I wanted to give the Sidedoor enough time to tweek out any early glitches before going to write a formal review. It looks as though the kitchen has had a chance to get their hands dirty (no punn intended) and the front staff is familiar with the menu and the portion sizes, so here we go.
What a nice change of interior from the Foundations restaurant it once was. With a resurfacing of the floors and heightened foundation (again no Punn intended), the location no longer feels like a basement apartment. Instead, the crisp neutral colors and the open layout brings in a much more inviting feel. The upper levels bring a more romantic and secluded experience whereas the lower group dining room and the bars are perfect for socializing.
I am a sucker for Mexican food, so naturally I was drooling over the tacos on the menu. Fresh tortillas and a fusion of citrus with spice are the perfect blend for these morsels of goodness. Though I dont see how these tacos fit into the Asian Fusion mix, they are delightful nonetheless. The rest of the menu is split into vegetables, seafood and meat. When I sat down the last time, I explained to the waiter that I was exceptionally hungry and he outlined that the concept is to begin with a meat dish (if you are that hungry) and include seafood and vegetable dishes as add-ons to compliment the dishes. So I ordered the braised beef with Panaeng curry and roasted peanuts, along with the crispy prawn in betal leaf and the prawn with galangal, and a side of steamed jasmin rice. I will say that during friends and family night I tried the prawn dumplings; not much to say other than perfection. Light and airy with a strong but odor-light touch of prawn.
I was overly thrilled with the prawn in betal leaf. It seemed like an envelope of prawn inside this deep-fried leaf. So simple but crispy on the outside filled with a flood of flavors on the inside. The prawn with galangal is quite opposite. It is a single prawn perched like a tadpole on a leaf, but upon your first bite comes the kick of galangal. Quite unique.
I absolutely love curries so my expectations are rather high. The beef was slow cooked and very tender, but I was hoping for more of a spicy kick. Perhaps they are feeling their customers out before increasing the heat on some of these dishes but I welcome the spice.
I skipped dessert since the donuts werent made yet, but I will sure be back to try them. Again, I dont know where they fit into the Asian fusion, but I must try them. I think my next adventure will be sitting at the bar, trying a few more finger foods. Hopefully by then the donuts will be ready for me.
A much more laid back feeling than both Social and Restaurant Eighteen, I have strong suspicion the Sidedoor is going to become busier pretty soon.
Congratulations to chefs Jonathan Korecki (chef, Sidedoor) and Curtis Luk (Sous chef, Courtyard) for being contestants on Top chef Canada Season 2