Thanks to Sweven Media, I was able to try one of Toronto’s newest Louisiana-inspired Cajun seafood boil restaurants! The Boil Bar just opened up last month in February and already many people have been talking about it. It is a unique seafood cuisine and a longtime favourite and trend in the American south. The only other similar restaurant that has appeared in Toronto (or should I say raised its claws) is The Captain’s Boil (which opened to rave reviews — by me :D).
Needless to say, as a seafood lover and avid blogger of new restaurants in town, I was very excited for this grand opening event at The Boil Bar.
The Boil Bar is located at 633 Silver Star Boulevard, Units 110 & 111 in Scarborough near Steeles Ave. and Midland Ave. It replaces the previous Chinese restaurant called The Bowl Noodle Bar. The space has been newly revamped on the inside and made to look ultra modern with distinct lettering for its logo and name with a fun nautical theme including wooden cages, fish nets, and ropes. The entire restaurant is a very nice place to enjoy seafood over some bubble tea as well!
Presotea, a popular bubble tea chain, has a booth right inside the restaurant (just like another restaurant in Markham called Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar). Thus, it is one of the only restaurants in Toronto that serves seafood boils plus bubble tea in the same place! It is a very unique idea!
Yvonne of Sweven Media was the one who contacted me about the Grand Opening Event at The Boil Bar. I promptly arrived a little after the suggested arrival time of 6 p.m. with my friend Sarah. We were immediately ushered and warmly welcomed into our seats where there were already place cards set up with our names on it. A local Etsy creator, @bunnybumbox, helped to create these customized name place cards for us with a seafood theme. These were so cute, highly original, and thoughtful! 😀
We signed in and I immediately recognized some familiar fellow bloggers as well as Closs of Sweven Media. It was great to see these friends again in the blogger community! What really heightened up the experience was that there was a live DJ in the house! There was live music spinning all night long with a live DJ to the tune of mostly top 40 songs. It was a really nice touch. At times, we felt like we were in a nightclub.
On one side of the restaurant, they had thoughtfully set up a row with all the plates of the seafood that are available on the menu at The Boil Bar for us food bloggers and instagramers to take advantage of for more photoshoots. This was very well thought out and organized. (This was actually my first media event with Sweven Media. The other two had been private tastings. 🙂 )
We were also informed by the organizers that we could get a drink of our choice at Presotea. Sarah and I both chose their Okinawa Brown Sugar Milk Tea and Grass Jelly. Yum! These drinks were served to us right at our table. We also helped ourselves to the snacks that The Boil Bar were serving. Amazing!
The Okinawa Brown Sugar Milk Tea with Grass Jelly was smooth, full of flavour, and with silky smooth grass jelly. Grass jelly is my favourite thing to add to bubble tea drinks!
On the snacks menu, there were calamari, fried chicken nuggets, fried octopus balls, and fried sweet potato fries. This was a wonderful way to introduce us also to try the snacks that they offer at The Boil Bar. At our time of visit, we actually only tried out the fried octopus balls and fried chicken nuggets. Either the servers missed us with the other two snack selections or they didn’t serve them? … I think it’s the former answer. XD Either way, the fried octopus balls were takoyaki that were very mushy with octopus inside. I really liked the fried chicken nuggets; as simple as they were. 🙂
After some more photo-taking and mingling, the food service begun promptly at 7 p.m. with some speeches from Sweven Media and the owner of The Boil Bar first to kick off the night. It was quite exciting and we were all encouraged to share our photos of the night with the hashtag #theboilbar. Social media sharing is so important and definitely one of the reasons why we were all invited there to showcase The Boil Bar during and after our visit.
The menu for the Grand Opening Event was thorough and exemplary. We were able to try their oysters, crawfish, mussels, king crab legs, clams, baked lobster, chicken and rice plate, and dessert. What a wonderful line-up of food for us! ^_^
The Fanny Boy Oysters were our starters. These big and plump oysters sat on top a glazed glass plate with lots of ice to keep these bad boys chilled. I found that these were quite fresh and so plump and meaty. Yum! I absolutely love raw oysters! 😀
To start off our main courses, we had the Crawfish with Sweet Corn and Sausage in Cajun Sauce and Mild Spicy.
As part of the Louisiana-inspired Cajun seafood boils, all seafood boils come with sweet corn and sausage. I really liked this! I know even at The Captain’s Boil, they only had corn in the bag and didn’t have sausage when I visited. It’s the same style of eating though where there are no utensils and you use your hands to eat the seafood. There was a big metal bucket on the table for us to throw our seafood scrapes into for easy clean-up.
The Boil Bar has four levels of spice for their seafood boils: “a bit spicy”, “mild spicy”, “medium spicy”, and “super spicy”. Due to not everyone being able to take strong spices, the kitchen decided to keep all the courses either “mild spicy” or “a bit spicy”. If someone were to desire a stronger spice level, they could definitely request for it too in a later order.
The crawfish were boiled perfectly and really yummy! Using your hands to eat seafood is always a different experience than using the common knife and fork. The Cajun Sauce wasn’t very strong. I really enjoyed the sweet corn and sausage (in all of the bags)! The corn was definitely sweet and the red sausage added a different texture to the seafood all night long.
The second bag of seafood were the Mussels with Sweet Corn and Sausage in a Garlic Sauce and A Bit Spicy. We definitely had to be careful every time we opened the bag as it was super hot. (No word on whether eating hot seafood in a plastic bag is good or bad for or health…. just as long as you don’t eat out of plastic bags on a continual basis.)
