Posted by: Kennedy | July 29, 2010

Thank you, Summerlicious

For two awesome weeks every summer, the restaurants of Toronto are whipped into a frenzy – creating special menus, serving new clientele, and booking up solid for every lunch and dinner.

When this happens, it can only mean one thing – Summerlicious has arrived!

For as little as $15, you can grab your partner, friends or coworkers, head to the classiest joint in your neighbourhood and enjoy a prix fixe menu with your choice of appetizer, entrée AND dessert. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

This time around, I was lucky enough to dine at not one, but TWO restaurants downtown, both of which I had never been to before. Both meals were $20 lunches. Both were coworker excursions. And they were scheduled back-to-back: Thursday = Starfish and Friday = Jump.

Life was pretty great last week.

I’ll start with Starfish, an oyster bar with lots of seafood fare. I’ve come around to the fishy foods a lot in the past few years, but I still can’t bring myself to try oysters. My colleagues, however, had no such issue, as all but one other person had oysters to start.

Oysters, I'll try you someday.. maybe..

This is, unfortunately, the only photo I have from our feast as my camera battery died immediately after I took this. However, Lisa came to the rescue as she had her camera with her. When she sends them to me, I’ll add them to the post…. But I just couldn’t wait another minute to talk about my Summerlicious experience!

I chose the Smoked Purdy’s whitefish cakes with dill marinated cucumber for my appetizer. I’d never tried anything like this but quite enjoyed it. I ate one of the cakes and shared the other – the flavours were too rich for me to have it all to myself.

For my main course, I ordered a corn and tarragon risotto. In hindsight, I probably should have gone for the trout – after all, fish is what they do there. But I barely ever have risotto so I thought it would be a nice treat. It was good, but not great. A little bland.

Onto dessert. There was no debate about this for me – I wanted chocolate. I had chocolate and hazelnut cake with Nutella ice cream – drool, right? I was slightly disappointed with it… the cake was so dense it really should have come with a steak knife. Those of us who ordered it had to concentrate on digging in our spoons while shielding the cake with our free hands to prevent a piece flying off our plates and hitting our neighbours in the eye. And I expected more from the Nutella ice cream – it might as well have been regular old boring chocolate.

What I should have ordered was the sticky toffee pudding – I tried a bite of my coworker’s and I just about died. Our waitress mentioned it’s on their regular dessert menu so I may have to go back – but just for dessert. I didn’t love the food, and though our server was friendly and helpful, we didn’t see her very often and had to wait quite a while between courses.

Friday’s lunch was a different story.

It was the day I finally went to Jump Cafe & Bar. I’ve been walking by this place for years with curiosity, watching the beautiful people having drinks, thinking it looked so classy. Our Running Room store is practically attached to the restaurant, so twice a week I can be found lurking nearby in my geeky running gear as I wait for our run to start.

I went with a different group of coworkers (though there was some overlap – Jo, Cait and I made sure to attend both to maximize the limited time offer).

Ladies who lunch!

Love dining in natural light (p.s. if you look REAL close you can see my Running Room through the window!)

The atmosphere was lovely. The service was fantastic. And the food – I was blown away. This place really got it right.

For $20, here’s what I got:

Chilled Cantaloupe & Basil Soup with
summer melon and chili salsa

Grilled Top Sirloin Fettina
with charred onion, heirloom tomato and rocket salad with crumbled Gorgonzola

Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cheesecake with
dulce de leche cream

I could eat this exact meal every day and be overjoyed. It was beyond amazing.

Check out some of my colleagues’ choices (which were just as amazing, I’m told):

Wild & Tame Mushroom Soup with no less than six kinds of mushrooms (sorry but that’s my nightmare), and made without butter or cream

Grilled Jail Island Salmon with pickled summer beets, heirloom carrots, watercress salad and horseradish crème fraîche

Bavarian Vanilla Cream with
Ontario strawberry compote and dark cherry balsamic

Verdict: I will be going back to Jump again, prix fixe or no prix fixe.

No doubt they’ll have a Winterlicious menu…



  1. can i be your dining partner next time????

  2. When you come to visit we’re going to Bodega – so excited to try it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: