Lawrence had evaded us for quite some time. We kept hearing rave reviews about their brunch, their butcher shop next door, and their delightful English fare. Finally it took a friend from Paris to stroll into town to wake up the cousins, P’tit Frère and Diva #1 to plan a nice night out amongst family and friends.
Lawrence is high end English food specializing in meaty dishes. If the restaurant wasn’t well known enough, their butcher shop ensures that they have the freshest meat and the best cuts. Lawrence is known for a menu that changes daily which is accessible via their twitter account: @lawrencefood. You can check out the day’s menu before to make a reservation.
Diva #1, her cousins, P’tit Frère, Sweet Pea and Mr. Sheffield all went to Lawrence to celebrate the return of our friend from Paris. After a lot of teasing, discussions about our soccer team, plans for Halloween, etc, we finally got organized enough to order. Diva #1 and Sweet Pea enjoyed a phenomenal Naoussa, a favourite Greek red wine that is not often seen on menus.
We decided to start with a charcuterie plate, an ode to the butcher shop next door. Porchetta, fennel sausage, pork rillette, cotechino and more cured meats arrived before us. Country bread and sour pickles were included with the charcuterie plate and quickly devoured. If they had a cheese plate we would have ordered it alongside these delicious cured meats. It was the perfect appetizer to our meal, and it went well with our dry red wine.
The pig’s cheek and apple tart was our favourite of the appetizers. The cheek was so tender and salty but perfectly coupled with a sweet apple tart. It was not a large portion but it melted in your mouth to allow for a wonderful sweet and salty combination.
A cousin also ordered the lamb stuffed eggplant with the perfect breaded topping that was torched on top. The fat on the lamb was melted and the eggplant added another dimension of flavour. The entire dish lay pooled in an au just sauce that was to die for.
Mackerel linguine sounded odd as an appetizer to Diva #1 who is not a huge fan of mackerel and was sceptical. She remains corrected, and she truly hates being wrong. The linguine was perfectly al dente, the mackerel subtle and not too fishy in flavour. Whatever herbs and bread crumbs were added to the dish simply enhanced the flavour of the mackerel.
Soon the mains arrived, heavy on the meat, we were not to be disappointed. The lamb leg was stewed with broadbeans and radishes. Once again in an au jus, you tasted every element of the lamb, the additional ingredients only added to the lamb, nothing took away from it.
Even more scrumptious was the pork shank, with the freshest clams, brisket and sauerkraut. This dish was very dimensional and you have to love mixing together all your food to enjoy this dish. It was stew like in nature and a true delight.
But we didn’t stop there; we also tried the braised beef neck with sausage, zucchini and egg. The braised beef neck was best described by one of the cousin’s as a deconstructed Reuben’s sandwich stew. The meat was tender and the egg and sausage added unexpected bites of flavour.
Since everyone was getting meat, one of the cousins opted for the sturgeon. Perhaps one of our lesser favourite of the night, the sturgeon was made with potato cake and black cabbage. Sturgeon is one of our least favourite fishes so we found it tasty but not particularly impressive. Opt for the meat dishes at Lawrence, it is their specialty!
Diva #1 and Sweet Pea threw in another dish. The potato angnolotti with peas, ox tongue and sheep’s ricotta was to die for. The potato agnolotti were homemade, the sauce was almost soup-like and served with a spoon. The peas added some earthiness and the sheep’s ricotta was delicious. Definitely an interesting combination of flavours, the ox tongue did not add too much to the dish. It was not overpowering but it added something unique in flavour.
The English aren’t known for their desserts. Sadly they were sold out of the Manchester’s Tart but we opted for the chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. Fudgey and chocolatey, the chocolate bread pudding was a perfectly rich dessert to end a decadent meal.
The best dessert of the night was the sheep’s yogurt and cranberries. The cranberry gelatin was very tart and the sheep’s yogurt was thick and strong tasting. It came in a perfect glass with a sweet palmier on the side. A crust lay at the bottom of the glass filled with sheep’s yogurt. This was not the dessert for one with a sweet tooth, but someone who prefers something more tart.
Lawrence was definitely worth the wait, each dish was painstakingly prepared and unique in its own way. Our next stop will be the butcher shop next door where we will buy meat for our next dinner party. It is no surprise that this English restaurant is raved about; we can’t wait to return for brunch.
Our Rating: Splendid
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