Another night out with folks from work – instead of going to our regular haunt, Steamworks, I though we could try Pourhouse. Afterall, I had a Living Social coupon which I wanted to use up – I thought this would help buy a round or at least contribute the tip!
The first of us arrived at around 4:30 PM and we were surprised at both how quiet it was for a Friday afternoon, and how luxurious the restaurant was! A flocked velvet wallpaper, heavy curtains, lots of old dark wood. We were seated at a banquette in the corner, which would normally be cozy, but was a bit cramped given the large number of us and a crazy shelf that held a few wine decanters.
After seeing the menu (larger image if you click on the picture below), I realized my little $30 gift certificate wasn’t going to go too far 😦 While most of us had enjoyed big lunches, I knew I’d want to try some food later in the evening.
To start I ordered a white beer – my receipt reads Whitebark Wheat draft (I don’t recall exactly the name of this beer, and the Pourhouse website seems to have tech issues in its “Booze” section), I enjoyed the cold taste and fine fizz of this slightly sour beer – in fact I ordered a second one!
After a while, I did get a little hungry, so I ordered the Cheese Board which is something I always love.
Although elegantly presented, I found this platter to be a little expensive for what you got. The cheese offerings on the day I went were kind of mumbled… I think there’s (from left-to-right) a St. Albert brie, blueberry compotte, apple slices, a medium cheddar, grapes and cornichon, then a camembert with crostini presented in a second dish. Of all the items, the crostini and brie were excellent – the crostini were nice and thin, well toasted with a light amount of olive oil. The brie was fantastic – strong heady aroma, super creamy texture, and presented at the right temperature (room-temperature). I found the grapes to be sweet, which is good, though that required no skill other than tasting a few from the bunch. The cornichon were cute, but I think olives would have been a better savoury option to complement this offering. The apple slices were really meager – the smallest slices were very pretty, but were primarily peel. The camembert had very little flavour, which I found surprising – it is normally a much stronger cheese than brie. It was very soft too – quite similar in texture to the brie, but “stickier”. The blueberry compotte didn’t quite match any of the cheese I found – perhaps the camembert – but it was strongly flavoured being a reduction of blueberries and red wine. Finally, there was the cheddar. Now, while my picture isn’t particularly good (I’ve been using my new iPhone recently for pics – which explains why my photography skills have regressed!) you can see for yourself that I was served the edge of the cheese. The darkness showed that I got the piece near to, or including the rind, which was very waxy and hard. I am not sure if this is the nature of the cheese they chose, but it was totally unappealing. As Ms. G who tried a piece said – it was “Crayon-y” 😦
So, while my “meal” was not the greatest in terms of food or value, I found the restaurant itself to be a really enjoyable place to get together with friends in a more upscale but still relaxed atmosphere. The waitresses were very good about dealing with all of our orders, many of which would be requested randomly (e.g. not doing full “rounds” at the same time). The bill was dealt with very patiently as we tried to divide up the value of the coupon across the table.