Ever walked into a restaurant and thought yourself, “I want to live here”?
I had this enlightening experience upon walking into bridgette bar the other night. Rustic hardwood, exposed brick, artful decor, farmer style sinks in the washrooms. It was love at first site.
I heard about bridgette on the CBC Eyeopener one morning during a John Gilchrist review, and knew we had to check it out for a date night. We made a reservation and were glad of it as there weren’t a lot of tables open when we arrived, and there was a short wait by the time we left.
We started, as per usual, with cocktails. Siddall tried a Shore Leave (white rum, merlot framboise, montenegro, raspberry, peppermint, lemon and soda, $13) and I went with a Honey Don’t (gin, yellow chartreuse, cucumber, lemon, honey syrup and bubbles, $14). The Honey Don’t was a definite win with the subtle cucumber and effervescent bubbles balancing the sweetness nicely. The Shore Leave was a bit on the sweet side, not a winner for us. What won the night though, was our follow-up, Sunfire (reposado tequila, coconut water, passion fruite, agave, lemon, hell-fire bitters, marash blend rim). This is the best cocktail I have had in a long time. I would say it takes second place to what they’re serving up at the Derrick.
We started with three oysters ($3/ea) served with a dill pickle granita. They were East Coast, served with the usual fresh horseradish and lemon, as well as the granita. The dill however was missing from the granita, and came off as a bit salty, taking away from the briny freshness.
Next up, the beet and watercress salad (blackberry beet vinaigrette, pistachio, ricotta salata, $12). This was my dish of the night. The salad was fresh, the beets tender, the vinaigrette damn tasty and the pistachio a welcome crunch.
The cucumber salad (whipped feta, smoked cashews and pink peppercorn, $10) was also very fresh, and the whipped feta a revelation, but it was quite small.
For our main, we tried the wood roasted half duck (stone fruites, gai choy, savory granola, $40). Gilchist mentioned in his interview, the pronounced presence of smoke at bridgette, but we only noticed it faintly, and pleasantly. More so when passing the kitchen, but certainly didn’t find it overwhelming.
The duck was cooked perfectly, and very tender. The presentation was lovely, and the sweetness of the plums offset the salty, fatty. The granola was an intriguing addition.
For dessert, we, well mostly Siddall, had the banana cream pie (not a banana fan over here). The meringe was sweet, and soft, the carmel delish, and the pretzels a perfect salty balance. Huge thank you to my bud Adrian for covering our dessert!