It hadn't been open long at where Primo's Mexican Grill used to be when my chicken-permissible-vegetarian friend and I walked in on Friday. (No reservations, but supposedly has a fast turnover; no lineup at 6pm, either, unlike the smaller roomed Acorn).
Inside, it's high ceilings, white walls, vintage farm decor, and noise noise noise from conversation. The left side has taller tables and bar seats, and is a bit quieter.
For reasons unclear to me, I settled on the raw cauliflower risotto, one of the two raw items on the dinner menu. I'm not hardcore raw vegan, so I really don't know why I did that. I think it was because I ran into my vegan friend Emma Smith (of Zimt fame) and she had mentioned she'd had it and it was good. Now that I've had it, I would caution non-raw-foodists that you might need help appreciating this. The best raw (and safest choice for the raw-curious) I've had would still probably be Indigo Food afternoon tea.
Compared to the other newish "modern vegetarian" Acorn, I would say Heirloom lacks the artistically beautiful plating and is much less salty, but definitely no less inventive. Price-wise a bit cheaper except for desserts.
- Raw Cauliflower Risotto ($13, vegan, raw, gluten-free) pumpkin seed pesto, walnut cheese, watermelon radish
- I don't truly regret ordering this, but I was glad we had something tamer at the table.
- The "risotto" is the finely diced (food processed?) cauliflower, mixed with something that made the whole thing look more green that white.
- Overall, really rather bland and boring. I was wishing for some crispy bacon to go with it, honestly. Or something savory, maybe some kind of yummy pan drippings. It just needed *something*.
- Didn't come with a spoon. What is it with restaurants and their boycotting of spoons? Ask for a spoon right away. Otherwise it's like eating quinoa with a fork.
- Dips ($14, vegan) beetroot sunflower seed tapanade, lentil pecan homous, vegetables, sangak chips
- Very interesting here, with the sweet deep red beetroot dip contrasting in colour and flavour with the very thick lentil homous which leaned toward the savory side.
- "Sangak chips" were nicely salty and deep fried even though lavash flatbread is generally just oven fired. Simple and tasty! -- These would have been great all on their own. A generous amount but you should still not be shy with the dips when spreading so you won't end up with dip and nothing to go with it. Came with a few baby veggies as well (radish, carrots).
- Chocolate Semolina Cake ($12) cayenne, cane poached beets, chocolate ganache, sweet heart goat cheese
- It said goat cheese but I still ordered it. I'm a sucker for a good chocolate cake, I guess.
- The cake was really decent, but the two small rounds were barely more than a cupful... And for $12! Ouch -- especially as the goat cheese (which was probably the reason why it costs twice as much for a smaller portion than just about anywhere) rather ruined it.
- Chocolate ganache was the brown chocolate in between the very dark and quite rich chocolate cake. Slight buzz from cayenne builds slowly, so wait for it. Okay, the cake itself was more than just decent. It really was a very nicely done chocolate cake. Not for $12, though. I want gold leaf for $12.
- Beets were on the side. Pink lump of goat cheese on top. Have I mentioned that I hate goat cheese? Only Establishment has ever made it palatable to me. Here, on it own or paired with the chocolate cake, it was still gross. If you like goat cheese, you may have a very different take on this, though, so don't let me stop you from trying it. It's certainly an adventurous pairing, in my opinion.
- Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock ($4)
- One of two Fentimans choices. A bit of a small bottle for $4, but an interesting taste reminiscent of liquorice. Slight buzz in your mouth like ginger beer or grapefruit. Hardly any aftertaste, strangely.