Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Other Brother's

37 Yarmouth St.
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4G2

We were planning to visit The Other Brother's some time but going on Saturday (October 1, 2005) was completely out of blue. We went to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the day. On the way home, we dropped by Wellington Court in St. Catharines to greet the chef and drop off our belated Thank You card. (Chef Erik Peacock catered our reception more than one year ago). We were hoping we could stay for dinner but full house + no reservation.*sigh*

On the way home, the hunger was getting unbearable. Suddenly I felt I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. "Hey, doesn't highway 6 end in Guelph?" "Your point is?" "We can go to The Other Brother's. Now it's not that far to drive there". Catalized by the hunger, "Mr. Half-Empty-Glass" emptied out his glass even more. He pointed out that there was only a slim chance that we could get a table without a reservation on a busy Saturday night. Plus we didn't even have its contact info...blah blah blah...Then I did one thing I haven't done for ages - call... 4...1...1. We were lucky enough to get the last available table (it was around 9 PM) and the rest was history.

As mentioned by our friends, this restaurant is quite small but the decor is carefully arranged. The server brought us a basket of poppadum (thin, flat, deep-fried Indian bread) with hummus. The bread was crispy and flavorful. The hummus wasn't too garlicy and the flavoring was very sophisticated. This immediately sets our expectation high... talking about the good first impression.

I had a cocktail "Hypnotique" while munching on poppadum. As its name suggests, this drink is composed of vodka and Hypnotique. (Hypnotique is blue colored liqueur in an aqua-colored bottle; it's a blend of cognac, vodka and fruit juices) I can't really comment on the drink because Hypnotique has quite unique flavor; it is hard to screw up this drink.

We had "Ahi Tuna Tacos with Wasabi Mousse" and "Pan Seared Foie Gras with Ice Wine Jelly & Rhubarb Compote" to start, "Ahi Tuna with Wild Rice, Soy Peas, Leeks& Corn in a Saffron Lobster Cream" and "Roast Rack of Lamb with Honeyed Herb Crust on Herb Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Baby Vegetables" as the main dishes. The tuna tacos were very nice, the wasabi mousse didn't have the "kick" I would normally experience when having sushi. However, it was refreshing. Although it is hard to go wrong with foie gras, I found that having a bit of everything (foie gras, ice wine jelly & rhubarb) in one bite plays the charm. It was so well-balanced that I couldn't think out any proportion which might work better. The same magic also happened on the lamb dish. The lamb itself tasted very "meaty" (almost "goaty"); however, it became so smooth yet rich when mixing with the mint jelly. We were quite amazed that this subtle change could make such a difference.

The tuna I had was done properly; it was almost crusty outside but still rare at the center. Although I would prefer it even more rare but that was good enough. The seasoning was nice too. The wild rice mixture had the crunchy texture but with the lobster cream it wasn't too dry/hard. The dish was nicely done. My only concern is, on the menu, all the seafood items come with same side dish (Wild Rice, Soy Peas, Leeks& Corn in a Saffron Lobster Cream). I can't help but to picture army of round big white plates in the kitchen with wild rice mixture shaped with circular mold and the apprentices are busy to ladle out the lobster cream. OK, I don't really mind the grains but lobster cream for every dish? Doesn't it make every seafood dish taste the same? Regardless, we want to try their fondue next time we visit.

We were pretty lucky that our server was very friendly and polite. She always tried to serve from our rights. I enjoy to see people nowadays still try to do things properly. J didn't agree with me though. Our table was against the wall, so J had to move a bit every time she tried to serve from his right. If the service is that good all the time, it will be the biggest incentive for us to become their regular customers.

1 comment:

Barbmia said...

I've been here a couple of times...the first many years ago for Valentine's Day, probably when they first opened...I was still in college so was definitely impressed. More recently, I celebrated my 30th b-day there last year with my husband and parents. We were very pleased with everything, from the server to the terrific food and atmospehere. All in all, it made a tough b-day pretty pleasurable! This is truly one of Guelph's finest, if not the best!