Quality Food makes After Hours a crowd-pleaser
Posted on 05 / 09 / 2015
I am reviewing Tori's After Hours only, since other reviews focus on the daytime cafe & bakery. We were a party of 5 tonight, consisting of 2 vegans & 3 omnivores. We decided on a variety of dishes to share, as suggested by Tori's menu heading "Sharing Platters".
To start, we had the Olives and the Cheese Platter, both savoury, delicious fatty goodness. We followed with Pizza, Gnocchi and Scallion Pancakes with Seitan (names are not exact). The server provided some tasty house-made marinated hot peppers which I enjoyed with the pizza & pancake dishes. We ended with creme brulee & chef's dessert, a strawberry-rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream. I thought each dish was delicious, nicely presented & the flavours were well-balanced. I could not pick a favourite, they were all excellent.
The gnocchi were served with a creamy sauce, crispy mushrooms & fresh pea shoots that brightened up the dish. The pizza was on a light but crisp olive oil crust with marinara, vegan bocconcini (omg!) & fresh basil. The scallion pancakes arrives in crispy segments & were accompanied by seitan topped with a creamy sauce & caramelized onions, all of them flavourful & complimentary to the pancakes.
My only critique is minor & regards the menu in general: I wish there was one dish with more protein (tofu/beans/lentils). I should note that while there is seitan in the pancake dish, it is more of an accompaniment to the pancakes, which were the main component. To be fair, I do not know what Tori's uses in the pancake batter & it could very well be silken tofu or chickpea flour & thus have a high protein content.
Also, I should add that our choices were quite carb-heavy tonight & there were a couple of vegetable dishes that we opted out of including sauteed mixed mushrooms, grilled vegetables, & the chef's special - green bean salad. When deciding what to order tonight, the vegetable dishes seemed too straight-forward but since we were so impressed with our meal tonight, I plan to try them in the future.
The total before tipping came to $150, including alcohol & taxes. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the meal, found it very omnivore-friendly & appropriate for a nice night out. The ingredients are organic & very fresh, and everything is made in-house, including the bread & crackers. You can taste the quality & it is one of those rare all-vegan places you can safely bring an omnivore & not worry about "weirding them out". Reminiscent of Ottawa's Zen Kitchen, sadly now closed.
organic ingredients, high quality food, large wine selection (all vegan!)