If we had ordered dessert first at Chew, there's no way we would have had another single dish from the menu.
Fantastic. Heavenly. Delightful. Delectable. Those are all just words.
The "carnival on a plate" was a whimsical, time travelling romp to the fairgrounds of childhood where cotton candy, caramel apples, ice cream and donuts powered the fun.
That was the magic of three apple beignets sitting in a smear of cardamom caramel sauce and accompanied by a billowing cloud of shocking pink cotton candy and a scoop of smooth and sophisticated anise ice cream. (With apologies for adjective overuse.)
My lunch partner and I shared this plate, bite by bite. No one got a single additional morsel. Even-stevens all the way.
Moving on: Chew is the work of Kristen Chemerika-Lew and Kyle Lew, a young couple who met at cooking school in Toronto a few years back. The couple moved to Winnipeg (Kristen's home town) to open their own bistro. They took over the original location of Santa Lucia, a pizza institution in Winnipeg that opened more that 28 years ago.
The couple hopes that longevity karma works in their favour too. The menu is locally focused, as it should be, on in-season vegetables and grains, locally raised meats and regional fish. While the menu is posted online, the menu changes with the availability of ingredients.
We started with seared scallops with lemon preserve. Three luscious bites, spiked with the intense citrus tang of lemon lay on a mild-tempered cauliflower-saffron pureé. Yummo. Ricotta gnudi with walnut pesto sauce and shaved parmesan were decadent melt-in-mouth mini-parcels. The winner among savoury dishes was roasted chicken with a Mediterranean-style, tajine-type quinoa dotted with dried apricots and golden raisins. I haven't tasted a better quinoa in the city. The leg-attached chicken breast was finished on the grill for a fire-roasted finish.
Cappuccinos perfectly completed this afternoon getaway to Chew.
Reservations are recommended given there are just seven tables. Chew is open Tuesday to Sunday.
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