When the old Chocolate Shop on Portage closed its doors and started being renovated, I was on pins and needles wondering what was going to take over. I’ve been watching the renovations happen from the outside for months – first the fresh coat of paint on the bricks, then the cute litte bistro awning, but the windows stayed papered over!
Well over the weekend I was lucky to get a preview of the space (and the food! but more on that later), and now I know why they’ve been keeping it a secret – it’s had a COMPLETE makeover! And I do mean those capitals – here’s what the space looked like when they took it over:
And here’s what it looks like now:
Totally amazing transformation!
Because the team behind Arkadash are super-nice, my preview included food, and I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit I sampled so much I almost waddled out. The bistro is Mediterranean, with lots of flavours from Turkey & Morocco. Translation: lots of yummy spices and smells.
I tried of ton of food – appis like blue cheese flatbread, some buttery-soft fresh house-made foccacia, a spicy little eggplant dish that came with a yogurty sauce on top to balance out the kick; and for an entree a chicken tajine that had the most delicious cinnamon-and-spice aroma.
My top picks? The roasted tomato salad with pomegranate dressing totally wowed me. It looked really simple on the plate, but when I took a bite it was packed with really powerful tangy flavours – I had no idea you could make the flavour of a tomato that rich! And I have a weakness for sweets, so I have to mention the desserts: I splurged and tried not one but two – a pomegranate vodka sorbet that came in a pretty-as-a-picture flower-shaped pastry shell, then a rich chocolate Turkish mousse. The cute little blue chocolate button on top of the dessert is the same icon that’s painted on all the walls – how cute is that?