***UPDATED OCTOBER 30TH 2019: KEMESTRE BAR GOURMET IS NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED***
Restaurant: Kemestre Bar Gourmet
Event: Summer Menu Launch
Restaurant type: creative mixology menu, fancy bar eats
Prices: $5-$23 entrées, $10-$25 mains
Date: Friday May 11th 2018
Table of: 6
My favorite dish: Kemestre burger
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Kemestre’s media dinner with my best friend Liz. Upon our arrival, we were nicely greeted and shown to a table. On our way, we ran into some fellow foodies like Victor (@randomcuisine) and Normand (@rdpmag), who joined our table for dinner, followed by Zineb (@pluminaa) and her friend.
At this point, things got a bit confusing, as we were all given different indications as to what we were allowed and not allowed to order. In the end, the instructions were that we could have a glass of wine, a entrée for two and a main meal each.
First up was Liz’s main meal (although technically it was mine too since we did a halfsies) the Kemestre burger with gruyère, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, house sauce and an addition of bacon. Overall the burger was delicious and I really enjoyed it. I loved the seasoning on the meat, it tasted great and the cook was perfect. The added bacon was a nice touch, but there weren’t any onion rings in the burger and you couldn’t taste the cheese either. The patty was also a bit small for the size of bun. There was a bit of a sweet taste, from the tomatoes or what seemed like caramelized onions, which was delicious. Like I said, overall, the burger was very good. The burger was also served with some French fries, which were nice, crispy and crunchy.
After Liz received her burger, pretty much all of the other dishes came out at the same time, one after the other. We also ended up splitting all of the entrées, in order to taste a little bit of everything. Normand and Victor chose the Tuna tataki served with apple julienne, green onions and jalapenos. The dish was good, I really liked the seasoning on the fish, but I’m not a huge fan of the taste of raw tuna (I much prefer raw salmon). The apple julienne was delicious and refreshing and I really liked the combination of the multiple components and flavors of this dish.
Liz and I’s chosen entrée was the Sharing board with fried calamari, chicken tenders, coconut shrimps and roasted cauliflower. The fried calamari were good, but could have used more seasoning. The chicken tenders were excellent, as the chicken was still juicy on the inside but nicely deep fried and crispy on the outside. The shrimps were very good too, but there was no coconut. The roasted cauliflower was very good but could have used some love and a larger portion (it tasted just like the pan-roasted cauliflower I sometimes make at home).
I also got to taste Victor’s Salmon poke, composed of fresh salmon, picked ginger, guacamole, tobiko, nori and mango salsa. The poke was very good and I loved the seasoning on the salmon. Everything went well together, all of the different ingredients and flavours, but it could have used a sauce to really bring everything together nicely, like all other poke bowls.
Lastly, I received my Welcome to Philly – a Philly cheese steak served on a brioche bun. The sandwich was very good, but very greasy and a hot saucy mess. The meat was very good, but you couldn’t really taste the cheese as the whole thing was drenched in gravy, which was good, but doesn’t belong on a Philly cheese steak.
After dinner, we were told we could use our poker chips to get drinks so I ordered the same one as Victor, the Lotus 101. The drink was good, but unfortunately, not what my friends got when they ordered it from a different bartender. I think as a bar with a huge focus on mixology, its important to really nail your cocktails, especially when you invite a bunch of foodies and bloggers to come try your food and drinks. A shame to miss out on an easy opportunity to shine.
Overall, we had a good time at Kemestre, accompanied with some ups and downs. The food was quite good, especially the Kemestre burger, but there were more downs than ups. Unfortunately, the whole thing was poorly managed and thus understaffed, so we sat there for about half an hour waiting for someone to take our order and then another 15 minutes before getting our glass of wine. As well, once we did order, the food took another hour or so and came out in a random order (Liz got her main meal before anyone got their entrées). At the end of the evening, once we were allowed to use our poker chip to get a cocktail (I didn’t quite get why we couldn’t have gotten it earlier on) the cocktails we received were a poor representation of what they were meant to be and what others received. I’m not usually the type to complain, especially when its a free meal, but in my opinion, if you’re going to invite a bunch of foodies and bloggers to come and try out your new menu and promote it, the least you could do is get the logistics right, make sure you have enough staff, teach them the drinks menus, etc. Mais bon, we finally got to eat around 9pm and the food was very good.
UP NEXT: my restaurant review of Belon (the new seafood hotspot downtown!)
*This restaurant post does not contain my usual restaurant review criteria of restaurants, as this is a sponsored post where I was invited to the restaurant as a guest.
*All photos and comments are mine