Located on the fifth floor of the ROM, C5’s space is absolutely gorgeous. With high ceilings, modern décor and angular walls it definitely fits in with the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin crystal exterior. Mike and I decided to drop by for lunch on a weekday since we had heard Corbin Tomaszeski (previously from the Holt’s Café) recently took over as executive chef.My previous visit to C5 was for dinner a couple years ago. I had an amazing experience and was interested to try some of the items on the revamped menu. C5 is now only open from 11am to 3pm daily for lunch and brunch on the weekends. Dinner is no longer an option.
The restaurant wasn’t very busy when we arrived at noon so we were seated by the window. If you every drop by, I recommend requesting a window seat as C5 has a great view. Popping by for drinks is also great option as they have a separate lounge area by the entrance of the restaurant.
Shortly after being seated, our server came by with a small bowl of complimentary Truffled Potato Chips, topped with fleur de sel and fresh herbs. To be honest, I couldn’t really taste the truffle, but they sure were tasty and addictive.Mike and I decided to try something from their special “Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World” menu, inspired by their current exhibit and ended up going with the Pulled Pork Tacos – smoked pork shoulder, tortilla, poblano relish & pepper sauce ($12). I’m sure you all know by now how much Mike loves pulled pork (and tacos), so it’s no surprise we decided on this.
We were served two mini tacos which looked almost too adorable to eat. The meat, poblano relish and pepper sauce was topped with a generous piece of pork rind, which we felt was an unnecessary addition. The pulled pork wasn’t quite as tender as I would have liked and flavour-wise, it wasn’t anything special. However, the relish and pepper sauce was quite nice and refreshing, which helped to save the dish. So, not a bad dish but certainly not memorable either.For my main, I decided to go with the Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Sandwich – caramelized onions, chevre, rocket & apple butter ($15). When this dish first arrived, it wasn’t what I had expected. I expected a piece of chicken (a thigh or breast) as opposed to a (tough) chicken cutlet. Not that it mattered, if it tasted great. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
When I saw chevre in the description, I expected a soft, white, clumpy cheese. I’m not familiar with different types of goat cheese but this type resembled brie and had an incredibly overpowering flavour which reminded me of blue cheese. Since I’m not a fan of blue cheese, I couldn’t eat more than a few bites of the sandwich.Mike was nice enough to switch entrees with me. Since he ate it all, I assumed he enjoyed it (since the cheese factor is a matter of preference). He later told me he didn’t enjoy it either but swapped with me anyways because he hates seeing me disappointed (a keeper, I know!).
The sandwich comes with your choice of frites, seasonal vegetables or salad. I went with the frites, of course. I knew that the fries were supposed to be darker in colour (similar to the ones at Wvrst), as I had seen other servings of fries go by, however when my meal first arrived, all I could smell was burnt fries. After doing a taste test and digging through the rest of the fries, I decided to return them and get a salad instead. On the bright side, the server was very accommodating and happily exchanged the fries for me.Mike’s entrée was the Mushroom & Wilted Spinach Pappardelle – with cipollini onions & pecorino cheese ($14). Thankfully, this dish fared much better! You can actually add duck confit to this dish for an extra few dollars but he decided not to since we had also ordered the pulled pork tacos to start. The pasta was well cooked and the combination of the strong mushroom flavour, spinach and pecorino worked nicely. Too bad it was really oily though..
While ordering, I had my eye on the “Dessert Sampler for 2” they had on their menu which was described as “something baked, something creamy, something chocolate, something fruity”. But by the end of the meal, given how the food fared, we decided it was probably best to skip dessert here.
I have to say this was a pretty disappointing experience, overall. I’m sure someone would have a different opinion on the chicken sandwich if they enjoyed the cheese served in it, but nothing else we had was memorable enough to bring me back.At a glance:
• Disappointed by the food; nothing particularly memorable
• Gorgeous space with a separate lounge area
• Try to grab a seat by the window – they have a nice view
• Open 11am to 3pm daily for lunch; brunch on weekends
• No dinner service
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 2 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars