Showing posts with label Asian Fusion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asian Fusion. Show all posts
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of the newly opened Dave & Buster's in Oakville, ON. I am quite familiar with the brand, as Dave & Buster's has been a household name for many years. Its first Canadian location opened in the year 2000 up in Vaughan, and has since been frequent by many visitors. This location marks the second location in Canada, and it is bigger than ever. 

However, over the last two decades, much has changed, including the demise of arcade and game centers due the emergence of mobile phones and Netflix. The health movement over the last six years has also made Dave & Buster's traditional burger and fries menu far less appealing than what it was. With that being said, they have changed their food menu, and the options are now more diverse. The menu is rather extensive with items like shareable appetizers, side salads, beef steaks and ribs, pasta, sandwiches, and so much more. 

In order to survive in such a different hospitality landscape. Changes had to be made not only to the brand's offering, but to the overall corporate identity of what Dave & Buster's should be in today's digital age. The all-new Dave & Buster's in Oakville opens with a menu of new food, new drinks, new games and the ultimate sports viewing at their sports bar area. The new space was quite large at 36,000-square-foot and designed to be upscale, and modern. 

Guests at the media preview also got to try a few food items like the Pepperoni Pretzel Pull-Apart, the Caveman Combo (ribs, sliders and fries piled high in a bucket!), a Legendary Burger lineup featuring a burger topped with boneless buffalo wings, and the all-new Carnivore Pizzadilla. I do recommend the new food items. The new food menu was diverse with burgers, fries, ribs, and more healthy options, whereas the drinks were exotic to every detail. Colorful in design, which matches the excitement of the glowing lights when you enter the gaming zone. 

The Million Dollar Midway caters to all sort of gamers, as there are more than 160 games to choose from. Some notable ones are Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Star Wars Battle Pod, Candy Crush, Pac-Mac, Air Hockey, and more. Plus, every Wednesday is “Half Price Games Wednesday”, where every game is half off, all day long. Those hard-earned tickets can be redeemed with a trip to the Winner’s Circle for a variety of prizes, including Apple products, Xbox games, sports memorabilia and much more!

It has been over 2 years since my last visit to a D&B. The new Oakville complex has changed before my eyes to what I remember of Dave & Buster's. It is now a spacious sports bar with comfortable seats, and outfitted with massive HD TVs. Lastly, corporate rooms are also available for rent allowing companies to have team building activities upstairs. All this shift in their brand was to expand their target audience to bring on a more mature crowd but also pleasing their old client base. 

All in all, Dave & Buster's has done a fantastic job in re-inventing itself in a market that had been tight squeezed over the last 4 years. Their food menu will continue to be refreshed to meet the continuous demands of what makes Toronto a central hub for fine dining & quality entertainment.

Address: 2021 Winston Park Dr, Oakville, ON L6H 6P5

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Roll Play Bar & Lounge started off as a board game cafe when they first opened, but has since re-branded itself into Toronto's first Asian cocktail bar. There was a change in ownership, and they decided to transition to a bar/lounge late last year. Roll Play Bar & Lounge now offers an extensive list of high-end Asian cocktails, wine & beer, while still offering some complimentary board games for customers to play. The location is slightly hidden, as it's located on the second floor of a building next to the BMV. You actually need to walk up to a long stairwell with pop art collages, which leads to the bar/lounge. According to their website, the space was created to be reminiscent of a bar in Hong Kong, and where customers can experience the Asian culture. 

The space felt modern and sleek with its exposed brick, dimly lit with a lot of black/red decor, wooden tables and chairs, and black booths. Great for larger groups or even an intimate date for two.

The food and dessert menu has been simplified to feature a small number of items. Unfortunately, we had dinner prior to our visit, so we didn't have room to eat so I can't comment on their food menu. However, Roll Play Bar & Lounge does have a great selection of 88 Asian-inspired cocktails that are named after well-known Asian movies. They have also brought forward a new concept where customers would roll dice to determine what drink they would get, and that's something they're pushing forward. I thought that it was a really interactive, and fun way to add to the atmosphere.

While we waited for our drinks, we decided to start a game of Jenga. Although, they did away with the board game cafe concept, they kept a few games that weren't too complicated, but still fun to play like Taboo, Jenga, Scrabble, Pictionary, and a few more. 

The Geisha ($14) - cucumber vodka, melon liqueur, grapefruit juice, Japanese green tea, and yuzu syrup.


 J opted for the Crouching Tiger ($12) - osmanthus infused soju, ginseng tea, osmanthus syrup, Asian pear, dried osmanthus.

The cocktails were well-priced for what you get, and tasted really good.

 For dessert, there was only one option that night, so we ended up getting the burnt marshmallow waffle and ice-cream ($14). The dessert consisted of four waffles topped with burnt marshmallow, drizzled with chocolate sauce, and served with vanilla ice cream and banana slices. 

