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Dining at Bhima’s

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The place we were asked to comment on for Where to Eat in Canada was Bhima’s Warung. (Coincidentally, the week we went there, the Record also reviewed them!)

Where to Eat doesn’t publish personal reviews, per se; instead, it compiles and considers all reports received to produce an overall assessment of the establishment. Therefore, when writing about Bhima’s Warung, I didn’t worry too much about massaging the language or whatever. Just said how it was:

Dish from Bhima'sAs requested, we went to Bhima’s Warung this week, and have a bit of mixed response.

But no issues with the starters, which were both oysters, but done different ways. I had the item on the regular menu, which is freshly shucked oyster in a warm lemongrass, ginger, chili, and garlic sauce. The sauce was really nice (spicy!), and really covered up the taste of oyster (such as it is). On the second I deliberately took less sauce to assess the oyster itself better, and they were really nice, seemed very fresh. My husband had a special that day, which was oysters baked with coconut (medium spicy). Haven’t had good baked oyster experiences in the past, but we enjoyed these. The texture does get a little bit can tuna-like, but the coconut flavoring was very nice, and it had nice crispyness to it. In both cases, the price was $4 per oyster, and you could choose how many you wanted.

The restaurant had a good number of wines available by the glass, which we appreciated. I had a NZ Sauvigon Blanc with that, which worked well, and my husband had an ON Gerwurtz.

For the main course, I chose another regular menu item, tandoori-baked Cornish hen stuffed with sticky rice, with a side of pickled vegetables, naan bread, a yogurt and vegetable sauce, and a chutney ($28). My favorite part was actually the vegetables–beets, bok choy, and carrots, pickled. Surprising and nice. The naan bread was also excellent. The Cornish hen was perfectly cooked, but quite moderately seasoned. Perhaps the idea was to dip it in the flavorful chutney or white sauce; certainly it took well to doing that. The sticky rice had exactly the texture you’d expect, but was also not too flavorful.

My husband had a special entree that day, which was duck confit and a side of seared foie gras. The duck confit was really quite delicious. The foie gras was also good, but was seared to the point of having a bit of charcoal taste. It did not ruin the texture, but the charcoal flavor was a bit odd. This dish was a bit lacking in accompaniments; it came with some grilled potatoes.

So while my main was more than I could eat, my husband cleaned off his plate and helped me a bit with mine.

With those, my husband had a glass of a nice CA cabernet sauvignon and I had a German off-dry Riesling.

And, we both tried dessert. I had the baked banana with vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was very nice, freshly made (by someone, if not Bhima’s themselves). The bananas tasted fine but weren’t as crispy as other desserts of this type I’ve had, and which I would have preferred. My husband had the chocolate bread pudding with ice cream, and declared himself satisfied with that. Both desserts came with a really excellent peanut brittle.

We tried a couple teas with that. Mine was Indian spiced, and it was actually hot spicy! Not quite what I was expecting, and couldn’t finish. My husband had ginger and honey tea that was more mellow.

The service was adequate. There was quite a wait for food to arrive, and there wasn’t any refilling of water glasses. My tea arrived after my dessert (and after my husband had received his). It was friendly and reasonably attentive, but not superlative.

So it’s a bit tough to assess overall. I appreciate the creativity of the menu, and most things do turn out well. But it is pretty pricey, and I’m not sure the value proposition is quite there. (Total for the meal was $170 with tax but before tip.)

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