We want to preface this review with an essential foodie rule – be willing to travel!

Do not deprive yourself of the full on experience of locations outside of your comfort zone. Chances are that the most gorgeous menus are just a tad out of reach and so worth the stretch. Such is the case with this great Taste Buds find, out in Bowmanville.

Tetra Kitchen & Vines

TETRA

Imagine our surprise when a friend who has been living abroad suggested this cozy place, simply because she walked by while here for a visit. The restaurant is store front and unassuming as you would imagine a suburban strip mall establishment to be. However, if one looks closer you will notice the outdoor pots chock full of herbs and vegetables. A sure sign of freshness and organics even before you’ve had a chance to see the menu.

The décor is chic, dark and warm. It is not over-sized nor designed to increase capacity, but instead to give a sense of privacy to every table. The friendly welcome and warm service was impeccable. Not stuffy, fine dining ‘bougie’ impeccable, but extremely honest, comfortable and professional. Our server stayed long enough at our table to show she cared about our experience, but never long enough to smother us. That my dear readers is an art that should not go on unnoticed.

Tetra features both tapas and traditional sized meals.  The menu is extremely creative without being scary. The wine list is also impressive but not intimidating. We took full advantage of the adventure by sharing three very different starters; Lobster Spring Rolls, Escargot and Spicy Calamari. To say that the various flavours were exciting is an understatement. Each dish exceeded our expectations and we giggled like school girls reading a love note with each bite. The spring rolls are served with a Sriracha Truffle Aioli and Cilantro oil blend.  Amazing!  Beware the Spicy Calamari as we recommend that you have water close by and available, but the heat does not overtake the taste. The calamari is sautéed in a jalapeno, okra, black olive tomato broth. It is cooked to perfection and neither chewy nor limp.  You will definitely want to finish the broth with bread.

Our final starter, the Escargot, was the most creatively prepared of the three. Natalie is an escargot connoisseur, and was hesitant to end her lifelong love for this French delicacy with a rogue recipe, but her gastronome responsibility prevailed. The Escargot was baked in a pesto brushed puff pastry with sun-dried apricot, and caramelized onion in a basil pesto butter. A true sign of a master chef to even consider these ingredients together, but even more so that it was magical. If you have avoided eating gastropods in the past, for visual reasons, we highly recommend this recipe which is in essence a delicious escargot pot pie.

Needless to say, our main entrees were exquisite, varied, and yes shared as well. Roasted Beet and herb goat cheese salad, Roasted Breast of Duck with Confit Potato Rosti, Fresh Vegetables which were served with a Roasted Garlic, Whiskey, Dried Cherry, White Chocolate & Red Currant Jam reduction, and Mahi Mahi, blackened with warm root Vegetable Salad with Quebec White Ash-Aged Goat Cheese Dressing, that was adorned with Locally Sourced, Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salsa.

Every plate was both cooked to perfection and beautifully presented.  Tetra Kitchen & Vine is officially listed as a Taste Buds favourite, and a divine culinary find. This title however does not come without our ending the evening with dessert. Two very decadent and very rich desserts to be exact. The first was a duo of Orange Crème Brule and Chocolate Molten Tart (just think of the Terri’s Orange Chocolate flavors). FABULOUS! And the second, a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie cheesecake.  The cheesecake certainly met Natalie’s high and expert expectations.

Tetra Kitchen & Vines. So worth the travel ! Taste Buds highly recommended. We will return to enjoy the magic once again.

Located at 570 Longworth Ave, Bowmanville, ON   •   Tel: (905) 623-0008

About the Author

Joie Lamar recently released her first novel ‘Mambo Lips’ to rave reviews, and is working on volume two of the series titled ‘Salsa Hips’ which will be out in November 2015. Natalie is famous for her ‘Dessert Diva’ cheesecakes and especially busy during the spring season baking for numerous long term clients and new celebrations. They both enjoy travel, writing, food and the arts.