Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5th Element...Meet 5th Star

"The act of eating at it's minimal is basic for survival, at it's best can be a blissful experience"

Vijay Karunmuchi, Restaurateur

5th Elementt- 1033 Bay St. http://www.5thelementt.com/

Judging by the words from their homepage, the owners of 5th Elementt really do bring all elements to the table. Literally.

I've been wanting to dine at 5th Elementt for quite a while now, and never got around to it. Queue my girlfriends' and my birthdays, which we always celebrate together in the summer, and usually host a huge BBQ for all our friends. This year we thought we'd switch it up a bit and do it up, in a more fashionable manner. Being Summerlicious and all (sponsored by AMEX), this fit perfectly as 5th Elementt was a participant, and helped in our search for an affordable, upscale restaurant.

After scouring through their very nice website, their menu stood out to me. Being an Indian- fusion restaurant, I thought their menu pairings seemed fitting to our group of friends. Usually, we shy away from Indian restaurants since most of our group of friends have some sort of Indian background. But hey, deep down we always want spicy, flavourful dishes in front of us.

Our reservation was for 15 people, and was at 930 on the patio. The weather wasn't the greatest this Friday, but the rain held out for the most part of the day, until of course we headed downtown at night. As the drops fell, I thought, great, we're screwed. At 935 I received a call on my cell from the host, wondering if we were still coming. I informed him that we were running a bit late and he mentioned that their kitchen closed at 10. No problem, we would be there shortly. After we got lost we finally found it, and it was close to 10. I received another phone call from the host, letting me know that they had moved us inside since the weather was bushy. I thought this was nice.

Upon arrival, I really liked what I saw. 5th Elementt has a huge patio in front, with a nice waterfall display that is welcoming and helpful for those who were lost. Inside, there is high ceilings, and large rooms separated by coloured drapes that offer some privacy.

When we got there only half of our party had arrived. Knowing that they were to close their kitchen at 10, and me being a chef, I knew their chefs wanted to get home after a long day. We told our server that we would kindly order for the rest of our party so that the kitchen could get their meals started and get out of there as soon as possible. Our server brought us a piece of paper and pen to assist in the ordering madness.

For a summerlicious menu, they had some great options. The last time we went to Winterlicious, see Waitress Makeover, we only had 3 options per course. 5th Element on the other hand, gave us a choice of 5 apps, 5 mains, and 2 desserts. Nice.

To start we all received an amuse- or a sampling, of a vegetable bisque with a goat cheese crouton. This was divine. I have never had a bisque that was not made from meat or seafood. The flavours were powerful and the soup left a great taste in our mouths, wanting more.

Some things we ordered:

Tandoori Shrimp w/ South African Pepper Salsa

Salmon Wrapped Sea Scallops w/ Onion Relish

Grilled Fuji Apple and Mango Salad w/Masala Dressing and Crumbled Feta

All of these were great. The tandoori shrimp were literally red in colour like they had been marinating for days. And we all know shrimp rarely takes on any marination flavours. But these were nicely spiced and bursting with flavours. The Fuji Apple and Mango Salad was an interesting combination, and the Masala dressing was light and not overpowering at all.

It was interesting to taste these bold flavours that seem overwhelming but actually were quite subtle.

On to the mains:

Grilled Atlantic Salmon w/ mustard sauce with Pilaf Rice (pictured above)

Blackened NY Strip w/ mashed potato and Shallot Demi-glace

Cilantro Rubbed Chicken w/ Butter Chicken Sauce

Lamb Shank Roganjosh

I had the Chicken, which was divine. The butter chicken sauce was thick, pungent and boasting India all over it. The chicken was moist and succulent.

The salmon was very nice, the Mustard sauce was a Bengali influence, and had curry hints with a hint of spice.

The lamb Roganjosh was tart, with a nice tomato based sauce. The Lamb literally fell off the bone, or shank, for that matter.

The steak was okay, didn't have too much Indian to it, but was still cooked well.

The portion sizes were great, filling, and there was no chincing going on, as you would expect for a Summerlicious menu.

Not to mention the great presentation. Being the last diners in the place that night, one would only expect the chefs to just slap on whatever was left to get us on our way. But they spared no effort to give us properly executed meals, simple garnishes and appealing-to-the-eye plates. I was happy. I also really liked their plates. Very modern and classy.

Dessert came in two options, Tiramisu with Raspberry drizzle, and Peach and Lychee Mousse with Kiwi-lime sauce. Both desserts were amazing. Mouth watering, light, and fulfilling. A perfect way to end a perfect meal.

For $25 a head, this was a feast. Including a glass of wine each and tip, our bill came to about $37 per person. This is a steal if you ask me. I had no complaints.

The service was impeccable, very accommodating and very welcoming. I had a chance to talk to the owner afterwards and he was interested in our experience. I'm always happy to see an owner come and talk to the diners. It shows they care. Good establishments always have someone in charge available at all times. It turns out he was the one calling me earlier. He cares. Aww. Touching.

All in all 5th Elementt deserves 5 stars for exceeding our outcomes in Price, Food, Service, and Decor.

I definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone in the mood for some Indian fusion with a modern twist. And I definitely will be back there myself.

So far if you're keeping score, we're 1-1 in restaurants that have numbers in them.

Six Steps can learn a thing or two from 5th Elementt.

No comments: