Sunday, September 28, 2014

the sanctuary

My friend, Josh, recently decided to start pop-up dinners in the comfort of his own home in Waterloo. I had the pleasure of attending his first dinner and was pleasantly surprised! His theme for the night was "Market Creations" where he created the menu based on what's in season. Sometimes it'll be a menu will be entirely based on a day at the farmer's market. For our meal specifically, he drew his inspiration from fresh produce available at the farmer's market on Thursday for our meal on Saturday.

the sanctuary
Price: Suggested donation of $24
Location: Provided upon reservation
Notes: First come first serve for events; Depending on what event he chooses to do, the minimum party reservation will change. (For our event, it was 4 people minimum)

Seasonal Salad (pictured above)
(Zucchini, cucumbers, barley, dill, cherry tomatoes dressed in a light citrus dressing)
This was honestly such a great start to our meal and I think it was my favourite dish of the night. It was a really light dish which I always appreciate. Josh, if you're reading this - I NEED THE RECIPE FOR THIS DRESSING! It was that good and I am now a believer of barley

Slow Braised Rabbit with Pappardelle
(Rabbit bolognese sauce with pappardelle)
While this was a delicious dish, it was probably my least favourite of the three (the appetizer and dessert seriously set the bar high!). Now, none of us had ever eaten rabbit before so we honestly did not know what to expect. It wasn't as gamey as I expected and Josh did a wonderful job of slow braising it as the rabbit was moist and tender and the pappardelle was perfectly al dente. The only negative of this dish was that there was a slight lack of salt and my food was not very warm when I got the dish. However, little kinks that can easily be over looked seeing as it's his first pop-up dinner!

Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake
(Grapefruit olive oil cake with a sweet citrus syrup and pistachio)
I loved how unique this dish was! Grapefruit and olive oil? Never would have thought that would work. This was perfectly baked with an extremely satisfying crusty exterior and fluffy inside. The tart citrus sauce he drizzled on top made it even better. This was actually a favourite dish for a majority of the party and was an excellent way to end the meal :)

It was a suggested donation of $24 for dinner (+$10 pp for wine pairings). Our group didn't get the wine but we decided to pay $30 in the end.

As with any first time, there are kinks to work out but I totally disregard these as it's his first time and I'm more than confident that he'll only improve with experience. It should also be noted that he runs a one-man show. Everything from creation of the menu, buying the ingredients, preparation and service is done by him and only him. Definitely have to give him props for that because that is an exhausting task.

If you're looking for an unconventional dinner then I strongly urge you to try the sanctuary. It's refreshing to see someone return to their roots and cook simply because they love to. Josh told us he has tons of new ideas such as a dinner party where you are only allowed reservations for one. This ensures you're dining with strangers and you're meeting new people and bonding over one common love - food! So excited to see what's in store for the sanctuary and its upcoming events!

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