Londonlicious

Londonlicious is London’s take on Toronto’s notorious Summer- and Winter-licious events. Unfortunately, the pricey menus leave little room to explore local cuisine.

The event features prix fixe menus offered at a collection of popular London restaurants. This provides people an opportunity to taste popular dishes, without paying full price. If you have a really good experience during the event, maybe you’ll come back for the full menu, ready to dish out more cash.

Londonlicious includes a good number of top London restaurants, but most menus have shockingly high prices that leave you little room to “try” anything and hardly give you any real bang for your buck.

One example is Fellini Koolini’s, an upscale Italian restaurant downtown known for its quality and reasonably priced dishes. You would think Londonlicious would be a perfect opportunity to test this place out before suggesting it for a special night out.

Among other high priced items, the lunch menu includes a seven-ounce New York striploin for $35 (with appetizer and dessert).

Other top restaurants offer more of the same. Dinner at Garlic’s is $35/person, as is dinner at Blu-Duby and Che Restobar.

With prices like these you’re better off paying the same (in some cases a bit less) for their full menu, where your options aren’t limited to a prix fixe menu of questionable value.

Fortunately, Tamarine, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant offered a dinner menu for $25/person, so I was able to give it a try without having to dish out a ton of cash.

The owner said things have been very busy, especially on weekends.

That said, the restaurant was already busy with plenty of reservations being made when I visited on a Tuesday evening.

Tamarine’s Londonlicious menu features several dishes spread into appetizers, entrées and desserts.

A waitress commented that the Londonlicious menu has Tamarine putting its best foot forward.

The food was fantastic, which combined with the reasonable price made it a saving grace of upscale Londonlicious restaurants this season.

With such a significant student population in London it would be nice to see more affordable menus offered by restaurants participating in Londonlicious.

Hopefully in future years the student population will have more of an opportunity to taste the culinary diversity the city of London has to offer.

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Review: Tamarine by Quynh Nhi

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Once recommended to me as a top restaurant in London, Tamarine is an upscale Vietnamese place that easily lives up to its reputation.

The atmosphere sets the tone for the meal: an elegant display of unique lighting fixtures and paper lanterns, which help make the restaurant warm and welcoming.

Staff were extremely friendly, pacing each dish perfectly and frequently checking to ensure the meal was to my liking.

The cocktails are all in-house specials that complement each and every one of the menu options.

While looking at the drink menu the owner came over and talked to me. He knew my name (presumably from when I called earlier to confirm the reservation) and asked where I was from and how I had heard about the restaurant.

In addition to offering a warm welcome, he suggested getting the Mekong Martini to drink– a sweet and sour cocktail with a strong taste of lychee, lime and mango.

Food

Canh Chua Soup:

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Tamarind soup base, chicken, plenty of vegetables including baby okra, pineapple, two large pieces of tomato, cabbage, slivers of celery and plenty of sprouts; garnished with basil & chili.

A fresh, spicy soup with plenty of vegetables. You are given the option to remove the chili, which otherwise gives the soup an extra spicy kick.

Chicken Pad Viet:

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Vietnamese rice noodles, chicken, baby bok-choy, celery, green onions, sprouts and fresh chives; garnished with crispy shallots and served with chili-lime soya sauce.

The light soya sauce adds a sweet undertone that brings out the best of every ingredient. Chicken isn’t as much a pronounced feature as it is a well-portioned complement to the rest of the dish, which offers a nice medley of flavours.

This is a fantastic dish in all of taste, portion and aroma.

Black Eyed Pea Che:

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A petite sticky rice dessert that offers a light, fluffy and creamy blend of perfection in a coconut milk reduction. The dish is accented by black eyed peas that bring a nice contrast.

Each bite is a heavenly bliss.

If you’ve never had sticky rice before, this is absolutely the place to try it.

Conclusion

As a Torontonian I admittedly had a combination of high expectations and low hopes, but Tamarine shone through and really impressed me. I highly recommend giving this place a try!

Rating: 5/5

http://www.tamarine.ca
118 Dundas St.

Cheers,

Ellis Koifman