We were entertaining out-of-town guests and had planned on dinner at one of our favourite little French bistros and then a stroll through St. Boniface.
Unfortunately, Monday closures foiled our plans, so we went to an alternative scenario which turned out beautifully. Clay Oven has recently opened to occupy the choice restaurant space at Shaw Park.
The unusual setting, with views of the ballpark, was perfect to entertain our friends and was also memorable because it was the first time that we dined with our new grandchild.
The open concept and helpful staff made us all feel right at home, including the wee one. In fact, there was another baby "dining" in the vicinity.
Unique to this location is Clay Oven’s Hakka Menu, which is a fusion of Chinese and Indian cuisines. I am fascinated by the inclusion of medicinal spices and wholesome ingredients that have been utilized by the two cultures for over 3,000 years.
I put aside the sampling from this special menu for a future visit and stuck to our favourite selections, in order to guarantee pleasure. We were not disappointed.
I recently took a Samosa-making class and know the skill that is required to prepare, shape and stuff the dough with the balanced blend of seasoned vegetables.
These puffy pockets were virtually greaseless (which is my measurement of a well-prepared samosa) and were crunchy and flaky at the same time. To us, they ensured that the evening ahead would be a hit.
In ideal succession, the rest of our dishes came streaming out from the open kitchen. I am always as delighted by the intricately hammered serving vessels as by what they contain.
The butter chicken and masala dishes were perfectly balanced when scooped up with the naan or spooned over the unending servings of Basmati rice. Everyone agreed that the selections were lovingly prepared with an expert understanding of the complex spices that distinguish Indian cuisine.
We decided to forego dessert selections, so that we could stroll over the exquisite Provencher Bridge, stop at Leon’s for a scoop of Eva’s Gelato and proceed to the St. Boniface Basilica.
As a result, the evening was an amalgam of cultures, typical of this amazing city that we live in.