Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28th - Bier markt - Esplanade - Bland Disappointment

Swiss Beer Fondue
O's boyfriend is a beer-lover.  O is my sister.  She and her man live in the Bay Area.  He was told by a customs officer that if he loved beer, he HAD to try this one local Toronto microbrewery.  Having realised, too late, that we missed the one and only tour they do per day (WTF), we decided instead to make sure we took him somewhere he could have some nice beer.  We had a decent selection earlier in afternoon at the Beer Bistro on King so I had high hopes for the Bier Markt. 

Admittedly, I had not been there in over 5 years and back then, it was only to throw back some cocktails with some girlfriends.  I was sorely disappointed by the revisit.  It's funny because given the pseudo swanky exterior with the awning and carpet, you expect something entirely different to the dowdy, heavy, wood interior.  No matter, we were there for the beer and food. 

Second disappointment was the beer list.  Whilst there was a variety, it was rather 'run of the mill'.  Alot of big names and very few local beers.  It was not what we expected from a place with Bier in the name.  We 'settled' on a couple of acceptably interesting, yet unfortunately, branded beers. 

Third disappointment came from the service.  Our server was pushy yet absent.  How does he do that?  We rarely saw him.  Both our kerosene table lights burnt out while we sat there and no one came to relight them.  We never saw a refill of water.  Yet for the brief interludes that he was with us, it felt like he was trying to sell us a used car.  Even A, O's boyfriend mentioned it and he's quite sympathetic to service staff since he spent time as a waiter as a student. 

Fourth disappointment was the food.  The food was, well, not good.  I had the Swiss Beer Fondue. It came with an assortment of Gerkins, Asparagus, Tomatoes and Bread.  The dippables, though quite mean in portion size were the only good thing on my plate.  The Cheese was barely above room temperature.  The tinly little votive did little to nothing accept add to the ambiance particularly since two of our table lights had burned out.  It was Swiss and Emmenthal, both nutty and distinctive cheeses. The Cheese fondue, sadly, was VERY floury and bland.  It was all filler.  Very disappointing for the size and cost.  O had the Smoked Gouda Fondue with Bacon.  The Bacon and smokiness helped 'mask' the filler fondue but that floury texture was still there.  It was like eating papier mache paste.   She only ordered that after the special of the day was sold out and we were there for an early supper.  A decided to order the BBQ Chicken Flatbread.  It was dry and sadly topped.  We don't recall the dish being described as including mushrooms but they were all over the bread.  I didn't mind because I took the discarded Mushrooms from A, who hates them.

Smoked Cheese Bacon Fondue
We considered ordering more drinks but we never saw our server again.  Our food was brought by two very efficient food expediters.  They were polite and fast but also did not relight our table lights or offer us any water.  We were soooo close to opting for Fiona McCool's one door down and we really wish we had.

Cuisine: Dutch/German Beer house
Cost: $$$-$$$$ (Starters ~$20)
Service: Absent yet pushy
Ambiance: Dark and heavy
Bier Markt - Esplanade
St Lawrence Market/Old Town
58 The Esplanade
(416) 862-7575
Toronto, ON M5E
Bier Markt - Esplanade on Urbanspoon

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