In her opinion:
I was thrilled when I drove past the round sign that read Homage Restaurant! Edgar and I had been saying for ages that someone needed to open a new restaurant near the Dunfield Theatre and well, Chef John Baltazar did! His soul food restaurant whose motto is "rooted in classic techniques, sourced from the community of farms around the area, served with respect and care" is housed in an old antique store across from the theatre and it is a much welcome addition to Cambridge's starving downtown core.
Our friends' son, Jacob is a foodie in training and has been bugging us to try this place. So we decided to give it a go on a Saturday night. I honestly believed that we wouldn't be able to get a reservation for the 6 of us but they were able to accommodate us with no problem. That was mostly due to the fact that there was no play going on at the theatre, so keep that in mind when you decide to visit!
When you walk in the doors of Homage you will be greeted with a well appointed room...it's all exposed brick, reclaimed wood and clean lines. It is warm and welcoming, we were shown to our table near the bar and our waitress filled our water glasses. When our entire party was seated she took our drink orders.
I stared with the Signature Cocktail. It was a beautiful cocktail of sparkling water, lemon, gin, blackberries and basil called the "Black and Basil Royale".
It was absolutely delish! It's a perfect sipper. A great way to start my meal. Our waitress brought over some delicious gougeres to start off. These little cheesy bites were so so good!
I started my meal with a delicious "Gerber Farms Ham Hock Terrine with Seasoned Pickles and Apple Gastrique" served with beets and pickled red cabbage. It was accompanied with grilled bread drizzled with olive oil.
In a word...perfection. I am a big fan of nose to tail eating. And ham hocks have been a stable in my world from the time I was born...so I was impressed with the flavours on this plate. Just beautiful. The beets were excellent as well.
For my main, I choose the Tanjo Farms Pork Chop with sweet potato mash and kale sauteed with bacon.
I will go out on a limb and say that this was the best pork chop I have ever eaten in my entire life! The sweetness of the sweet potato and the saltiness of the bacon in the kale were amazing. The whole thing was exceptional and my only complaint was that I finished it too quickly.
For dessert, we decided to share. I picked "Chocolate". This was a chocolate bouchon, coffee ice cream, coffee crumbs, and cherry compote creation.
This was so so good! Not too sweet! The coffee flavoured ice cream was excellent and the perfect partner for the chocolate cake or bouchon. I loved this dessert.
We had the pleasure of meeting the chef after dinner, Chef Baltazar is soft spoken and very humble. He is a force to be reckoned with and a genius in the kitchen. I told him I was glad that Homage had opened, after all, Cambridge needs all the culinary help it can get!
I loved our dinner at Homage. In fact, I informed my darling husband that this is where I want to celebrate my birthday in June! It really is that good.
In his opinion:
After the down town Galt area of Cambridge was blessed with the Dunfield Theatre, quickly came the realization that something was missing in order for theatre goers to enjoy the "dinner and theatre" experience. Sure there is the fish and chips place across the street but who wants to go to the theatre smelling like fried cod?
Since then a couple of restaurants have opened but none in the calibre of Homage. The name of the restaurant is suppose to be the tribute to the ingredients, their teachers and especially "Homage" to the building itself and its long standing heritage.
As you walk in, it is visible that the space has been transformed but while minimizing the change to the overall look of the building. The look is sleek and inviting and very bright with large windows. We were shown to our seats promptly by our waitress where a copy of the menu sat on each of the plate setting. The menu is diverse but small with some staple dishes and a couple of spins of traditional ones.
We were served some bite size cheesy gougeres as we waited for our drinks to come and browsed the menu for our selections. They are delectable and we ensured we got more of these along the meal.
For my appetizer, I chose an oddly but very fitting dish entitled "Rags to Riches". This dish sports pasta rags surrounding a healthy dose of braised short ribs, thinly slices sweet pickled pear, herbs and Jerusalem artichokes. It was a light but very flavourful and a perfect appetizer portion.
For my main and I must say after much deliberation, I chose the burger and it didn't disappoint. I know, that`s a lot of burgers in my last few posts but I just get in these moods. Then again, this wasn't just any burger, it was an Oakridge Farms b beef burger served on a very large egg bun with smoked cheddar, arugula and herb mayo and it cost $18. It was worth every penny but I'm sure that is a debatable subject for many. Every bite was a burst of flavour and the patty was extremely tasty on its own. The slightly toasted bun was the only thing stopping every bite from melting in your mouth, simply delicious.
To finish up my meal, I ordered a French press coffee and was happy to hear that they had honey to go with my coffee (my usual way of sweetening coffee). The coffee was good and I got to also have some of the dessert that I was supposedly "splitting" with my wife. It was a dessert simply called "Chocolate", a chocolate bouchon served with coffee ice cream, coffee crumbs and a cherry compote creation. Rich, decadent and filling is how I would describe it.
The Good: Great location, striking atmosphere and exceptional service are perfect backdrops for the real star in this restaurant, and its food.
The Bad: No espresso machine, limited menu and limited drink selection.
The Verdict: The sourcing of ingredients from local farmers show the true food philosophy placed upon this place. The food is upscale without ever being standoffish and demonstrates just a bit of flair to otherwise traditional dishes. It's a welcome sight to this part of Cambridge and we can only hope that the patrons understand and cherish this new gem in West Galt.
I give it 4 out of 5 Olives as rating