Monday, 23 June 2014

Jake & Humphreys Bistro

196 Peel Street
New Hamburg, ON


In her opinion:
It's always nice when you can have an adults only dinner with friends who appreciate food as much as we do! This last Saturday was adult date night. After some thought, I remembered that I had been wanting to try Jake & Humphreys Bistro in New Hamburg for some time.

The restaurant is housed in a old red house on the main strip in New Hamburg. As we walked into the old foyer, we were greeted by our server who showed us to our table. The restaurant was filled to capacity. But it did not seem crowded or too loud. I liked the ambiance of the room the minute I sat down.

Our water glasses were filled right away. I decided to have a glass of Megalomaniac Homegrown Riesling.

This is a gorgeous Riesling. Not too tart with just the right amount of sweetness. This is the first white I've had in a while and it was really good. Our waitress brought over some house made whole wheat and focaccia bread along with olive oil and balsamic for dipping.

For my appetizer, I decided to go with one of the feature appetizers. Six beautiful raw malpeque oysters with house made seafood sauce.

The best choice I could have made and probably the highlight of my meal. Super fresh. Super sweet. The seafood sauce was also delightful with the right amount of kick provided by the horseradish. Excellent!

I was debating about what to have for my main. I finally decided to have the "Poached Chicken Breast in a Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce". This was served with polenta and sauted vegetables.

The chicken looked bland on the plate...what did I really expect from anything poached? But the chicken breast was definitely moist and flavourful and the creamy mushroom sauce was really delicious adding the right amount of zing to the otherwise boring looking chicken! The polenta was okay...not super creamy. The sauted vegetable were excellent. Fresh and flavourful. Big shout out to the red cabbage which stole the show and I was a really good girl and finished every piece of vegetable on my plate.
I didn't leave any room for dessert.

Overall, a nice dinner...the company probably improved the experience by a lot but I would say that Jack & Humphreys is a good place for dinner with friends or for a romantic dinner for two.

In his opinion:
Every time I dine in New Hamburg I have a pretty good experience so I was expecting more of the same. I usually encounter great unpretentious food prepared with care and featuring a lot of local ingredients which puts the New Hamburg dining scene at par with other Ontario cities for local fare.

Jake and Humphrey's is your typical house adapted restaurant venue with a mix of charm and close quarters that add to the ambience and mystic of the experience. I ordered a Rickard's Red while browsing the menu, this was mostly because I did not recognize any of the featured craft beers explained by the waitress but I recall the list of availability seemed to be short.

For starters, I ordered the "Butter Seared Scallops with Julienne Vegetable Salad served in a sesame soy dressing". When encountering words such as butter sea scallops in the same phrase, it is hard to look at anything else and I was drawn to it automatically.

The scallops were seared to perfection and even the slight burnt marks on them didn't take away for their moistness and taste and it actually added texture. The julienne vegetable salad was arguably the best I have ever had and that's admitting that I'm not a huge fan of this salad usually. This dish was fresh, light and perfect for a hot summer evening in the country.

For my entree, I chose the "Braised Beef Ribs with Hoisin and Dark Beer Sauce". This dish was served with Fettuccine noodles contrary to the description on the menu that stated mashed potato. A vegetable medley rounded out the dish and did it in great fashion. The braised ribs were very flavourful and tender. The dark beer sauce acted as the coating on the meat and added both the flavour and texture.

As we were pretty full, we opted out of dessert but I must add that the options the waitress explained didn't seem to be calling my name either. As a nice touch, we received chocolate caramels with our bill.

The Good: Very good unpretentious food served in a cozy romantic setting.
The Bad: Service was a bit aloof.
The Verdict: Again the food speaks volumes in New Hamburg. Food selection was good and the food was well prepared and flavourful. A great place to visit and try some of the good dishes coming out of this kitchen.

I give it 3 1/2 Out of 5 Olives as rating

Jake & Humphreys Bistro on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Marcelo's Italian Restaurant

1-2435 Eagle Street North
Cambridge, ON


Photograph property of Restaurant Food Pages

In her opinion:
Our awesome neighbours Rob and Rosanne have been talking about Marcelo's forever. Basically about how they are regulars and how fabulous the food was...that's all I needed to hear...fabulous food. I can honestly say that Italian food is not my favourite cuisine but when it is done right it can be marvellous and that is what I was hoping with Marcelo's.

