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My thoughts on Colborne Lane

Well, I'll have to sadly say that my thoughts about Colborne Lane are not as great as some of the previous posts on chowhound about the restaurant.

Overall: 3.5/5
Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3.5/5
Value: 4/5

By no means a thorough review of it, just some of my thoughts.

So being from Vancouver, I went on this board and found many great experiences at Colborne Lane with a great price point, so I decided to give it a try. So our party of four arrived about 10 minutes late (Thursday night)...we had a reservation for 7pm. They didn't seem to mind at all and were very welcoming.

We sat down, and two of us ordered some drinks (a coke and some warm water). The drinks took a ridiculous amount of time to come, considering they weren't that busy and they were nothing difficult to prepare. They finally came after 10 minutes or so.

We then ordered our food and at this time we also decided to get a couple of glasses of wine. The service was great, they let us sample the wines, gave some recommendations, etc. before settling on what we wanted. We ordered 12 dishes (3 dishes per person). Throughout the meal, the dishes came every 30 minutes (too long for me - 20 minutes would be ideal). However, we complained about this, and they came much quicker (20 minutes)...shows they are accommodating, which is great. They also checked on us often (but not in an intruding way) and ask us if everything was fine. One complaint though, throughout the whole sitting, they wouldn't refill my water till I asked.

So now comes the food part...I'll give a quick run down of what I sampled. I'm gonna give scores because I don't want to write huge long descriptions about them. Overall, portions were a bit small (you won't be full ordering less than 3 dishes and dessert):
Lobster Seviche: This was good, ample portion. 4/5
Raw Tuna: Quite good, flavors were nice and the tuna was of good quality. 3.5/5
Wokked Fried Squid: This was probably the best and most interesting dish. The mix of ingredients are definitely a bit on the abnormal side, but they mixed very well. It was something that was more surprising compared to the other dishes. 4.5/5
Lobster Bisque: I didn't try this one, but from what I heard, it was quite "normal".
Tea smoked squab: I didn't try the squab, but I did try the foie gras accompanying it, and also the sauces. The chocolate sauce wasnt anything to call home about, but the foie gras was just very good (and I usually dont like them that much). However, the dish was of a very small portion. 3.5/5 from what I tasted.
Pork Tenderloin: Not sure why this is so special. The pineapple jelly/black bean sauce just doesn't mix well. The supposedly 36-hour process of cooking the pork gave out nothing special at all. There was nothing in the whole dish that stood out. 2.5/5
Lamb: Didn't try this one, but from what I heard, nothing too much out of the ordinary.
Chocolate Fondue: Ok, nothing to call home about. 3/5
Lemon Tart: This was ok, but again, nothing spectacular. 3.5/5

About the ambience: It was very noisy. I don't mind it that much, but I'd wish it was quieter. However, the restaurant is fairly well designed and is pleasing to eat at. Music was great as well.

So with 12 dishes, 3 desserts, couple glasses of wine, tea, coke, etc, the bill came out to 335 after tax before tips. Not bad, but I could get better food at a similar price point in Vancouver.

Mar 29, 2007
Vancouverite in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for a Visitor

Thanks TorontoJo,

I'm really looking into Colborne Lane now, did some research myself, and I might just have to go there. Hopefully we'll be able to visit a couple of restaurants suggested on this thread, but it will really be time-permitting!

Mar 10, 2007
Vancouverite in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for a Visitor

Thanks for the suggestions...is there a menu somewhere I can access for the Rosebud? I can't seem to find a website for them.

And as your higher-end restaurants, you're right - the ones you mentioned aren't just "a bit" over my price criterion, that's why I've been asking for suggestions for my price point. I've looked at a lot of restaurants from the Toronto Life guide, and a couple that I might consider is Senses and Via Allegro...does anyone have any opinions on those?

Mar 10, 2007
Vancouverite in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for a Visitor

Boulevard Cafe definitely looks interesting and is a good pick for me to there if we decide to go the cheaper route. I've looked at the menu, and I think it'll top out at 40/person, doesn't look as expensive as you've stated.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

Mar 09, 2007
Vancouverite in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Suggestions for a Visitor

Hi everyone,

Visiting Toronto and looking for a good place to eat...so I need a few suggestions. Depending on if a couple of kids will be coming as well, it'll be at a different restaurant. I'm looking for any good food places in the GTA....higher-end restaurants as well as good value restaurants. I'm currently looking at Rain (because I really haven't tried any restaurants before like Rain)...Oh yes...and I have a budget (still a student).

So here are my questions:
1) Does anyone know the price of the tasting menu at Rain? I've googled it to hell and can't find anything on it.

2) What are some recommendations for some higher-end places? Any cuisine is fine. I'm looking for a maximum budget of 130 CAD per person AFTER gratuity and taxes, excluding wine.

3) What are some "good value" places? The ones that aren't all that expensive and are cheap (relative to the quality)...the real gems in the city. Again, any cuisine is fine, and with a budget of about 25-40 per person BEFORE gratuity and taxes, excluding wine.

Thanks! Looking forward to your responses...

Edit: P.S. The prices here are quite insane compared to the ones in Vancouver...

Mar 07, 2007
Vancouverite in Ontario (inc. Toronto)