I’ve heard good things about Workshop Kitchen + Culture. My fine dining buddy Todd told me one of his best meals ever was at Workshop. For the Big Taste festival, my colleagues Legal and Crazy Girl joined me for Workshop $25.00 lunch special. From our office, we braved walking in the -20 weather to a completely packed restaurant. We had to wait in the Junction Theatre Grand lobby for a couple of minutes for our seats because other customers were dawdling.
Our server Jennifer was personable, pleasant and a wealth of information. For example, I learned that at dinner, Workshop offers a “blind” three-course ($55) or five-course meal ($80). I envisioned being blindfolded while I ate. Jennifer elaborated and said the “blind tasting” means you leave the menu in the hands of the chefs. From what I sampled, you’re in excellent hands. Jennifer also told me that alternatively, you can come with a big group and share a bunch of platters for a reasonable amount.
Crazy Girl and I ordered a salad for our first course. I figured I ought to eat a salad, seeing as how I can’t remember the last time I ate a vegetable that wasn’t fried. Legal choose the soup of the day – a Moroccan and sausage creation. The soup was hearty like chilli and fragrant from the use of cumin.
My salad was lovely. It tasted good and it felt healthy. The baby beets and pink apples were sweet, which contrasted with the tartness of the green apples. The assortment of fresh, frilly greens soaked up the light dressing of honey and goat cheese.
The showstopper was our main of albacore tuna. The moment I had a bite, I had a hey ya moment. I received two thick slices of medium rare tuna. The rare part of the fish was silky and juicy. The outside was beautifully charred.
The warm potato kimchi salad consisted of soft potatoes that I swirled around in the gochujang hollandaise sauce. The maple grilled bok choy was crunchy, and reminded us of a summer BBQ. The spice in the sauce and kimchi was subtle and restrained. I thought the use of kimchi was sophisticated. The micro-greens tasted like fresh peas.
I ate as slowly as possible so I could saviour every single morsel. The entire dish was brilliant. So much, Workshop is now on my list of favourite restaurants for best lunch and best special occasion splurge.
I’m not a dessert person but the Azaelia Milk Chocolate Ganache Tart had me swooning. The chocolate ganache and mascarpone was soft and gooey. Mixed with the hazelnut praline and sponge toffee, it was like a fresh, homemade version of Ferrero Rocher.
This whole meal cost only $25. The main alone was worth $25.00 and that dessert, I’d easily pay $10.00. To put this value in perspective, I want to point out that my husband recently went to McDonald’s and bought a combo meal for $9.05 which made him and my dog sick all morning.
To the chefs and staff behind Workshop, I salute you. Your milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.