My boyfriend had been talking about this one restaurant. For the longest time. Forever, actually. ?

He first heard Allium from a co-worker, who strongly recommended it. He then googled the restaurant and all the reviews praised the hell out of it. Intriguing.

We were set on trying Allium’s special Monday night only tapas menu, as it was the best way to try a few different dishes in one sitting.

So, finally, this Monday, we made the time to go.

*Pro tip: Reserve ahead of time.

We arrived right around 5:30pm opening time and they only had one table that was unreserved to offer us until 7:30pm. Lucky us?. There was a continuous inflow of people, who were obviously smarter and made reservations beforehand.

The ambiance was classy, with simple and modern decor.

I started off with a Pom Collins, which looked gorgeous and cool. I just didn’t expect the ginger beer to have such a pungent spicy taste, I thought it would more be like ginger ale.

We studied the tapas menu in advance so we don’t crumble under the pressuring stare of the server. Except, we did not plan for the menu to change, which meant we had to re-evaluate our decisions, fast. I kid, our server was lovely and courteous. She did not rush us a bit.

We both love fried chicken, especially Korean fried chicken. Therefore, our first choice had to be the buttermilk fried chicken. It was crispy and tender, and served with this perfect sweet, tangy, and spicy sauce. I had mixed feelings about it though?. It was good, but it felt heavy on the batter, but the breading part wasn’t soggy or greasy. The batter was actually a little over-fried at some parts. I still preferred Korean fried chicken.

I picked heirloom tomatoes for our second dish. It was such a fragrant, vibrant and artsy plate. Everything worked so well with each other – the goat cheese, the dill, the lemon balm. You could smell the freshness of the herbs and tomatoes. The goat cheese was very creamy and not as goaty as typical goat cheese. I wasn’t a fan of the fried capers, too salty for me. This was my favourite dish.

These tempura shrimp lollipops were very tender. Though it was not the typical tempura batter, it was still light and airy. I really liked the carrot slaw, it was dressed in diced spring onion (soy sauce? sesame oil?) mix for an Asian twist. The mayo had a light hint of sriracha.

We decided to end our meal with a larger sized tapa – grilled beef sirloin. I was quite disappointed. The sirloins were so charred that it tasted burnt and bitter. The salt that was thrown on covered the meat unevenly, some parts were very salty, even my boyfriend said it was salty.

We shared half of a banoffee pie. I personally didn’t like toffee, so I enjoyed the cream and the rest of it. My boyfriend savoured it and said it was delicious.

All the dishes’ presentation were like exquisite pieces of art where the chef played with the colours like a seasoned artist. I was not too impressed with the taste of the dishes as there were some inconsistencies. The service was fantastic, the servers were all quite attentive and prompt at removing the plates once you are done. Mind you, the table was very small, so there wouldn’t have been much space left if they didn’t remove the dishes right away.

I think Allium is definitely worth a try for the upscale experience and the exquisite feasts for the eyes. In fact, it would be the perfect place to take your first date to and to impress your guy/girl?. I just have second thoughts about returning as the quality of the food didn’t match the level of pricing.

87 Holland Ave.


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