Friday, July 29, 2011

Pangaea (Summerlicious)

Pangaea was my second and also my last Summerlicious dinner this year. I've been to Pangaea several years ago, both for their regular menu and Summerlicious, and I remember that both times my meals were fantastic. Although I don't recall exactly what I had back then, I remember I walked out happy and satisfied. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same this time around. 

I went with my boyfriend and two other couples and all of us came out really disappointed, except for one person. My friend Nancy, a fellow foodie, and I both had high hopes for Pangaea (Nancy also had great experiences at Pangaea before). We mutually decided on Pangaea for our group dinner that night. Let's just say that we felt bad we picked it  =( Nancy and I were both shocked at the food and the service throughout the night. My dinner at Pangaea was certainly polar opposite to the great meal I had at Luma the night before.

Our reservation was at 7:30pm last Wednesday. Almost all the tables were filled.

Some of the guys wanted beer. There was a beer Pangaea had on tap that the guys never had before, and our server was nice in that she gave them each a sample of that particular beer to try =)

The bread was probably the second best thing that night. It had a nice crust with a pillowy-y soft middle.

It came with regular butter and also beet butter, which I quite liked as it gave a hint of sweetness to the bread. A few others in the group liked it as well so we asked for more beet butter~


Lamb Sausages - Grilled, on pearl barley with Stilton, grape tomato and wilted mustard greens.

My boyfriend ordered this. I had one bite of it and wow, it had a really strong lamb flavour; it was very, very gamey. I would only recommend this to people who absolutely adore lamb and gamey because even for me it was still a bit too gamey....and I love lamb. And believe me, I can do gamey too.

Cucumber & Coconut Gazpacho - Laughing bird shrimp ceviche, avocado puree.

Nancy had the soup and this is what had to say about it:

"The soup was refreshing at first but there was too much avocado puree, which eventually overpowered the dish. I didn't taste any of the coconut and felt like I was eating a sour avocado since the flying shrimp was drenched in lime juice."

Beet & Goat Cheese Salad - Organic beet with baby greens, warm goat cheese, fried ginger and radish seedlings.

I ordered this salad and I am so glad I did because it was delicious! Easily my favourite course of the night (I said "easily" because what I had later was not good at all). It was so comforting biting into that warm goat cheese~ The thinly cut beets were presented beautifully in a circle, with each slice overlapping one another. A really intricate display.


Speckled Trout - Amandine, broiled on long beans with almonds, steamed new potatoes, brown butter and lemon.

Nancy, Eunmi, and I had this dish and we were shocked at how boring it looked. Don't ask me what I was expecting but after Luma's dinner the night before, and being that I was at Pangaea, I expected something more than this. Nancy said it looked "like it was just plopped onto the plate with absolutely no thought. Ikea has better food presentation." Ouch! But I can't say I disagree either. 

As for the taste, every element on the dish was bland. The broiled fish had zero taste and it was so thin with barely any meat. The long beans and potatoes tasted like they were just boiled in hot water and served right after. I couldn't taste the brown butter nor lemon. We all finished the fish not because it was good but because we were hungry and needed to eat. 

Venison - Roasted, Napa cabbage, bacon, mushrooms and apricot jus.

My boyfriend had this and didn't like it at all, mainly because he didn't like the taste of venison (he never had it before). He said the texture of venison reminded him of liver, something he also didn't like. I took a bite of the venison and I thought it was quite good - the meat was extremely tender and juicy. However, because of the lack of seasoning the venison taste was really strong. Note that there was only two pieces of venison O_o 


Rhubarb Vanilla Custard Tart - With strawberry rhubarb compote.

Artisanal Cheese Selection - Three varieties of Canadian cheese with walnuts, amber honey and macerated dried fruit.

Chocolate Pavlova & Berries - With Grand Marnier whipped cream, raspberry puree and vincotto.

Nancy and I both had this dessert. And this is what she had to say about it:

"The dessert was again disappointing. Although it looked good, a pavlova is supposed to be light since its a meringue. You could tell it was a little stale since the bottom of it was chewy and had to break through with our forks/spoons. Couldn't taste the Grand Marnier in the whipped cream but the berries were nice."

I agree 100% with what Nancy said. I used my spoon to saw my way through the bottom of the was that hard. Things would've been much easier if I had a knife.

We were all so unhappy with our meal, it was not worth $35, not even $25. Besides the cost, what disappointed me the most was that I expected more from Pangaea. Given, yes it is Summerlicious, and I will not judge a restaurant based on 'licious, but still, I think it is a fair statement to say that a restaurant should still put some effort into serving a decent tasting 'licious menu. Interestingly enough, remember how at the beginning of this post I said everybody left unhappy except for one person? Well that friend of mine ordered all his three courses from the regular menu, and everything that he had looked phenomenal! He said his meal was great.

Service was also lacking. It took around 10-15 minutes for our bread to arrive, and another half an hour for our appetizers, and approximately 35-40 mins for our main courses. Our server was also not very professional in that she lacked knowledge about what she was serving: When Nancy asked her what cheeses were being served, our server didn't know beyond "a brie and a blue" (there were three different kinds on the cheese plate). She also didn't offer to follow up and check for us. Nancy and her boyfriend eventually figured out what cheeses they were on their own. 

Pangaea on Urbanspoon