Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22nd - Queen Mother Low-lit, Slow-mo Reunion Dinner

K's Favourite Sticky Rice with Peanut Sauce
Queen Mother is one of those annoying places that people from Toronto get hooked on and can't get over.  It only takes one bad experience and you are happy to be liberated.  Four of us were meeting up for a Holiday catch-up and only K wanted to eat here but none of us, well except me, wanted to object.  S and J both, still living in Toronto, wanted to eat there less than I but did not want to fuss for the brief time we had together.  I on the other hand had just had a bad Pad Thai the evening before at Supermarket in Kensington and knew the only thing I liked on the Queen Mother menu was their Pad Thai but still not enough to have it twice.

K recently moved to Calgary so had an all too familiar hankering for the familiar and comforting.  We talked about moving on after drinks when we were seated but I knew that meant we were parked for the evening.  K was set on having their Sticky Rice with Peanut Sauce and given their agonisingly slow service, we knew that even as a starter only, that would not be a quick bite.  We even noted we could get way better, cheaper and quicker Sticky Rice a few blocks over in China Town.  Futile to even mention really. Their Sticky Rice is good.  It's really the sauce that does it.  I would really prefer if they just went all Asian instead of ill concieved UN foodcourt menu.

So we settled in and ordered some wine off their VERY limited and uninspired winelist.  J had only planned on a drink but decided, in error, to order some Spring Rolls.  She was in it for the long haul too.  S ordered an Italian Chicken Special.  I had the what I hoped would be the most innocuous and foolproof dish, the Vegetarian Roti.  K ordered the Pad Thai.  So what are you finding incongruent with this array?  That I am sat at this table is the first thing.  The second thing is the reason my presence at this table is amiss.  I do not like restaurants without a consistent direction.  Jack of All Trades is a Master of None.  I just made that mistake last night at the Supermarket.  What am I doing here, I railed in my head.

Phad Thai - only good thing on menu
For crying out loud, we just ordered dishes from five distinct culinary origins.  How could they possibly think this was a good idea.  Dude, I cannot bear those places you cannot describe to someone who asks what their genre is.  Not to mention we are taking this all in in a cafe named for the English monarch's late mum, which is decorated like her musty sitting room and lit so low you could go blind.  Of course there are non-chalant, indifferent, at times snarky staff.  All waify, bohemian-esque women who make you feel as welcome as a fart in an elevator.  Even in the slower times, you should expect to wait considerably long intervals for a visit.  The trick is to order it all when you are fortunate enough to have their attention.  Since we waivered on staying, we did not and thus waited even for a refill of water let alone completing our order as S polished off her Chicken.

Sahara Desert-dry Vegetarian Roti
So what of my harmless Vegetarian Roti?  It was incredibly dry.  Dry Dry!  It came with no sauce or side sauce.  If it weren't for K's leftover Peanut Sauce from her Sticky Rice, it would have been inedible.  There was notably more wrapping than stuffing and the curry was notably closer to South East Asian than the Caribbean from whence the dish should have hailed.

I think the next time we leave the suggestion for the reunion hanging, I'll jump in sooner :^D.  Though admittedly, it's harder when you can't keep up with the newer places and we try not to be too extravagant since we out of towners are likely to be eating out more than in while in town.  Still, I'll do my research and not repeat this tradition.

Cuisine: Not-even-they-know
Cost: $$-$$$
Ambiance: Dowager's dressing room
Service: Agonisingly slow
Wine list: Limited, uninspired

Queen Mother Cafe
Entertainment District
208 Queen St W
(416) 598-4719
Toronto, ON M5V
Queen Mother Cafe on Urbanspoon


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