Side Dish Restaurant
1008 Langley St.
E: Strange. In a region that was once known as Persia, I would expect the food to be a touch more exotic. I'm fascinated with the ancient culture because of the sun god Mithras. His secretive religion is as mysterious as the restaurant that could have bore his name.
At Side Dish, I was fascinated with the baklava desserts offered and that's what I should have picked up instead of one of their traditional dishes. As colourful as it was, I wondered where did the flavour go? Was the pomegranate fruit forgotten or the sumac spice not applied?
J: Looking at Ed's dish, the kabobs looked as about exotic as National Geographic cut-outs on the wall of an office cubicle. The kebabs were processed lines of meat. I couldn't laugh, my meal faired no better.
E: At least James' meal looked like it should belong in a garden, which might be true to the region back when its known as one of the possible locations for the fabled Garden of Eden. The multicolored saffron rice made for a nice presentation. All I got were specs of orange than an all out green and red.
I had a bit of that too with the veggies and roasted tomato, and out of everything, all I could really enjoy was that one charred tomato. It was a simple meal which needed a bit of an extra oomph. That is, my taste buds did not pick up on any use of added spices to give the meal some extra flavour. The sumac would have given it some life to the rice with a lemony taste, but I guess my buds were off that day.
J: The chef's specialty was a chicken leg cooked in tomato saffron and lime. I couldn't taste anything but the tomato sadly. I was given the heated tomato sauce in a side dish. I poured it liberally over the saffron rice to take away the dry taste. It helped slightly.
And I consider a salad something a little more than two pieces of tomato and cucumber on two leaves of lettuce. That's more suited as a salad for Peter Rabbit.
E: The salad dressing helped. It gave that part of my meal that exoticness I was craving. Had the pomegranate been in seasaon, I'm sure that would kicked that part of the meal up by a notch.
Like I said before, the next time I stop in here for a bite, it'd only be for the baklavas instead of anything else. I like my kababs ripped from the cow/lamb/chicken so I can strum my tongue over its sinewy taste than finely ground (which I have learned it typical for some types of kababs) before it gets fired up in a grill. That's just my preference.
J: The Side Dish is a cozy and clean restaurant. For me, that's important but foodwise, they haven't convinced me to make a return visit. Maybe if they start by presenting an appetizing kebab, this place would feel less westernized.
2½ Blokes out of 5