When my mom, sister, and I decided to go into Toronto for the day before the John Mayer concert last Wednesday, the first question we asked each other was “Where should we eat?”. If there’s one thing you should know about my family, it’s that food is always the first thing on our minds.
After a few days (yes, a few days… we don’t take restaurant decisions lightly!) of “researching”, we decided on Bannock (website) because it’s right near the Eaton Centre where we would be shopping, plus it got great reviews. I loved the vibe of it immediately as we entered. It had kind of a rustic Canadian feel to it with exposed wood walls and wood accents.
And Bannock’s food also went along with its Canadian theme, with dishes like poutine, bannock, and warm s’mores pie offered on the menu. It reminded me of foods I ate at camp when I was a kid!
My sister wanted to order the poutine with Monforte dairy curds and chicken gravy for the table, so I had a few bites. It was good!
I was really impressed with Bannock’s salad menu – it was obvious they put a lot of thought into it, rather than just making the salads an afterthought. I ordered the “get your greens” salad to start, which had dinosaur kale, zucchini, kohlrabi, green mango, roasted chickpeas, and what tasted like a mango vinaigrette.
I looked up their menu online beforehand and thought I would maybe order the minestrone soup or albacore tuna with buckwheat noodles for my entree, but that all changed when I saw their daily specials written on the chalkboard. After seeing venison chili on there, my mind was made up and there was no way I was ordering anything else!
It had an unexpected flavour to it (cinnamon I think?), but it was still delicious, especially topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions. It also came with a piece of their bannock, which was like a soft doughy flatbread. This meal was pure comfort in a bowl.
I’ve read a few articles and opinion pieces arguing over the existence of a distinct Canadian cuisine – and most of them weren’t really able to come up with an answer. But I think those journalists need to have a meal at Bannock because it does one of the best jobs I’ve seen at defining it.
Do you research restaurants before you go somewhere?
Do you think Canada has a distinct cuisine? What foods do you think of when you think of Canada?