A Sneaky Restaurant Review
For the past year or so, I’ve been penning the restaurant reviews in Tonic. They’re usually found in the “Good Food” section of the magazine, together with my wife’s column on food media, Cooking the Books, Lora Maghanoy’s celebration of local producers, Local Hero, and Naturally Savvy’s comparison of healthy vs. unhealthy store-bought foods, Label Lessons.
However, this month, I’m not reviewing a traditional restaurant, but rather the top secret L.U.S.T. Supper Club; an online driven, underground, dining experience. A stealthy eatery deserves a stealthy review (and that’s why it’s here, not there). Luke Hayes-Alexander of chefluke.com is the very young chef behind L.U.S.T. Together with his restaurateur mother, they operate this once-a-week, book in advance, food experience. You communicate through email - where the location of the meal is disclosed as the date approaches. The menu is themed but the actual dishes are kept secret, and it’s BYOB.
Friends of ours invited us for Chef Luke’s riff on a retro-70’s meal. Kitschy tricks, like dinner theatre or dining-in-the-dark isn’t usually my thing. But this sounded like it would be fun, and in fact it was. The dinner was a series of 5 smallish plates - styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery to be precise. The atmosphere is casual. The food is not. The tastes are all traditional, but the textures and contexts are all juxtaposed. Either you’re into the playfulness, or you aren’t. Quiche Lorraine devolves into a cheesy Ritz-shaped cracker topped with a cold dense egg custard with sprinklings of bacon-y fried onions. Beef Sukiyaki presents a cube of beef cheek atop a bed of tofu noodles. Baked Alaska is deconstructed into chocolate gelato and meringue kisses. And the 70’s classics, pop-tarts and ambrosia, morph into mini blueberry hand pies and coconut mandarin orange ice cream. Inspired by a carefully curated soundtrack, we reminisced about our favourite classic movies and tv shows. It was a truly unique experience.
For another set of unique experiences there is much to recommend in the November issue of Tonic. Carlyle Jansen answers whether we can boost female desire with a pill (p. 36), Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant explain the health implications of transient and chronic inflammation (p. 38). Lora Maghanoy tells you why you might want to add charcoal to your beauty regimen (p. 18) and Rod Macdonald thinks that it is better to have reasonable exercise expectations (p. 33). As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any comments about this note or anything else you read in this issue of Tonic.
PS: We’re at it again. Regular readers know that I’m not a huge fan of Family Day. Traditionally, it is a big black hole of nothing to do. But that will change next year, as we’re planning a big fun, free, all ages event that you won’t want to miss. Anybody interested can shoot me an email.