Gordon, you’ve really disappointed us. The price was right ($10 a plate), but the taste was most definitely not. Total rubbish.
*Update: Gordon Ramsay and Laurier have cut ties in what seems to be a move to save face while trying to regain some of it’s older charm (hence the rename to Laurier 1936). This however does not change our experience. Our review remains untouched.*
In early August, after a four month absence, Rotisserie Laurier BBQ reopened under its new name “Laurier Gordon Ramsay”, but unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that already. What you may not know is they recently introduced an after nine menu, which we decided to check out on a recent Friday night.
Upon entering, the restaurant feels at once new and familiar (like an old friend you haven’t seen in years), and certainly a lot sexier (maybe it’s more like that plain looking girl from high school who magically became super hot 10 years later). The booths, floors and classic desserts remain, but a new wine cellar, fireplace, and softer lighting definitely give the space a trendier, more comfortable feel.
The after nine menu consists of a list of ten different dishes, each of which will set you back only $10. All of the dishes are also found on the regular menu – we had to ask for the separate after nine menu – and we were informed that all the portion sizes were the same as their pre-9:00 counterparts.
Quote of the night: While debating between ordering the tourtière and the hot chicken sandwich, we asked the waitress which we should get. She told us that tourtière was a ‘Christmas food’, and that Christmas was over. She also said the world was going to end on December 21st, 2012, which meant there would never be another Christmas. Guess we’re never having tourtière again. #MostDepressingCommentEverByaWaitress
To cheer us up we started with a chicken poutine to share. After taking one bite we knew something was off. Unfortunately, the abundance of thyme overpowered the dish. The rest of the dish was good, with hand-cut fries, plenty of gooey cheese curds and a nice amount of tasty chicken. If only the gravy didn’t destroy the dish like Gordon Ramsay destroys the souls of aspiring chefs. Too much?
The hot chicken sandwich, covered in the same thyme laden sauce, wasn’t any better. This is your standard hot chicken sandwich, same as you’d find at Saint Hubert or Chalet BBQ (for even less than 10 bucks, we might add). Chicken, sandwiched between two pieces of white bread covered in gravy and peas. No gourmet Gordon twist here – but maybe that was the point. The chicken was tasty, if unspectacular, but once again the gravy soured the experience.
Two of us ordered the chicken pot pie. Served in a ramekin dish, with a nice golden crust rising over top of it, this dish was surely nice to look at. Unfortunately, like our mothers always told us, its what’s on the inside that counts, and this pie’s inside was watery, under seasoned, and eating it was like playing a game of hide and seek with the bacon (which the bacon won). On top of this one of the two pies was barely lukewarm on the inside.
The favourite dish of the night was the “smoky” ribs. Covered in a sweet and tangy apple molasses BBQ sauce, these ribs were nice and tender (although not all that smoky as the menu would lead you to believe) and the sauce had a nice balance of sweet and vinegar. This is definitely the best value to be had on the menu; hard to complain about a plate o’ ribs for 10 bucks.
For side dishes we tried the fries (which come with the hot chicken sandwich) and smoked meat mac n cheese (which we ordered separately, BECAUSE IT’S SMOKED MEAT MAC N CHEESE!). The handcut (skin-on) fries were quite good, both golden brown and flavourful. The smoked meat mac n’ cheese was a bit disappointing. I like my mac n’ cheese cheesier than a Michael Bolton single, but this dish was more creamy than cheesy due to the fact that it was covered in béchamel instead of loads of cheese. The smoked meat chunks got lost in the sea of white sauce and were therefore indiscernible.
We finished with a nice big piece of warm mocha cake (how could we not?), one of the few items unchanged after the British Invasion. We remember reading about how Gordon ate at the old Laurier BBQ and was very unimpressed with the mocha cake, and wanted to take it off the menu. Luckily he was persuaded not to because this was probably the best thing we ate all night. We can understand why Gordon may have scoffed at the dish. There is absolutely nothing elegant about this dessert. It’s sponge cake smothered in frosting. It’s dense, it’s gooey, it doesn’t even taste much like coffee, and boy is it massive (four of us shared one piece). What Gordon may have missed was the beautiful simplicity of the dish, the way it’ll make you feel nostalgic, even if you’ve never had it before. It’s just simple, old-school comfort, and that’s why it works and why it has worked for so many years. Tip: Get it heated up. You’re welcome.
On the surface, the after nine special at Laurier Gordon Ramsay seems like a great deal, but even $10 is too much to pay for food that should be so much better, especially given the Gordon Ramsay name.
• Mocha cake and it’s old school charm
• 10$ Ribs (duh)
• Nice, updated ambiance
• Thyme laden gravy
• Chicken Pot Pie: Watery, baconless, bland.
• Apocalyptic Waitress (ok, she wasn’t THAT bad)
• Shouldn’t have to ask for after 9 menu
• NO MORE CHRISTMAS!?!?!
How much you save by eating after nine: Between $3 and $8 per dish.
Where to grab a drink after: Baldwin Barmacie (115 Avenue Laurier Ouest), for some very tasty drinks, cheap bottle service and a fun yet sophisticated setting.