Fat Cat Wine Bar shares the Roncesvalles strip with the likes of The Ace, Hopgood’s Foodliner and Barque Smokehouse.
The ambiance made me feel like I was at a diner in the U.S. with the black and white tiled back splash in the kitchen and the cozy decor. DJ iPod was in the house tonight as we heard selections from the chef’s personal collection which started some jazz and blues, and then progressed to some Beatle mania. Cheese sat at the bar veiled in a cheesecloth like a bride waiting to be unveiled. Unfortunately, it seemed this bride had many suitors as the cheese board was quite a popular menu item of the evening. Its no surprise – wine and cheese go hand in hand like a fat kid and cake right? The chef was very hands-on and our server made us feel at home.
I had a glass of Muscadet which went perfectly with the half dozen East Coast Malpeques, Clam Chowder and Fondue that was to be had this evening.
The horse radish here is no joke and packed in quite the punch. Tabasco sauce and lemon wedges are also provided. The Malpeques were on the smaller side but tasted fresh.
The Clam Chowder was a bit disappointing as I prefer a heartier chowder – the type that has a thicker consistency that has a few seconds of staying power to coat the back of your spoon. Taste-wise it was just fine.
The Poached Pear Salad was tossed with cubes of aged cheddar, and candied walnuts. The pear was cut into cubes and the texture was excellent – sort of reminded me of a softer texture of lychee. The candied walnuts were fresh and crunchy but unfortunately the vinaigrette was a tad oily.
The fondue was rather disappointing. Although I am by no means a fondue expert, cheeses such as Gruyère normally have a bit of a bitter aftertaste that lingers… Well, the overly generous use of wine (borrowing its acidity to “smooth” out the cheese) in this small pot only served to accentuate that bitterness. The cheese itself was also not the smoothest. Albeit it had an elastic texture and dipped well, I found the taste to be a bit grainy.
Desserts were their crowning glory as I ordered a Poached Pear with Maple Sabayon and Candied Walnuts. It was creamy, crunchy and juicy all at the same time and served with some of the freshest, juiciest and reddest strawberries I’ve tasted so far this year. My dining companion, William T. had an equally memorable Whiskey-Infused Bread Pudding. I dare say most others don’t hold a flame. This one was airy and egg-y with a nice crust on top that wasn’t oily or drowning in a sugar glaze. The inside was somewhere between a sponge cake and a soufflé. Just delightful!
One should keep in mind that Fat Cat is predominantly a wine bar and that food plays a secondary role. It is a great place to come for a few drinks and munchies, but if you’re looking for a meal to impress – this isn’t the place to go.
The servers are really friendly and the chef is very interesting to watch. While he focuses on his job in the kitchen, he also keeps an eye out and oversees the restaurant. A chef/bouncer? The way he “surveilled” the restaurant made me feel like he was a former enforcement agent. But his smile always cracked the tension.
For those of you who fancy lobster, Mondays and Tuesday nights are lobster night.