The intersection of Queen and Ossington has developed a robust nightlife scene over the last half decade. Entice Culinary Lounge, located at 1036 Queen Street West, is hoping to give those visiting Queen West the opportunity to seamlessly transition from an evening of dining to drinks, in style. Entice recently opened under the culinary direction of Chef Ryan Wilson-Lall, formerly of the AGO’s Frank restaurant. The menu is described as globally-inspired, which allows for an adventurous dinner experience.
As soon as you step into Entice Culinary Lounge, you cannot help but be mesmerized by the bar itself. The surface is not your traditional wood or stainless countertop, but instead, long screens playing black and white footage from the classic era of film. Looking up to the ceiling over the bar reveals a painted Toronto street scene with strategically placed lights paying tribute to the surrounding neighbourhood. This has to be witnessed first-hand.
I started my evening with the menu item that caught my eye first: Mushroom Moccachino. Made with wild mushroom espresso broth, shaved chocolate and the slightest sweet note present in the froth. The flavour is surprisingly mild, but definitely earthier than expected. This isn’t a flavour combination for everyone, and the drink could benefit from the removal of the mushroom pieces that sit at the bottom, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves exploring new and interesting flavour combinations.
I then tried the Sea Salt Crusted Lamb Shoulder: roasted carrots, curry leaves and cauliflower couscous. The sauce is tomato-based and reminded me of my grandmother’s cooking. I’ve made it a habit of trying the individual features of a dish to see what they contribute, but this is a dish that is clearly meant to be experienced as a whole. Single players in this dish fall flat, but all elements together are quite delicious.
I’m a pasta lover, so I sampled the Carbonara Ravioli next. This dish is made with bacon, cremini, whipped porcini egg white, pecorino cheese, and roasted garlic mascarpone filling. This is Entice’s signature dish, and a safe bet for any picky eater. The flavours have a unifying creamy quality, and thankfully haven’t been overly seasoned with salt.
I accompanied the ravioli with a Mount Gay Rum, Apricot Brandy, Lillet blanc and lemon juice cocktail named The Culross. A highly addictive cocktail that isn’t overpoweringly sweet or sour, and highly recommended as I found it absolutely delicious! If you’re looking for something familiar with a twist, I would say to try the Cosmopolitan with Strawberry juice: clearly a sweeter drink, milder flavour, and not as tart. This feels like a great and refreshing summer cocktail.
I caught sight of an intriguing fruit shot making its way through Entice and decided to grab one. It was the most refreshing burst of flavour ever! It tasted like coconut water jelly, with raspberry and grape slices. The gelatinous skin encases what can only be described as a rejuvenating week at an all-inclusive vacation in the tropics. Seriously though, the simplest of notes allowed for a juicy and delightful experience.
Craving something sweet at this point I grabbed a bite of the No Bake Chocolate Cake. This had a dense and fudge-like consistency, deliciously rich, and the ganache icing intensified the dark chocolate flavour. The rich and dense nature of this dish makes it a dessert perfect for sharing. Unless you’re a certified chocolate lover that revels in the all-consuming nature of a velvety chocolate experience.
Entice slider with beef ground in-house, spicy mustard, sharp cheddar spread, dill pickle, and bacon lardon, and the Seared Tuna bite.
I then grabbed a bite of the Fig and Cherry: marzipan mousse topped with kiwi compote and creme brûlée shatter. This dessert is the complete opposite of the chocolate cake, as its’ flavours are significantly milder. Pretty in presentation and flavours this would be a great choice if you’re looking for a lighter dessert that isn’t going to sit heavily, allowing you to enjoy cocktails later into the night. If you’re comfortable after dinner and just want to spend the night talking with friends, or a discussing life with a date, Entice Culinary Lounge, Queen Street West offers a great space for a full evening. Enjoy!
Entice Culinary Lounge, 1036 Queen Street West, 416-368-4231