I liked the garlic bits in the garlic sauce as it really brought out the flavour. I think the mussels were a little overdone though.
Third course: the Baked Lobster was a beautiful presentation. The lobster was baked with lots of creamy cheese. I love cheese! The lobster claw meat was especially juicy and sweet. This was delicious! 😀
The fourth course — third bag of seafood — contained the King Crab Legs with Sweet Corn and Sausage in a Lemon Pepper Sauce and A Bit Spicy. The king crab legs were humongous! I really liked these. The Lemon Pepper Sauce wasn’t very strong and they gave us extra lemon and pepper for more flavour. Squeezing a pinch of lemon to the king crab leg meat added a whole lot of flavour. Remember to do this when you eat this at the restaurant! 🙂
To end off our final seafood boil bag, we had the Clams with Sweet Corn and Sausage in a House Sauce and Mild Spicy. Wow! I absolutely loved the House Sauce! They need to rename this sauce to something more spectacular to catch customers’ attentions as I really liked it! It was very flavourful and actually the spiciest out of all the flavours that we tried. I really, really liked this one! The clams were great with this sauce as well. Yummy!
Our only meat and carbs course of the night was the Sizzling Chicken Plate. As the server brought out the sizzling plate with the chicken and steamed rice on it, we all snapped some “before” photos first. Then, the server poured some sauce on it and mixed it all together on the sizzling plate before splitting it up into bowls for us to try. This was pretty good! I liked the chicken as it was a little fried but maintained the smooth chicken meat texture.
During this time and before the desserts were served, the organizers also hosted a fun game. Four volunteers played a game of “guess the seafood”. It was, again, very well thought out because they used large boxes where the “seafood” were placed to be guessed and allowed one side of the box to be viewable by the people not playing. It was amusing and a simple game that kept everyone entertained in between food. 🙂
Finally, dessert was served! It was a Grilled Sweet Corn. By just reading the name of it, you wouldn’t expect it to be so unique, but I really loved this dessert! The corn was all battered and fried lightly with a sweet batter and served flat on a plate. It was so delicious!
At this point, Sarah and I were really full but we managed to finish the rest of the seafood that were left on the table — I don’t like wasting food. The staff were all incredibly generous and amazing hosts for the event. They kept coming around multiple times to our table to ask whether we wanted to order any more food (wow!) or drinks. I thought that was very nice of the organizers to keep our stomachs full and everyone happy and content throughout the entire evening. It was very appreciated. We turned down extra food though because we were already full, but in hindsight, I really should have asked for some more Fanny Bay Oysters. Hehe. 😛
We stayed some more to chat and enjoy the ambiance and live DJ music. It was great to catch up with some fellow food bloggers too! I want to thank Sweven Media and their entire team again for orchestrating this detailed event. I hope The Boil Bar continues to see a lot of success, especially for their flagship store that will be opening very soon next month at 664 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. I’m sure as long as they continue to maintain high standards, they will see the customers coming back for more seafood boils.
When we finally left just before 10 p.m., we were parted graciously by the organizers with some gift bags. These contained the media release notes of The Boil Bar, the menu of food that we ate that night, some Trident bubble gum, and a $20 Gift Certificate to return to The Boil Bar for more lovely seafood boil food. Yay! Thank you so much! 🙂
As The Boil Bar is still a new restaurant in 2016, have you been there yet? If so, what was your experience like? Comment below! 🙂
FTC Disclaimer: Although Sweven Media and The Boil Bar reached out and invited me to a complimentary tasting to review this restaurant, the opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the companies.
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May 2016 update:
Since I had the $20 voucher from the Boil Bar tasting event, I intended to use it up and not waste it. Thus, I brought my mom to The Boil Bar for a dinner since she had never had seafood boil before.
Our dinner was very simple since our goal was to use up the voucher and for my mom to get a “taste” literally of what a seafood boil was so we didn’t intend on feasting here (seafood boils are expensive!).
We ordered the Cajun Udon, a pound of clams in Garlic Sauce, and a pound of shrimp in House Sauce in mild spicy.
On the day we dined in on a Tuesday, the restaurant was very quiet. There were only two or three other tables after we walked in. I wonder how they are doing in terms of business?
Anyway, our food arrived quickly. The Cajun Udon was the first to arrive. This actually ended up to be a really tasty udon dish! The Cajun sauce coated all of the udon so that it was full of flavour but wasn’t too excessive. Yum!
The pound of clams and shrimp arrived next on our table in separate plastic bags. In case you are wondering, the fine print on their menu says that their food is “served in a FOOD SAFE poly bag (approved by Canada Food and Drugs Act & Regulations) to preserve the flavors!” So for those wondering if seafood served in plastic bags is considered safe, it seems to be so. But you still hold the choice on whether you want to eat something that comes from a hot plastic bag.
I liked the clams as they were covered in lots of minced garlic. The shrimp was okay too and the House Sauce wasn’t too strong.
I’m glad that my mom got a chance to try seafood boils for the first time!
On second thought, we should have ordered their sizzling plates that came with not only a bag of seafood of your choice (with sausage and corn) but also there was a sizzling plate with meat and rice too. That would have been the best of both worlds in order to try their seafood boils and their sizzling plates. Ah, hindsight thoughts. 😛