprised that the menu didn’t list ginger in the description, because that was the predominant flavour of this soup. This is not an item that either of them would order again.
I chose a radicchio salad with king oyster mushrooms, grilled asparagus, orange segments, toasted almond slivers and parmesan citrus dressing. I know that radicchio is a very bitter leaf, but citrus can really help balance out that bitterness. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough citrus dressing on this dish. There was also a serious lack of almonds in this salad. I found about 4 slivers in there, that’s it.
Oh, and the oyster mushrooms were totally burnt and rubbery. See that thing in the picture below that looks like a burnt chestnut? That’s one of the mushrooms.
Mom my ordered the Curry Lamb Chili with yogurt crème fraiche and coconut lime scented rice. This was a decent dish, although I’m not sure that I would call it a curry or a chilli as the dish was fairly dry.
Meanwhile, Miriam and I did our best to eat our mains. We both ordered the Stuffed Chicken with quinoa, cottage cheese and red peppers. This was served with a honey mustard sauce, corn on the cob and grilled zucchini. There are so many things that I did not like about this dish.
For starters, there’s nothing to sop up all of that sauce. Rice or a piece of bread would have been a nice addition here. Next, those cute little zucchinis were incredibly bitter which made them unpleasant to eat. The skin on the chicken wasn’t rendered, so you couldn’t eat it. Also, there were no red peppers in the chicken stuffing. Seriously, Miriam and I both looked and couldn’t find any peppers in there. On top of all of that, Miriam nearly broke her tooth on something in the chicken. I’m not sure if it was a piece of chicken bone, but it was so hard that I could hear when her teeth crunched down on it.
Thankfully the dessert course was better. Miriam enjoyed her Strawberry and Passion Fruit Cream Mille Feuille, which was served with raspberry coulis and toasted almonds.
My mom also enjoyed her dessert. She had the French Macaroon Trio which were Dulce De Leche, Spiced Chocolate and Raspberry Pomegranate flavoured. The spiced chocolate was the best in my opinion.
I went with the Warm Fudge Brownie Tart with praline hazelnut and white chocolate gelato. The hazelnut praline was really good, but I didn’t care for the tart. The texture was really dense, so I had to wait for the gelato to soak in before I could eat it.
Overall, I was disappointed with the quality of the food today. There are so many great places to eat in Toronto that I wouldn’t bother visiting here again.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.