Marcelo's is located in a strip mall on Eagle Street North. It's very unassuming. When you walk into Marcelo's you enter a nicely furnished room and you are greeted by the Marcelo's wife, Rodi who will show you to your seat. 

On his particular night, Marcelo's was happening. Our waitress came over and took our drink orders right away. We ordered sparkling water for the table and everyone got a Negroni (a fabulous combination of gin, sweet varmouth and Campari with orange peel) to start. This is becoming one of my favourite cocktails and this one did not disappoint.

Rodi brought over some delicious bread and dipping oil. It was so delectable. I loved the dripping oil with the wonderful olive tapenade, spicy pepper flakes and tanginess of the vinegar. They actually bake the bread in-house everyday and this wonderful bread is available for sale to take home.

We also ordered a bottle of Don Bosco red wine to share. A very nice Italian red. 

For my starter, I ordered "Rodi's Mussels" - mussels, cream, tomatoes, bacon ragu, scallions and gremolata bread crumbs.

The mussels were very good. They were fresh tasting and the flavours of the tomato, cream and bacon worked very well together.

For my main, I choose "the Veal Marsala" - milk fed veal in a Marsala sauce served with a vegetable risotto on this night and topped with Parmesan shavings.

In a word "orgasmic"! I think my eyes rolled to the back of my head when I bit into this veal. OMG! This was the best veal Marsala I have ever eaten. Marcelo is a magician in the kitchen and what is most impressive is that he's not even Italian. Not bad for a Romanian!

Marcelo visited our table at the end of our meal since we were the last patrons left. We basically closed down the place. He decided to make us a special dessert.

He presented us with a dessert gnocchi with stewed fruit and fresh ricotta. This was a savoury sweet dessert. The gnocchi was so fresh and perfectly executed. But for me the stewed fruit stole the sweet and tasty.

I now know what Rob and Rosanne are talking about when they talk about the deliciousness of Marcelo's. This place is wonderful and the food incredible. Definitely worth a visit.

In his opinion:

Marcelo's has been on our radar for quite a while but we somehow never got around to try it. Granted that Italian food is not the top of our list but we do occasionally find good Italian experiences.

Marcelo's has an unassuming front facade but feels very Mediterranean inside. The open kitchen as you walk in to your right is a very nice touch and feels very inviting. Inside the dining area, you'll find the expected Italian style decorations like wall sconces, niches and faux old style plaster walls.

We were promptly seated with our friends and given our menus to peruse. The menu is extensive with the typical Italian dishes, both traditionally Italian and a couple of the expected "North American/Italian" dishes to satisfy some customers.

The bread served was top notch, baked in house and very well complimented by a dipping oil with a tapenade like base. We all got Negroni cocktails and a bottle of red Montepulciano D'Abruzzo Don Bosco (not to be confused with Donnie Brasco). It was a medium bodied red with great colour and gentle tannins, a wine traditionally known to be consumed with food.

For my starter, I chose the Calamari Peperonata - grilled calamari, peppers, greens, home dressing and balsamic. The generous portion of calamari rings were cooked very well as were the al dente vegetables that accompanied it. The balsamic kicks in a nice twist to the taste without overpowering the flavour.

For a main, I chose the Grilled Scallop Fettuccine served in a cream sauce, with tomatoes, bacon and spinach. The scallops were a good size, lightly seared and work well with the sauce. The fettuccine was well seasoned in pepper and aired very well with the spinach. The tomato rounded up the dish nicely to accentuate the Italian in it.

For dessert, we were treated by Marcelo himself to a gnocchi dessert that could easily feed 10 people. It was a gnocchi dessert with fresh ricotta and fruits, full of flavour and light. I had a few pieces myself. Marcelo visited our table and provided a bit of his food/restaurant knowledge as well as treating us to a bit of his dry Romanian humour.

The Good: Good food and service and friendly atmosphere.
The Bad: The fake exposed brick decor is unnecessary for an Italian feel.
The Verdict: Well executed food and gracious hosting make this place a welcoming and family friendly place. It's good to have a good Italian Restaurant in this town as so many don't live up to the exceptions.
I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating

Marcelo's Italian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato