CUISINE: Casual ADDRESS: 910 Waterloo Street DATE: June 11, 2013
So, I made my first mistake. EVER IN THE HISTORY OF RECORDED TIME. FULL STOP.
Or, my personality that has been described as “bold”, “big”, “strong” or “the reason we’re not friends anymore” gets me into trouble on a daily basis, but the mistake I’m referring to has to do with this BLOG.
(And, to be fair, that’s not even true either. Continue to point out typos as you see them, guys. Knowing they’re out there and I haven’t caught them only makes me ANGRIER.)
I, for some reason, had it in my head that since Brennan’s Beer and Bistro closed, the next alphabetically was Bungalow, casual neighbourhood “hub” of Old North, and star of the Food Network show “You Gotta Eat Here!” The show featured Bungalow as a burger mecca, and a cool and beloved, well-established neighbourhood joint.
But, we were actually supposed to be at Budapest this week. And my mistake must have ANGERED THE GODS.
Because, dear God, you DON’T GOTTA EAT HERE.
(Am I doing this right?)
So, Ian and I headed over to Bungalow on a Tuesday around 6, thinking it would be a slower night. But their parking lot was packed as usual. They have this really weird, probably somewhat illegal parking lot where there are all these signs saying “PARK AS CLOSE TO THIS FENCE AS POSSIBLE!!!!” and where it takes an 18-point turn to get out a spot once you find it. The only other time I tried to go to Bungalow for dinner with Meghan and Katie, we literally got into a fight with someone in the parking lot who wouldn’t LET US LEAVE, despite our inability to get a table during London-licious, because they didn’t like the angle at which we pulled out of our spot.
There were people on the patio on Tuesday, and even a gentle Australian Shepherd tied to the fence. It reminded me of that Portlandia sketch where Fred and Carrie get so mad about a dog tied up on a fence that they set him free to run through traffic.
Inside, the atmosphere is very “family restaurant”, ala Kelsey’s or Casey’s, but with maybe slightly more expensive lighting fixtures.
Ian got some new shirts today. He noted, “these are all good BLOG SHIRTS.” Ian is wary of being an Internet Sensation. Don’t love him too much, world!
After a look at the fairly standard menu, we decided on a couple of apps. Friends had warned us away from some items, and we thought that the Southwest Spring Rolls would hit the spot, and maybe a Caesar salad to split.
(It was a TUESDAY. We can eat like peasants on a Tuesday.)
We inquired to make sure that the spring rolls were housemade (they were), as we had tried something similar at Joe Kools, and ordered a couple drinks. Ian got a Sapporo rice beer, which he likes almost as much as Saigon, his favourite beer from Vietnam, even though Sapporo is made in Guelph. He called the beer selection adequate.
I liked the beer selection, too.
I love craft sodas. And it was a Tuesday. I had to teach the Future the next day.
But when our apps arrived, we were a little disappointed:
Southwest Spring Rolls.
First of all, we are INSIDE. I am not at a picnic table at rest stop. So, Bungalow, don’t put your chipotle mayo in a plastic cup. Spring for a freakin’ RAMEKIN.
Also, although this picture is a close up, those portions were about the size of my thumb. Each one is a spring roll cut in half (and that dated cut-on-the-bias isn’t fooling ANYONE), which meant that for 8.99, this appetizer consistented of two 4-inch long spring rolls.
Other great items we’ve had for around 8.99 at our blog restaurants?
The arancini at Amici.
The bruschetta at the Armouries.
And every single entree at Addis Ababa.
So, while they didn’t taste bad, we felt a little short-changed.
Ian picked a fried-chicken dinner complete with shoestring fries, a biscuit and, inexplicably, honey. I decided to go with one of their specialty burgers, the wild boar stuffed with brie, garlic and mushrooms, served on a brioche bun. I looked at the “make-your-own-burger” option, but decided that if I put a bad combination together, it wouldn’t really be an accurate reflection of the delicious burgers depicted on the Food Network.
Also, I steered clear when I saw some of their options:
Which cheese do you prefer? “Fetta”? Or something “Greyer”? Would you like it on “foccacia”?
Typos on a menu, to me, are unacceptable. Even one of my favourite restaurants, The Early Bird, had menus that included a “Ceaser Salad” for months. And speaking of Caesar salad:
Bungalow’s Side Caesar.
Ian and I were splitting this, and he laughed when it arrived.
Ian: You should take it from this angle. There’s stuff on the bowl.
Me: Don’t worry. I’ve got stuff of my own on this side.
Besides the stuff LOPPING OUT of the sides as it was delivered to the table, why is this salad served in a RAMEKIN? Why must food be jammed into a tiny cup, set to explode the moment you put a fork in it, like that can of peanut brittle with the spring-loaded snake inside?
(Note: second mention of RAMEKIN in the same entry. Word of the week.)
The dressing was clearly homemade, and quite garlicky, always a plus, but it continued the argument that Ian and I always have about WHITE LETTUCE.
Reasons Ian and I Got Married:
- Neither of us like tomatoes.
- We’re both left-handed, making table seating a BREEZE!
- Ian likes the drumstick wings, and I like the long ones, ergo making wing-platter sharing amicable.
Another thing that works out well is that Ian likes the part of lettuce that is white and disgusting, and I like the leafy, green, delicious part. So sharing a salad works out well.
But this entire salad was WHITE LETTUCE. Ew.
Ian: When it comes to lettuce, A FLAVOURLESS VEGETABLE, it’s alllll about the texture. And I prefer the TEXTURE of white lettuce to the green.
But the REAL trouble started when our entrees arrived:
Ian ordered Chicken in the Rough, some golf-themed chicken that Bungalow imports from Port Huron. While Ian thought the skin on the chicken was crispy, the meat inside was dry, especially the drumstick. He also barely touched the fries(“oversalted and soggy”). The biscuit was old and hard (did they walk the biscuits from Port Huron?).
The brioche bun I was promised with this burger was replaced with a days-old, stale sesame bun. There were absolutely no condiments on this burger, save the mushrooms and wilted arugula. But the biggest problem: the burger has nary a sign of the BRIE that it was to be stuffed with. Boar is already lean: add to that an old bun and no cheese or condiments, and my mouth was completely devoid of saliva. It was totally inedible.
Maybe they just assumed I’d wash the burger down with the puddles of grease that lay just below these soggy onion rings.
AN AZ RESTO TOUR FIRST!
I ate two onion rings, one bite of the burger, checked the inside of the patty for the nascent brie, and sent the whole thing back.
By the time the waitress came back to get my food, we’d been at Bungalow for 2 hours. At a casual dining restaurant on a Tuesday. And the bill, even without my meal, was $50, for a poor man’s Alibi meal (that would be a very poor man).
I already had my suspicious about the Food Network: anyone who expects me to look at Guy Fieri’s flame-shirted, flip-flop wearing, douche-bleached, backwards-Oakley-wearing visage and not vomit obviously doesn’t know what is palatable to most discerning people.
But now I know: You don’t wanna eat here.
1/2 */5 stars