I have never been here during their early board game phrase, so I can't really comment on how well they transitioned. However, it's a fun place to hang out, drink cocktails, and play games with friends, or even on dates. I thought that the ambiance was nice, and the music wasn't too loud so conversations can easily be made with one another.

Address: 10A Edward Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1C9

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Roll Play Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
The Red Tomato is located in the basement level of Fred's Not Here; a fixture in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District, and minutes away from the theater district. Back in September, I was invited to their new menu launch event called #PieTunes, where they added casual Italian fare to the menu including a line of various pizzas. After the launch, I was also invited back along with a few fellow bloggers to have a more intimate tasting of their dinner menu.  Many of the items on their menu are shareable, so it's a good place to come dine with friends, or even a dinner date after the theater.


For our dinner, we started with three appetizers from their starter menu. The first appetizer was the Salad Caprese ($11) - fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, fire roasted peppers, and EVOO. Caprese salad is a simple Italian salad made to resemble the colors of the Italian flag. The one from The Red Tomato was a great starter, and the combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil made it a refreshing salad.

The Crispy Coconut Shrimps ($8) - with Thai dipping sauce, were relatively large, and had a good amount of batter on them. Overall, I liked it as the coconut encrusted shrimp were perfectly crispy, yet succulent on the inside. 


The Steamed Clams ($11) - clams, chorizo with garlic, and white wine was chosen as our third appetizer. The steamed clams are served in the white wine that they are based in, and it wasn't overly salty. However, there were a lot more empty shells than I anticipated with the dish.

 Next up is their pizzas, which was divided into three categories; red, white, and fusion confusion.

"The Hangover Cure" - tomato, olives, soppressata, double smoked bacon, fresh mozzarella, grana padano, chilies, topped with fried eggs was the first pizza that I tried. The egg was a nice touch to the pizza, as the combination of all of the toppings complemented one another. 

The Smoked Chicken ($16) - tomato, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, sweet peppers, sliced jalapeno chipotle BBQ sauce, was another pizza that I'd order again. The mix between the smoked chicken, and sweetness of the peppers was an interesting combination.

I rarely order white-based pizza, as I very much prefer a tomato base pie than a cream base one. So, I didn't really like the Potato ($15) - Yukon gold potato, caramelized onions, fennel, and gorgonzola pizza.

Personally, I liked the Garlic Shrimps ($18) - fresh mozzarella, and walnut pesto pizza that I had at the #PieTunes party more than the one from the dinner. They were both chalk full of plump shrimp, but the one from the dinner was a lot more oily, so the shrimp pieces fell right off. Regardless of that issue, it was still a good pizza.

I wasn't a huge fan of the Prosciutto $16) - grilled artichoke peso, fresh mozzarella, fired roasted sweet peppers, and arugula pizza, as it was a tad overly salty with the addition of the artichoke peso. However, there was a generous portion of thinly sliced prosciutto (dry-cured ham). The reason for its thinness is due to the fact that prosciutto is often tough, and chewy so it's ideal to slice them thin.

The Peking Duck ($18) - roasted duck breast, enoki & shitaki mushrooms, fresh mozerella, hoisin drizzle with green onions, crispy duck crackling was by far - my favorite pizza out of all the ones I got to sample. There was a good ratio of topping versus the amount of toasted duck breast on each slice of pizza. The duck was flavorful, and tender, and the hoisin drizzle definitely helped to enhance the flavor of the duck. This one is must try!

Mushroom Agnolotti ($17) - with mushroom truffle butter sauce

Meatball Gnocchi ($16) - sausage, and angus beef meatballs, and marinara sauce 

Lastly, The Red Tomato also has a dessert menu with a good variety of choices. Price wise, they were all $7.99 each, which is a reasonable price for desserts in that particular area. The four of us decided to get one dessert each, and shared among the table. The desserts that we selected are as followed; Bourbon Pecan Pie, Belgian Double Chocolate Mousse Cake, Espresso Creme Brulee, and Duo Cheesecake.

The two that I liked best was the mousse cake, and crème brûlée. The Belgian Double Chocolate Mousse Cake had an intense chocolate flavor, yet it wasn't overly sweet. I also ordered the Espresso Crème Brûlée, as I have a penchant for this particular French dessert. It had a nice espresso coffee flavor, but the custard was a tad runny. I would have suggested that the custard be allowed to cool completely before they are properly set. That way, the custard would have a nice consistency.

Address: 321 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1J5

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

The Red Tomato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Red Tomato

by on Saturday, November 07, 2015
The Red Tomato is located in the basement level of Fred's Not Here; a fixture in the heart of Toronto's Entertainment District, and...
Han Ba Tang opened up earlier this summer, and is one of the latest additions to the Yonge and Sheppard area. The name translates to meaning "one full round" in Korean and is like a Korean-styled izakaya (or pojangmacha). I was invited to their bloggers' media tasting to preview some of their menu items. The three of us were happily greeted by the owner and a few of the organizers and staff before being shown to our table. 

