Nota Bene has been on our to-try list for a while. They serve fresh, seasonal Canadian cuisine on a menu which both looks and sounds extraordinary. This, paired with the ringing endorsements of our friends, made us very excited when we finally had an excuse to splurge (actually, we were just hungry).
Our waiter described everything on the menu as "absolutely delicious" and "amazing", which seemed hyperbolic but started to make sense as our dishes came out. Everything was absolutely delicious and amazing, starting with our Nota Bene cocktails ($12). Our waiter had promised that it would make us levitate – and he wasn't wrong. Flavoured with Absolut, elderflower, and lemon, they were a refreshing accompaniment to our meal.
We ordered the Hamachi Ceviche ($16) to start, which sounded very intriguing with a description of "avocado, corn nuts, lime, jalapeno, and coconut milk". And yes, it contains all these things but they came together to create so much more. This might start to sound like a love letter and that's because it is: we both agreed that the ceviche was our favourite dish of the night with its explosion of flavours in perfect harmony.
Hamachi Ceviche ($16)
For mains, we chose two highly recommended dishes: Jennifer's Stilton Beef Brisket Burger ($24) and the Cavatelli Pasta ($24).
The burger is one of Nota Bene's signatures and for good reason. The meat was perfectly cooked and topped with onions and a huge chunk of blue cheese, which made some bites more overpowering than others. Despite that, this burger has the power to convert vegans into carnivores.
The pasta was a truffle-scented mushroom bolognese that, while an excellent dish, wasn't the best pasta we've ever tasted. The pasta itself was cooked very al dente and the mushrooms were seasoned to create a lovely blend of flavours that weren't overpowering, which is always a danger with mushroom-based dishes. It was delicious but it left just a little more to be desired.
Jennifer's Stilton Beef Brisket Burger ($24) and Cavatelli Pasta ($24)
For dessert, we ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding ($12) because with a description including the phrase "spotted dick ice cream," how could you not be curious? (Turns out spotted dick is just a pudding that contains dried fruit.) The ice cream in particular was amazing, however, the toffee was a tad rich and we could not finish the entire dish (to be fair, we were also getting pretty full).
Sticky Toffee Pudding ($12)
Nota Bene somehow manages to combine fine dining with a casual feel, and that paired with their excellent food and attentive service, is truly the whole package.