Friday, 5 July 2013

The birth of Dinnerclub at Back Lane Café

I stole the idea to do Dinnerclub from a gymfriend. There are many people I'd love to see more often but, like me, they are busy with whatever plagues them – work, school, sports, gym, debt, spouses, pets, babies, making babies, type A/OCD tendancies that need to be satisfied above and beyond all else.

So when you have a few friends that are friends with each other, like to eat, AND use their agendas as a life line – why not schedule a monthly meet and mange at a new place? See a few people at once, save money by only doing one dinner, and try a new restaurant.

Kash and I had been window-shopping through Hintonurg many sunny Sunday’s ago (post Hintonburger and Suzi Q doughnuts). We stopped into Farrow & Ball Paint & Paper. The sales girl started to talk to us about the area and started raving about Back Lane Café – specifically the broccoli.

As it was Kash’s pick for our first official Dinnerclub this past Tuesday, I was not at all surprised that she chose Back Lane.

The website does not have an online menu but it does have the option to make a reservation online - and a reservation is a must. Seating is made with two hour time periods and it does fill up - they only take walk-ins for brunch. When I went to make our reservations day of, we were left with only the option of 5:30 p.m. If you call in, they are willing to try and accommodate other times at the bar or patio.

At 5:45 p.m. we arrived and were the first people in the restaurant. I'd walked by numerous times but never gotten a good look inside. It is ADORABLE. Very bright, quaint and classy at the same time. The inside of the restaurant definitely provides even competition for the outside patio which is in the "back lane" - the alley between Back Lane the neighbouring store. (Their philosophy on "back lanes" is very charming and can be found on their website).

The menu was small and simple, about five or six of each starters, mains, pizzas, and desserts. We decided to split a couple of starters, the broccoli fritti - obviously - and the hummus platter. You're also given bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip. The girl at Farrow & Ball was right, the broccoli is amazing. It is fried but not to heavy in the manner of deep fried zucchini.

For mains, they offered the typical range of meat: fish, steak, burger, etc. They are all on the pricier side, save for the burger, but I'm sure the taste matches the dollar. Being on a budget, I opted for the Alice pizza. Kash got the Capesante (scallop) pizza, and Steph ordered the Back Lane Burger.

I LOVED my pizza. Brie, pear, walnuts, caramelized onions. I like a soggy (for lack of a better word) pizza and it definitely was - but without the entire thing falling apart. The crust is traditional Italian style - thin, soft, and dry - not oily.

I tried Kash's pizza, it was good but I wouldn't personally order it - as I said I like a soggy pizza and the Capesante is not so. 

Steph enjoyed her Back Lane Burger, which comes on toast rather than a traditional bun and was served with greens and fries.

Even though we were beyond sufficiently stuffed - with leftovers to take home - we couldn't avoid the inevitable: the Boston cream doughnut. Kash also ordered a cappuccino - I haven't seen a cappuccino so properly made since the days of Bonnie working at Stone Face Dolly's. It was perfectly tiered. 

The doughnut was unbelievable. It was served with ice cream on top of a sort of cookie crumble and chocolate sauce.  Seriously, there are no words - just go get one.

I thoroughly enjoyed everything; the restaurant's ambiance was great, the timing of the food was very well incremented - we were never waiting too long for food or having to do an awkward table shuffle if the next course arrived before we were finished with the first. The service was great despite the fact that the restaurant was filled by 6:30 p.m., and they even indulged us by taking our photo. 

True to their reservation guidelines, at 7:30 p.m. the next guests had arrived and our server came to deliver the bad news that it was our time to go. Luckily we were ready to make our ways home (and instagram all our food).

To my paleo friends - this may not be the best place for you. But just take a cheat day, it's so worth it.

Broccoli Fritti and Hummus Platter

I can't figure out how to rotate this!? The pizza on the left is the Alice,  then the Capesante top right, and the Back Lane Burger bottom right

Boston cream. Don't say anything. Just eat it.

Perfectly layered cappuccino

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