The Bauer Kitchen
187 King Street South, Unit 102
In her opinion:
When you are looking for sophistication and interesting all in the same place in Waterloo Region, there's only one place that comes to my mind and that's the Bauer Kitchen.
The Bauer Kitchen is part of the Charcoal Group. In my honest opinion this restaurant group has been at the forefront of good cuisine in the Kitchener Waterloo area for years. However, with the addition of the Bauer Kitchen they have now provided the trendy high impact restaurants which are not common to this area and are a dime a dozen in Toronto!
So when friends asked us to join them for brunch, it was easy to suggest that we go to the Bauer Kitchen. To start we ordered the "Smoked and Grilled Brie". This is served with pickled cantaloupe, bacon jam, candied pecans and crostini.
This was delicious. The cheese was melted to perfection. The pickled cantaloupe was amazing and I actually believed that it was apricots. The piece de resistence was the bacon jam. This was so good. It was a perfect taste combination the a crostini.
For my main course I picked the "Steak and Eggs". This is "a 6-oz. flat iron steak, confit mushrooms, house bacon, pearl onion and garlic ragout, poached eggs, bearnaise sauce and home fries".
This was not the first time that I had ordered this main. It is perfection. Steak and eggs for breakfast can often be boring. But this was done beautifully. The confit mushrooms, house bacon and pearl onion and garlic ragout add the perfect accompaniment to the steak, home fries and perfectly poached eggs. I also like the addition of bernaise sauce instead of the more traditional Hollandaise. This is a very enjoyable brunch main.
We decided to order the "Sweet Plate" to share. The dessert plate consisted of "TBK creme brulee, stacked chocolate cake and the strawberry cheesecake".
The creme brulee was excellent. It was topped by a Bauer Bakery macaroon. It was delicious. The strawberry cheese cake was absolutely outstanding. It was creamy and moist. I also enjoyed the chocolate stack cake. Very good!
Overall, I would recommend the Bauer Kitchen to anyone who wants a cool, hip spot for brunch, lunch or dinner with excellent food.
In his opinion:
The very first time that I tried the Bauer Kitchen it was an instant hit with me. It made a strong impression in a somewhat lack luster Waterloo Region food scene that boasts many restaurants. However, most lack the mix of sophistication, warmth, good vibe and great food to match.
The service is pretty top notch and helps with the experience. It's refreshing that the current servers don't look like they are out of "Elite model agency" as they did in the early ages of the restaurant. They seem more "human" like and taken more seriously as servers I'm sure.
The Charcoal Group which owns this restaurant has for years been on the forefront of the dining scene in K.W. Recently they have had a slight slip in popularity with a less than stellar new restaurant opening in Waterloo. However, they have redeemed themselves with The Bauer Kitchen.
This time around, brunch was the choice menu since both lunch and dinner had been a delight, each time that I have tried them. The brunch is an a la carte experience and the menu is obviously split with breakfast and lunch items, but plentiful for all sorts of palates.
My choice was the "short rib gnocchi", served with roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, wilted spinach, veal jus and horseradish gremolata. The potato gnocchi comes courtesy of next door gourmet food store Vicenzo's and and is fresh, soft and full of flavour.
This was not the first time I had this dish but it was as brilliantly executed as the other time that I had it. The short rib is full of flavour, tender and a perfect pairing for the soft potato gnocchi. The cherry tomatoes and roasted mushrooms provide the texture offset to the dish, enriching every single bite.
A high point in any meal is always the still hot bread served to the table with herb butter, fresh out of the bakery that is adjacent to the dining room.
For dessert we went a bit predictable and ordered our now staple dessert for this restaurant, "The Sweet Plate". This perfectly named delicacy is combination of three desserts, the Bauer Kitchen coffee creme brulee, the strawberry cheesecake and the stacked chocolate cake. All three are delightful and easy on the eyes as well as the stomach and are in sorts a hurricane of sweetness made for sharing and enough for 2 people.
The espresso, however; was a big disappointment. It was flat, with no flavour and not even a punch of strong coffee in it. I unfortunately would rate that as the low light of the experience, and well justified.
The Good: Amazing casual fine dining restaurant that blends casual with sophistication like only a few places in Waterloo can. It has great service and they are very accommodating if you don't have a reservation, in my experience.
The Bad: Very little to say, service tends to be much slower during busy times.
The Verdict: Definitely a hit and one of the top choices for good food in the region. Unpretentious, friendly and efficient service compliments a tasteful menu, executed to high levels
I give this restaurant a 3 1/2 Olives as rating