|Herb-infused chicken tikka|
And the food at Pukka – oh, the food. I was recently invited back for a blogger dinner to try out the new menu and was more than happy to attend. The general consensus at my table and in the room was that Pukka is one of the places in Toronto that is genuinely delicious all around.
While their wine program is top-notch, they have also recently developed a cocktail program that highlights fresh and natural ingredients. I was happy to be able to try a coconut martini, as there was no refined sugar in the drink.
“But I assumed that high alcohol wines would be more of a problem with spice levels. As I became more familiar with the kitchen's output, I realized my fears were unfounded as they weren't pushing the limits, chili-wise. So, modern, 14-plus per cent New World wines fit in more easily than I first imagined. Still, the 'gotcha' moment came with Rhône Grenache. Fruity, yes, but not especially dense and full-bodied (despite moderately high alcohol), Grenache was a surprise supplied by Derek, and it really works.”
"The whole world seems to be trying to 'curate' every minute of their existence. Remember that it's one night, one meal, one small bit of discretionary income. Take a flyer, a night off from chasing perfection, and remember that we all learn a boatload more when we are wrong, or when things aren't perfect,” he says.
This is great advice, which has served me well in my own wine journey, as taking a chance is all part of the magic of the wine experience.
“I'm looking forward to more dinners and wine dinner themes,” he says. “I can't get too weird with themes at this point because we are trying to fill spaces at the tasting table but it's always fun to explore the outer limits, bring new wines to the table! Most of all, I'm looking forward to new dishes from the Pukka kitchen. We already have some customer faves that can't be taken off the menu for fear of revolt, but new stuff is always fun and mind-expanding. At last night's dinner, they produced a spinach and fig tikka that was outstanding! I hope it makes it to the regular menu.”
Pukka is truly one of my favourite places to eat in the city and I can’t wait to return. Thank you to the staff for the opportunity to enjoy this media dinner and to Peter Boyd for answering my many questions.
You can learn more about Pukka on their website and visit their events page to find out about the next wine and food pairing event.
For more blog reviews from the dinner at Pukka (which focus much more on the food than the wine) check out these great posts from some of my favourite bloggers:
The Yum Yum Factor
*While my meal was complimentary, my opinions are most-definitely my own.