Sunday, January 29, 2012

WINTERLICIOUS: Tender Kabobs at Banu

I had been meaning to check out Banu and was pleasantly surprised to find it on the Winterlicious list so I took the opportunity to make reservations. I don't profess to know much about Iranian food, but it was recommended by my friend Ata and I had trust he wouldn't steer me wrong.

We arrived to find Banu a casual chic restaurant on Queen West and greeted by an artsy cool server. I butchered the ordering of every item but he still encouraged me to try. We started with aash e reshteh, a potage (thick stew) of vegetables and buckwheat noodles nd a tasty spread made of olives and pomegranate molasses, which was surprisingly quite filling. Our main kabob choices were easy: koobideh, ground Angus sirloin, and the torsh, beef tenderloin marinated with pomegranate and and walnut. I love koobideh, the meat falls apart in your mouth. The torsh was prepared perfectly, each piece still a little pink in the middle. It was very tender and tasty! Our skewers were served with thin wraps on the side, to be combined with a light creamy garlic sauce and a turmeric powder on our meat. The desserts did not seem very exciting at first but I have to say, they were ultimately the perfect end to our meal - Soma dark chocolate with pomegranate pieces and Soma gelato in lemon sour cream flavour. Somehow the dark chocolate was just the right taste to wrap up our delicious dinner. The gelato was a little stronger than I had imagined, although I am still glad we tried the very unique flavour of gelato.

As I look through Banu's regular dinner menu, I'm intrigued by other kabobs like calf's liver and cornish hen with saffron. For the adventurous there is also cow's heart and lamb testicles marinated in you dare? I just might when I return!

777 Queen St West
416-777-2268 (click HERE for Winterlicious menu), reservations available on OpenTable

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Winterlicious will be upon us soon again January 27th to Feb 9th...have you made your reservations? Trying out new restaurants (or old favourites) can motivate you to leave the house on cold Winter days, nights and weekends. Last year, we tried Auberge du Pommier for the first time and loved it, having since sent others there for special occasions. Some restaurants do Winterlicious well and others do not - Auberge and North 44 are two that I guarantee will be a good experience. Trevor Kitchen is another favourite worth visiting if you have not been before.

I always try to check out places we have not been before and use the opportunity to catch up with friends over a nice meal. This year, we will be trying out Banu, an Iranian restaurant recommended by a friend, Noce (Italian), and Chiado, a Portuguese restaurant I have always wanted to try but found the menu pricy....this will be an opportunity to see if it's worth it!

I've posted my Winterlicious tips in the past - look for good value, be flexible, take recommendations or try places you've been "meaning to," be social, and don't overbook! If you have trouble narrowing down from the list of hundreds, check out Toronto Life's 62 top recommendations.

I'd love to hear where you're going, where you've been and how you'll Winterlicious this year! Check out the full list of restaurants here (hint to navigating: browse restaurants letter by letter, it'll feel less intimidating!).