Last night, my brother and I had dinner at Bent for Summerlicious, which is a two week culinary festival held every year in July and participating restaurants serves up a three-course menu at a fixed price. The festival is also held in the winter, appropriately called Winterlicious.
It is a great opportunity for people to try different restaurants, or dine at restaurants people can’t afford to eat at without the festival.
We chose to eat at Bent, wanting to try the place that one of international renowned chef, Susur Lee have opened with his two sons, Levi and Kai Bent-Lee. We made reservations for 6:45pm and was seated promptly by the bar.
One thing about Bent is, it’s a fully family affair. The decor and design of the restaurant was co-designed by Susur Lee’s wife, Brenda Bent. There’s little touches here and there from the old school photos that line the bathroom walls, to the trinkets and toys all neatly displayed on the back wall of the restaurant that were either the boys’ childhood toys, and what Brenda collected over the years. As well, the two brothers run the restaurant (our time at the restaurant was attended to by our server and Kai).
My brother and I decided to not only order from their $35 Summerlicious dinner menu, but also from their regular menu.
Pressed octopus ceviche ($14) with Lentil, Tomato, Black Garlic, Perilla, Herbed Olive Oil and Pomegranate Vinaigrette. The octopus was cooked nicely, but on its own, there’s not much flavour. The olive oil and vinaigrette gave the dish a nice sweet and saltiness taste to the otherwise bland octopus.
Duck Confit spring rolls ($13). I don’t quite remember what was in it except for goat cheese, as my brother had this whole dish to himself because it had goat cheese in it. It was nice of our server to double check if we wanted to go ahead and order this due to my lactose intolerance.
Vegetable & Lime Coconut Curry Soup with tomato, corn, squash and crispy puff rice (Summerlicious appetizer). I think on their regular menu, instead of vegetables, it had shrimp. So they revised the soup for Summerlicious to cater to vegetarians. I loved this soup. It had a nice balance between the curry, coconut and lime. Usually, coconut-based soups are heavy, but it was light and refreshing.
Crispy “Assam” Salmon with Tamarind, Ginger Flower, Four Citrus, Mustard & Fruit (Summerlicious main). I also enjoyed this dish but not as much as the soup. The salmon wasn’t overcooked and a good balance of tart and sweetness the tamarind, pieces of grapefruit, mango and green grapes.
Pull Beef Ravioli with Malay Black Pepper Emulsion, Garlic Mushroom and Confit Tomato (Summerlicious main). I wanted to order this, but the kitchen couldn’t exclude the cheese. It is the biggest ravioli I have ever seen though.
A Tasting Trio dessert of (1) Profiterole with vanilla custard with Hot chocolate sauce and sesame brittle; (2) Strawberry, Rhubarb and Lemongrass Compote with Grand Marnier crème fraiche, Butterfly Pastry and (3) Passion Fruit & Mango Panna Cotta with Coconut tapioca, Pineapple & Passion Fruit granitee.
For myself, I got a small dish of strawberry, rhubarb and lemongrass compote with passion fruit granitee as I couldn’t eat the the trio desserts.
Overall, it was a good dining experience. They accommodated the best they could with my lactose intolerance, and the service was attentive from both Kai and our server. If you happen to find yourself at Bent, be sure to get the soup!
777 Dundas Street W.