Friday, October 26, 2007

2. Mauritius: Blue Bay Cafe Restaurant

Blue Bay Cafe Restaurant
2243 Dundas Street West
(south of Bloor, before Roncesvalles starts)
416 533 8838

Opened in 1985, The Blue Bay has special memories for Mauri as the place her husband of twenty years first took her for dinner when they were dating. We meet there on a rainy Friday evening.
Mauritius is an island country that lies east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean and is part of the Mascarene Islands. About two-thirds of the population are of South Asian descent, and most of the rest are of mixed European, South Asian, and African ancestry. True fusion cooking, that highlights fish and seafood, has naturally evolved here.
For a starter, Mauri orders a Samosa. When my Okra Fricasee (pictured here with mango juice on the side) arrives the colour is so vibrant that I wonder if it's properly cooked. It is in fact done to perfection and quite delicious. Mauri's Fish Vindaye - sole in mustard sauce, with sliced onions and my Fish Rougaille - sole in Tomato Sauce are served with rice (shown here). One small portion of a cole slaw type salad arrives at the same time. We would have liked a few veggies on the side as well. Both entrees are clean tasting and well seasoned.The service which had been prompt, tapers off after our main course and there is a long gap between when we're finished eating and when we are offered coffee or tea. The restaurant is only a third full but there are several people who come in to pick up take-out orders. The wait for the bill is even longer, but we are enjoying our conversation and so are not really inconvenienced.
A number of interesting abstract serigraphs by Mark Kellett are currently on exhibit and the background jazz music added to the dining experience.


Ambiance (3)
Service (2)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (2)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

1. Turkey: Anatolia Restaurant

Anatolia Restaurant,
5112 Dundas Street West (east of Kipling),
416 207 0596

A nondescript strip mall in former Etobicoke is the last place you'd expect to find a warm, welcoming and somewhat exotic family run restaurant. The cheery Mediterranean interior of the Anatolia Restaurant makes you feel you're in for a treat - and you are.
Iggy, Guppy and I agreed that our shared appetizers were the best part of the meal. We started with Sigara Boregi: six crispy, light pastry fingers stuffed with feta cheese and parsley and Meze Tabagi (four spreads pictured here): Hummus, Ayse's Walnut spread, Patlican Ezmesi (eggplant pureed with olive oil and lemon) and Domates Ezmesi (a blend of fresh tomatoes, green peppers, onions and herbs) served with superb freshly baked bread.
I opted for Imam Bayildi - stuffed eggplant with Bulgar rice and shepherd's salad ( tomato, green pepper, cucumber, onion and olives in an olive oil ,pomegranate, lemon dressing) and am not disappointed. Iggy ordered Ezmeli Kebab - marinated and grilled lamb shish kebab - and found it well seasoned but not as tender as he would have liked. Guppy chose the Anatolia Mixed Plate which is a selection of the restaurants most popular meat dishes.
The service was prompt & professional although somewhat detached.
We found the wine list unimaginative and over priced. The Chilean house red, Gato Negro, was unremarkable but reasonably priced at $16 for a half litre. We round out the meal with Turkish coffee and Turkish delight, pictured here.
Ambiance (4)
Service (3)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (2)