Winterlicious is an annual foodie event where the city of Toronto hosts over 200 restaurants to serve prix fixe lunch and dinner options for two weeks. This year in 2014, the event is held from January 31 to February 13.
Unfortunately for me, Winterlicious occurs at a time this year where both of my weekends are full — CNY celebrations for the first week and me being in Miami the second week. Despite this unfortunate turn of events (the foodie in me is frowning), I still tried to make it to as many restaurants on the Winterlicious list as possible.
This first one is not a popular resto to attend, but I decided to stop by for a quick lunch. Granite Brewery is located near Mt Pleasant Road and Eglinton in the midtown of Toronto. It is predominantly a pub atmosphere and promoted as ‘beer cuisine’. They serve three courses of Winterlicious lunch for $15.
As such, I ordered a beer, one called Keefe’s Irish Stout. I liked it! It was a dark beer that hinted at a little roasted chocolate and musty flavour.
The Guacamole Bruschetta appetizer was yummy. I bit into the soft and creamy guacamole that topped the piece of soft toast. The Soup of the Day, a veggie soup with a tomato base, was very flavourful and a little spicy too. This was probably one of the best spicy veggie soup I’ve had! It was a hearty soup and both appetizers tasted homemade.
The mains arrived and I could definitely tell that this was not a fine dining place (not a bad thing; it’s just that most people choose upscale restaurants for these ‘licious events and Granite Brewery is definitely more of a casual place to kick back — and the fact that the presentation of their arctic char dish needs a little work… lol). The arctic char was a little bland, but I liked the chickpea salad. The venison stew was surprisingly juicy, tender, and flavourful! I really liked how the venison chunks were perfectly cooked and the stew was richly seasoned. Both dishes came with white rice. At first, I thought it was like the white Asian rice I have at home, but each grain of basmati rice is actually longer and cooks separately instead of mushing together like Asian rice. It was good.
Finally, (service could have been a little faster here) the desserts arrived. The Fudge Brownie was decent; a tad sweeter than I would have liked. The Carrot Cake was decent as well; not as sweet as the brownie and also decent.
Overall, Granite Brewery is a solid place to go for drinks and have a bite. Their selection of drinks and beers on tap is impressive. After all, I did really enjoy the beer I had. Cheers to more Winterlicious restaurants for you and me. :)