Lots of times I sit in restaurants and analyze the food – could I reproduce this at home, what is that flavour I’m tasting, etc. We ate out twice in the past week – both times the food was very good, both times we agreed the service staff can make or break your dining experience.
1. Tin Mill Restaurant Probably one of my favourite places to eat in Uxbridge. we took friends there for a farewell dinner (they moved away). The food was great. No other words. Just great. However, for the price of the food, I’d like the place to be a little more quiet. It is often difficult to carry on a conversation due to the noise of other patrons. Sadly, this is common in most restaurants. If my husband and I go on our own, we ask for the little table inside the door – it’s in a private alcove and really it is delightful! But it only seats two people… thus the romance factor is high! But with four people, we can’t do the romance thing! So, we were out in the bull pen! The menu is good with lots of variety! You could have just about anything you want. We had a variety of starters from salads to baked brie cheese with apples, to a mushroom tartlet. The sounds of “Mmmmm” and “oh wow” emanated from ourselves and our guests! The mains were just as delicious – from the salmon, to the chicken, to the beef tenderloin. All were consumed by very happy people! We had to save room for dessert though! Their signature dessert has to be their carrot cake, made in-house, it’s always on the menu no matter what else changes. It’s worth it! Save room for that cake! You won’t be sorry!
Our server was good, not stellar, but good. At least she got our orders correct, and made good suggestions for us. We’ve had better servers there in the past. I’m putting it down to the heat (it was very warm outside!) Overall, still my favourite place in our little town of Uxbridge, Ontario. I recommend you make a reservation, especially if you want that cozy little table for 2!
2. Urban Pantry Again, this place has excellent food, not the run of the mill (no pun intended) menu. It does seem heavy in the fish and seafood department but there are other choices. It’s a small place – the outside building could use some TLC, but the addition of a patio has greatly improved the curb appeal. The inside is lovely. It was an old burger joint that was remade into an upscale place to eat. Now, we ate there last night so this is fresh in my memory! My husband ordered soup as his starter, and we shared an order of their flat bread with a white bean hummus (fantastically yummy!) When our starters arrived, the flat bread came as ordered, yes, but Scott’s soup was actually the octopus salad. How on earth our server could mix up soup with octopus salad, I just don’t know. But Scott isn’t one to make waves and so he kept the salad, to the apologies of the owner and later our server. He actually enjoyed it although found the dressing on the salad to be very heavy in vinegar. He liked it but it’s not something he would order again. The difference in the soup and salad? $7.50 The soup was $6 and the octopus salad was $13.50 – yep we were charged for her mistake! Our mains came – he had the red snapper and loved it. Every bite of it. I didn’t see anything that really appealed to me on the menu and so I ordered, sadly, a burger. It was good. No complaints. The menu changes seasonally so if you like something be sure you return and order it again before it changes. Scott’s favourite thing was their fries (in the past) I’m not sure why they left the menu but these ones were tossed in a garlic/parmesan/oil I think, from our memory – it’s been awhile – and they were to die for! If you go in the next little while, try the flatbread with the white bean hummus – that is amazingly delicious! Seriously! So fantastic! I could eat it with a spoon!!!
Our server was polite but so quiet you could barely hear her! 🙂 Again, the tables are close so if you are next to a noisy table then you just can’t hear! She apologized for the octopus/soup mix up. We got a bottle of still water instead of sparkling mineral water. Again, no waves (no pun) and enjoyed the cold water. Scott asked for coffee, she never returned with his coffee. At all. When we asked for the bill, she didn’t say “oh I forgot your coffee” she said nothing. She was a nice young girl, but would benefit from a note pad to write things down!
Both The Tin Mill and Urban Pantry change their menus frequently. It would be nice to have some signature dishes that didn’t change on either menu so you could say “Oh The Tin Mill? You should try their…..” or “Urban Pantry makes the best….” But the server can make or break your experience, as I said. The Tin Mill server was good, the Urban Pantry server was pleasant, but neither were over the top!
Bottom line, both restaurants are wonderful and worth trying. I’d give the edge to the Tin Mill, but the Urban Pantry is very close behind!
Just my two cents!