Dinner · King East

Kultura – Lacking in Culture? (NOW CLOSED)

I used to be a big fan of Summerlicious. Whenever that first announcement of participating restaurants would be released I’d make my short list and get right on making my reservations. This year, not so much. Although I was looking forward to it, I’m starting to feel that the charm and worth of the whole thing is dwindling, and quickly. To add to my new distaste is the recent feedback from participating restaurants saying how “They really don’t look forward to Summerlicious”. Really? Then don’t participate and offer me lower than tolerable service.

My first booking this year was at Kultura – which I had scoped out previously as a possible venue option for an event and been to for drinks. Was always intrigued by their minimal yet diverse selection of entrees, which are meant to be ordered as share plates. The venue is gorgeous, very New York-eque with hardwood floors, exposed brick, dim lighting and very unique wall décor and light fixtures. Two floors with ample seating for big groups and special spots for a more romantic rendezvous. Love the exposed brick and comfortable, plush leather seating, makes you want to sit and just spend hours eating and drinking. So in other words, I was looking forward to it.

As hospitable patrons, we arrived at 7:20 for our 7:30 reservation at which point we were told our table wasn’t ready but we could have a drink at the bar. Not much convincing needed there! After waiting for just over half an hour and with my “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” cocktail in hand (made predominantly of just orange juice) we were finally seated close to 8:00. So the point of making the reservation is what exactly? We were seated and began to look at the menu. I decided to order from the Summerlicious menu while MD and TR decided to order off the regular menu. Much to our surprise, our “friendly’ waiter informed us that either everyone has to order from the regular menu or the Summerlicious menu. No mixing and matching. Interesting. We re-grouped and all decided to order off the regular menu which, after now reading the website, was not even the full menu – only about half the options (which were coincidentally also on the Summerlicious menu) were up for grabs.

Our choices:
Mushroom Orecchiette – Malivoire Pinot Noir, Pear Chutney, Aged Cheddar
European Sea Bass – Snow pea, Sansho Pepper, Cassava, Ginger, Sour Dashi
Beef Striploin – Red Miso, Sunchoke Tater Tot, Tomatilla Salsa, Honey Sriracha

I won’t lie, the food was really good and rich hence why the portions weren’t an issue for us. Melt in your mouth meat, rich pasta with a very intense blend of cheeses, mushrooms and pears and flavorful, light and flaky fish (although I’m not a huge seafood fan). The concept is meant to be a fusion of world inspired cuisines and tastes which is evident through their combinations of traditional fare with international flare. It’s hard to appreciate the food though when your service and experience have been so mediocre. Really goes to show that you can put together a really chic, trendy, upscale venue and offer a great spread of food but the quality of service really seals the deal. They don’t call it hype for nothing.

I probably would go back again, this time with a few ACTUAL cocktails consumed before-hand and with the hopes of ordering from their full menu. And maybe showing up half an hour late.

On the menu for next time:
Chicken and Gnocchi
Mushroom Orecchiette – SO YUMMY
Sushi Pizza
Miso Black Cod
Chocolate Delice
Caramel Sugar Doughnut Holes
**YUP…dessert WAS NOT AN OPTION ON OUR MENUS!!!!!**

Address: 169 King Street East, 416-363-9000
Parking: Street Parking readily available
Price: $$$ – options range from
Service: 5/10
Food: 8/10
Ambience: 8.5/10

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