Bannock is the newest addition in the O&B empire, one of larger privately owned chains in Ontario. I had been meaning to check it out, on many friends suggestions, for a while and thanks to the lentil promotion that I have been working on I had the chance. The good folks at Bannock, helmed by Chef Stephen Pynn, were happy to be involved in this promotion, and I was happy to be invited down to try out some of the food at Bannock. Lentils are so versatile, as we have talked about in my last few posts, and they demonstrated this wonderfully with their dish. Hard to compete with Chef Brady at Toca, and his seared foie gras with strawberry and rhubarb, but the Bannock dish was a contender, for sure.
So, on a Saturday night I wanted to take 5 friends down to try out as much of the menu as we could, until….well do you remember that shooting at the Eaton Centre? Yup, that was the night we booked to go. Funny, on the way down I brought this up in the car, and we thought we might have a hard time finding parking if Queen St. was still closed, but this wasn’t our problem at all. Turns out when people get shot and a street gets closed down, so do all of the businesses in the area. We arrived to find Bannock under lockdown, and basically closed. Ummm, what the…crap. We managed to find the door to the kitchen, and the gracious staff of Bannock did let us in and fed us, in an empty restaurant. Worked for us, and what a feast we had.
The fryer and pasta station had been totally shut down for the evening, which spoiled my plans of trying a few things on the menu, including the duck poutine pizza, that all of my friends have raved about. Oh well, guess Ill just have to visit them again. Poor me. We did manage to, with the help of our wonderful server, eat a lot of the menu between this hungry group. The Crispy Pickerel with Chorizo and Lentil Ragout definitely stood out, and this is something I would gladly recreate in my own kitchen. It was helpful that there was pickerel in there, because that’s one of my favourites. All in all the food and service at Bannock was great, something I expect when visiting any O&B restaurant. A few of my pictures didn’t turn out, including the one of the lentil dish, but here are some of the things that we ate.
Bannock Bannock with Smoked Salmon
Delicious pastry in the Arcadian Court Chicken Pot Pie.
Everyone liked these so much we would have ordered more if we weren't so full - Pickerel Taco with Cucumber Apple Salad
Delicious beets and radishes.
The lentil dishes I ate throughout this promotion have reassured me of how great lentils are to work with, and that they can find their way into sweet or savoury applications, when placed in the right hands. The 3 chefs really did a nice job, I only wish I could have tried all of the dishes created across the country as a part of http://www.loveyourlentils.ca/ & I wonder who will win the trip to visit Chef Michael Smith in PEI. I have a couple of things I want to try out in my kitchen, and will share with you guys soon. I have definitely been inspired by lentils. Stay tuned, and in the mean time I would love to hear what you do with lentils that is different in your own kitchens.