It’s been a while since we’ve shared our latest Baby friendly finds but fear not we’ve been eating away! You may recall that Part 1 was around the 5 month mark and Part 2 was around the 10 month mark. We’ll the Little Monkey is now 15 months and we’ve continued to take her out with us (stay tuned for an ever revolving list of baby friendly Toronto restos!). One of the joys of living in the heart of Toronto ( I’m biased, I consider the downtown core to be the pulse generator, but feel free to disagree!) is the abundance in eateries and fine establishments that cater to our every whim. Our hunt for baby friendly (change pads and high chairs aren’t mandatory for us) restaurants with amazing food that delights the palate continues…
Even I was a bit skeptical about taking the 15 month old to this swanky joint.. but it was one of those social experiments that I just HAD to do! So that’s how we found ourselves at Nota Bene one Friday evening. The neat closet of a coat check has a wall at the far back that housed our folded up UPPA baby quite nicely and the hubs generously carried it back at forth so that the lovely hostess didn’t have to do any heavy lifting. All eyes were on us as we entered the main dining area with a potential monster in tow and we were placed near an empty table (though a lovely pair of girlfriends quickly filled those seats into our main course). It was all smiles from the moment we entered Nota Bene‘s bar area. High chair and fresh baked bread to entertain – check and check! The carafes and wine glasses were carefully placed away from the Little Monkey.. you’d think each of these servers had kids of their own!
The food here is absolutely divine, made with fresh quality ingredients that will delight your palate with random fusions you’d never think of trying out on your own. While I had been here previously, it was the first time for both, the Little Monkey and the hubs. We started with the Hamachi Ceviche presented in a gorgeous bed of ice. Corn nuts, coconut milk and avocado were pleasant surprises and very different from your traditional Hamachi expectations. Next up for the starters were the Salt Cod, chili and potato fritters. The Nova Scotian with me HAD to get the salt cod. While initially dismayed by the small portion, he was soon won over by the warm ooey gooeyness and the Little Monkey was also a huge fan of these adult tater tots and boiled eggs that accompanied the dish!
A bottle of Graffigna Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon kept us hydrated as we waited for our mains and we entertained the Little Monkey by letting ‘read’ her book and charm the ladies next to us. I had the Wild Digby Sea Scallops as my main. Four fairly large scallops sat on a lovely avocado and Thai curry paste puree. I know… another lovely fusion. Doesn’t hurt that I absolutely love avocado! The mango and papaya salad that came along was a burst of summer and also served to entertain the Little Monkey who’s a fan of all things hailing from the fruit family. I couldn’t help but dip into the hub’s Venison which was cooked to perfection and served with the most delicious mushrooms we’ve ever had! The blueberries baffled our minds and is now on my ‘must cook with at home’ list! The peppercorn jus was finger likin’ good.
Despite being absolutely stuffed, I ordered a Sticky Toffee Pudding and asked them to swap the praline and spotted dick ice cream for the Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream as the hubs was hankering for it. I do wish we stuck to the original pairing because the vanilla bean wasn’t up to our expectation.The sticky toffee was decadent and to be honest, I was way too stuffed to enjoy it to the fullest.
As for the Little Monkey.. she was on her best behaviour and the server and door staff were so impressed! The Manager on duty has kids himself and everyone welcomed us, made us feel at ease (the banter of other guests ensured that any whining was easily drowned out). I was on a high and very proud of the well behaved little one as I left the restaurant . The wine helped too! Given that the menu is constantly changing and that the service was beyond our expectations, I can’t wait to go back! From start to finish there was a real feel good sensation to our dinner and to that I applaud Nota Bene!