The restaurant may be unsuspecting from the outside as there is no signage. However, there is a large bright sign inside the restaurant and it kind of illuminates from the outside. The reason for the no signage is that the owner, Chae, wanted to preserve a rare Vitrolite tiling which was uncovered during the removal of the previous establishment's sign in the construction period. There's an industrial feel to the place with its unfinished wood floors, chalkboard menu, communal tables, and wooden decor which lends a welcoming atmosphere to the space. Rather than being a traditional Korean restaurant; Han Ba Tang strides to bring Korean-Asian fusion influences to their everyday menu while still providing affordable prices.

The cocktails are brightly written on the blackboard located at the front bar; each are priced between $8 to $12.

Kandy Crush ($8) - strawberry soju, triple sec, raspberry sour (left) and Ocean Popsicle ($9) - blue curacao, raspeberry sour and southern comfort (middle).
 We started the night off with the chilli shrimp ($8) - lightly battered shrimp dipped in sweet chilli sauce, which arrived in four small dishes with 3-4 pieces each. It was dipped in a chilli sauce that tasted both sweet and spicy at the same time. I'd say that it had a very similar texture of sweet and sour pork as the shrimps weren't super crispy.

The lobster - steamed lobster with a house salad, is one of their new items that is on their winter menu. For an appetizer dish, there was a generous amount of lobster meat that peels right off the shell.

I am a huge fan of Korean kalbi, so I was thrilled to see kalbi tacos and spicy pork tacos - grilled kalbi or spicy pork on a bed of shredded cabbage with red onions and a light house aioli, on the menu.

My favorite dish of the night had to be their kimchi fries ($8) with bulgogi (+ $3) - extra crispy fries topped with kimchi, aioli gravy, sizzling bulgogi and green onions. The small portion is $10 while the larger portion is $15. If you'd like to add bulgogi to your kimchi fries then it's an additional $3. The one that we got was the small and it was more than enough for the three of us to share. I loved how the fries managed to retain its crispiness even though it was topped with hot gravy and bulgogi. Additionally, there was a generous amount of fries and bulgogi, and in my opinion, worth the price. 

A fusion dish that we got to tried was the black squid ink pasta - squid ink pasta, mussels, with a house made gochujang cream sauce topped with Korean beef cake. The briny flavor of the ink pasta pairs rather well with the mussels, and the gochujang cream sauce added the Korean flavor to the dish

The spicy chicken with fondue ($9 + $3 for fondue) - grilled chicken in a sizzling plate with a mix of rice cakes, onions, and carrots with a side of creamy cheese fondue, was not the most innovative dishes of the night. However, it was still good as the chicken went really well with the hot cheese when mixed together.

Personally, I have never heard or tried spoon pizza ($8) - mashed sweet potato crust with vegetables, tomato sauce topped with cheese and bacon or kimchi, before and I am glad that I did. Instead of a hard crust; mashed sweet potato is used as an alternative and works as the base for the pizza. You'd need a spoon to scoop up the sweet potato crust that is layered with cheese and vegetables. It was an interesting dish!

The spicy seafood soup ($10 for small) - a spicy seafood soup with shrimp mussels and crab with Korean ramyun, kind of reminds me of a fusion styled bouillabaisse (one of my favorite classic French soup). The soup base was rich in flavor, and the spiciness added a lot of kick. The portion contained a fair amount of seafood, and it's a perfect soup dish for this cold weather. The chef forgo the Korean ramyun (as it would be super filling) for the tasting, so I am not sure how it'd taste with the soup.

Lastly, we were served a decorative slice of dried persimmon cake with whipped cream for dessert. 

In addition to having various cocktails on their drink menu; they also offer in-house made infused soju. The jars of soju are beautifully displayed at the front, and the flavors rotate weekly. You can order a Soju Flight ($15) which comes with four shots, and you can choose the four flavors. 


Soju Flight - cinnamon apple, pineapple, and strawberry soju.

The upper Yonge area is one of the quintessential haven for traditional Korean food. However, Han Ba Tang is a welcome addition to the area as they offer a more modern take on Korean food, and is sure to please the younger crowds looking for late night eats and drinks. Thank you to both Acorn Communication and Han Ba Tang for the wonderful media tasting.

Address: 4862 Yonge St Toronto, ON, M2N 5N2

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Han Ba Tang on Urbanspoon

Han Ba Tang

by on Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Han Ba Tang opened up earlier this summer, and is one of the latest additions to the Yonge and Sheppard area. The name translates to meanin...