Went to Biff’s Bistro with 2 of my co-workers today. Yesterday I almost fell into a bout of depression thinking about how the weather might’ve affected our lunch plans, but they were troopers and made it to work! Yay! This was my first Winterlicious lunch.
Biff’s is another one of Oliver & Bonacini’s restaurants. Once again, O&B has outdone themselves. The only O&B restaurants that I have blacklisted are: Canoe and Oliver & Bonacini Café & Grill. All their other restaurants are estupendo!
So we begin this review with their bread. After having had a jaw-locking experience at Reds the other night, I was keeping my fingers crossed I wouldn’t have another déjà-vu. Thank goodness I didn’t! The bread wasn’t anything spectacular, nice and soft in the centre, but the exterior was somewhere between chewy and crusty. So it was neither here nor there.
We ordered the Cured Salmon with Crème Fraîche & Endive, Rabbit Rillette & Celeriac Purée with Duck Confit to start. What on earth is a rillette you ask? I had the same question. As per Wikipedia, “…is a preparation of meat similar to pâté. Originally made with pork, the meat is cubed or chopped, salted heavily and cooked slowly in fat until it is tender enough to be easily shredded, and then cooled with enough of the fat to form a paste. They are normally used as spread on bread or toast and served at room temperature.” The cured salmon was really good. The salmon was very fresh and the crème fraîche… well it’s crème fraîche – how could you go wrong? It was served with a Guiness-World-Record-sized caper. The Rabbit Rillette in my own words, is reminiscent of a tuna salad. It was served with a really tasty mustard – tangy, but with a hint of sweetness to balance out the zing. Very nicely done. It was served with crostini. The celeriac purée I can’t comment on as we only had one spoon, but from what I did see of it, the soup must’ve drowned out any chunks of duck confit that were there because it was M.I.A.
For mains we got the Beef Bourgignon and the Seared Albacore Tuna with Lentilles du Puy & Preserved Lemon. When I think beef bourgninon I think stew… But that is not the O&B style of serving it. It was more like a beef tenderloin that was bathed in a gruyère meal. The beef was not tender enough, probably because the cut of beef that was used was on the leaner side. The tuna was okay – very bland save for the lemon sauce that accompanied it. For me, the best parts of the dish were the kale and the lentilles du puy. If your kids don’t like vegetables, bring them here and they will fall in love! The tastiest legumes I have ever tasted.
For dessert, we had: the Medjool Date Cake with Toffee Sauce & Lemon Chantilly, Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel & Almonds, and the Almond Cake with Mulled Pears & Poire William Crème Anglaise. All three desserts were good, but each in a different way. The bread pudding was buttery goodness, the almond cake was sweet and nutty, and the medjool cake was… it was so good I don’t even know how to describe it! I guess sweet, soft and almost pudding-like.
All in all, a great dining experience! Biff’s food is good, Winterlicious menu or not.