Location: 100 Adelaide St. East, TorontoT
When visited: October 30, 2015
I was invited to check out the quaint little restaurant Pearl Diver for lunch and I brought a friend with me who loves seafood. Unbelievably I have lots of friends who don't like fish or seafood and especially not things that are raw. I know I kind of get it. It sounds gross but I suppose because my mom had a love of seafood from her memories of getting shrimp that was just out of the sea and eaten fresh on the seaside in Europe it was always something she loved and she would make shrimp stuffed tomatoes when she wanted to make something fancy for guests. It was always kind of more of a special occasion food in my house. The odd time my dad would get mussels from St. Lawrence market or they would send me to pick up some fish and chips for dinner. Maybe once or twice a year we might have king crab claws. To me fresh seafood isn't an everyday thing and I enjoy it when I have it and more so when it's made well.
On an an extremely sunny and unusually warm Friday afternoon in October we headed over to Pearl Diver for lunch. The place is a bit out of the way tucked across the street from St. James park. It's maybe a bit out of the usual restaurant locations but you can't miss the brightly painted yellow exterior with the black canopy.
The inside as you can see looks very warm and cozy with dark wood bar and light wood tables and a large menu board with all of their types of oysters.
I think this restaurant is more of an evening bar restaurant type of place so it wasn't busy when I visited but I was there at 1pm and a lot of people go for business lunches between 12-1pm.
The lunch menu varies slightly from the dinner menu but of course there are mussels and oysters and calamari that are on both menus. Of course we couldn't pass up a plate of Oysters. A dozen for $15. Served on ice with ginger and lemon wedges and side sauces of hot sauce and wine vinegar.
My friend said she could eat about 6 of the oyster towers in one sitting. I like my oysters with a bit of hot sauce, some lemon and the red wine vinegar for a nice spicy briney flavour. They oysters we had were from New Brunswick but I didn't catch the name of them. I am not familiar with all of the kinds of oysters so I don't want to guess even. But I really enjoyed them.
We wanted to order the Shrimp Po Boy sandwich but weren't sure how big it was going to be even though we planned on sharing it. It is meant for one person but we shared it to try it. It is 2 or 3 large shrimps served on a brioche bun with lettuce, onion and a remoulade sauce and pickles. My friend got the side with the pickles and she wasn't a fan but I enjoyed my half a lot. It can with a huge amount of fries but they got cold pretty quickly so I didn't finish them all. We really didn't need fries with all of the seafood we ordered.
The dish that had the best flavour was the Mussels in a lemongrass coconut broth. It was served with the lightest grilled focaccia bread but I think the bread was just good on it's own because the smokey char kind of covered up the taste of the broth. Order this but don't dunk the bread, just eat it and enjoy it. We ordered another order of the bread it was so good.
After we had all the great seafood the waitress said they had some sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Well that is one of my friends favourite desserts and I like it to so a no brainer we said yes and didn't even need to look at a dessert menu.
This sticky toffee pudding was probably the lightest one I have ever had. With a bourbon maple sauce on top it just melted in my mouth. It was a great sweet finish to the seafood lunch.
We really enjoyed a nice relaxing lunch in this cosy spot and I hope we get a chance to go back and try some of their dinner menu sometime again soon.
What we ate:
CRISPY CALAMARI - sesame and panko crust, sweet chilli, ginger and lime dip - 8
MUSSELS AND FOCACCIA – coconut cream, ginger, chili, garlic, lemongrass & cilantro - 13
SHRIMP PO-BOY - Battered and spiced Argentine shrimp, tartar sauce, pickle, red onion & lettuce - served with side salad or fries - 13
Dozen Oysters for $15
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING, dessert special
*Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary but all of the opinions and the photos are my own.