Back Lane Cafe, Hintonburg

The ‘burg is blowing up!!

After last months opening of Alphasoul cafe, and the long-awaited/dreaded/etc opening of Bridgehead, this week two new restos opened on Wellington in the hood.

There were no grand opening signs on either (as far as I know), and as Somerset is closed at Preston I hadn’t been by that part of Wellington for a few days, so I apologize if they actually opened last week. I know Back Lane was open a few days ago and so we decided to make a reservation. At the time they had a sign on the door saying they nod not yet gotten a liquor licence and could only accept cash, so we were ready, cash in hand, for a prohibition style supper. However, they had gotten in the license the night before and had spend the day shopping at the LCBO. Our reso was early so we actually got to christen the wine list with complementary glasses of bubbly – sweet!!

Other liquor licence highlights – they were the first to get Granville island pale ale in, and it looks like they’re all set to have a serious amount of draft (I think I counted ten taps, although currently only three have been filled. Looks like they are waiting on delivery from Kichesippi & Beau’s as well, so that should be imminent.

The wine list seems to be faily general-list centric, but we had a stellar bottle of New Zealand Sauv Blanc, which we actually ordered right off the Excel spreadsheet as the owner was literally just putting together the list when we walked in.

We noted that they are doing wood-fired pizzas, and although we didn’t get a chance to try one, some chef-friends were in at the same time and they said they enjoyed the pizza they had. Not sure how that will go with Tennessee Willems across the street, but I’m happy to support anything that doesn’t involve an orange box.

To Start: Lentil Soup & Paté. The soup was phenomenal. They had obviously just touched it up with extra greens before serving, which was a nice touch because the greens were still nice and bright amid the more neutral colors that lentils tend to give everything. Not sure if the base of this soup was vegetarian or not, I forgot to ask. We also had some bread with chili oil and vinegar.

The pate was HUGE for a starter. I think this dish could be served as a starter to share or could be made into a bit of a smaller disk. The pate was actually mushrooom based, so it wasn’t as heavy as a meat paté but it was very flavourful and servied with a well-arranged and colourful array of condiments, and there seemed to be exactly the right amount of everything, which is nice in dishes that are ‘build your own’

For mains I went with the Grilled Veg Quinoi salad with Califlower Gratin on the side (the mains were mostly mean-centric, but they did have a good selection of starters). Again the Quinoa salad was a great size, and really attractively arranged, and I probably didn’t need the cauliflower side dish. The grilled veggies were really well done and not at all greasy.

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roasted veggie salad\”

My BF took the lamb with the bulgar side, which was suggested by the server as the one that the shef intended to go with the dish. I wasn’t as excited about that dish just because it was a bit too ‘meat and potatoes’ for me (no veg!) But the BF loved it (he’s the lamb guy) and the side was really really good. The Lamb looked like it had been perfectly cooked to request (M-R).

We ended up not finishing our bottle of wine, so the server was nice enough to dig up a cork and find a bag for us to put it in. We were also surprised with one of their house chocolate bars, which is a perfect little dessert if you are ‘too full’ for dessert. They had another almond dessert which I think I will have to go back for.

One other note: I also really enjoyed how the server brought us our plates and said ‘I’ll let you try that and then I’ll come back with freshly ground pepper’ instead of just offering it before you’ve tried anything. I am the type that generally just peppers soup before even trying it and I’m really glad that I didn’t because the soup was perfectly seasoned and actually nothing I had needed pepper or salt. I think the BF may have added some pepper to one of his dishes, but generally seasoning was spot on.

Welcome to the Burg Back Lane!

Follow them on Twitter @BackLaneCafe

The bathrooms are awesome. I like the lack of stall that is becoming more and more common – awesome! (As long as it isn’t encouraging any of the debauchery that has been happening at Churchill’s over in Westboro – did you notice that the SINK was broken? Rumors abound…)

Back Lane Cafe on Urbanspoon

Haven’t been there yet? You can check out the interior over at Karen McRae’s blog: 

http://drawandshoot.me/2011/11/17/back-lane-cafe-collaboration/

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