Foods from Must Wine Bar and Tapas

2013 Mar 21
Date of Visit: March 12, 2013

Must Wine Bar is a tiny little establishment that is just a few doors down from Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro which I generally visit when in the capital. I have passed by the place many times, and even perused their posted many a few times, but it was only on my last trip south that I gave it a try. On the whole, I was very happy that I did…

The Food
Red pepper and Dijon Red Deer Sausage - Rating: 5 out of 5.
Brome lake In-house Smoked Duck – Rating: 5 out of 5.
Pan seared Scallops – Rating: 5 out of 5
Empanadas with BBQ Pulled Pork – Rating: 2 out of 5.

Attending on a busier night with a few more patrons at least would have made the ambience a little nicer but I still enjoyed my evening here and tasted some lovely dishes. I will definitely visit again and I rate the place at a solid 4 out of 5.

See full pictorial review

2012 Jan 20
I've been here a few times due to various groupbuy coupons. In short, both the food and service are uneven.

Many of the items I've had in the past are no longer on the menu and I'll try and skip over those. The mushroom dumplings are quite good, as are the chorizo meatballs. I've had the duck wings twice and was happy with them both times (~5 big wings and slaw). The meat is certainly tender and the sauce is sweet but not cloying, but I found the little crispy bits near the top of the wing to be the best part and I wished for more crispness. Oh well.

Last night our table had the steak frites and the pork shoulder. The pork shoulder is braised, served with cauliflower puree and vegetables. I tried the pork and it was tender and great with a nice rim of delicious pork fat on one edge. I'm pretty sure the sauce on it was the same as the duck wings which isn't really a complaint, I suppose. The steak was ordered rare and received as such, more or less. I qualify simply because it had a nice red centre but it was surrounded by that grey ring. If my friend served this to me, I would be thrilled but for a $26 steak, I hope for minimal greying. That being said, the steak portion exceeded expectations and the aioli was pretty delicious. I'm having mixed feelings on the fries. I thought they were tasty but I think they were battered which always just makes me think of the poor renditions of such fries available at KFC and the like. So... be warned?

Split a raspberry/pear cobbler for dessert. Came with ice cream which (I'm pretty sure) had nuts but I don't think this was mentioned on the menu. Those with allergies, beware. It was a bit of a disappointing end to the meal. Not offensive, just bland. Most of the dessert menu seems based on raspberry coulis (cobbler, almond square with raspberry, raspberry cheesecake) for whatever reason. Ordered a tea for dessert which never arrived.

I'm not much of a wine drinker so I won't comment on the wine list (which is extensive). Beer selection is nice: Steamwhistle, Sapporo, something from Spearhead in Toronto, Ashton Amber (which was nice and a little hoppy), Kichessipi and more.

The service itself was pleasant and laid back. I think most of the (minor) problems were due to understaffing. I only saw one waitress until later in the evening and so it took quite a while for drinks to arrive after ordering etc. Nothing major. That being said, we were in no rush and a table behind us had a post-dinner engagement and the waitress did a good job of getting them out on time so maybe I'm just too uptight.

2011 Dec 15
Went for a Christmas party with the office. I had high hopes for the place but it fell short. Firstly, even though it is two doors down from LUSH, apparently they share some ventilation because the place stunk like bath bombs. It was especially bad in the room we were in, a number from our party sat in the adjacent room due to scent allergies. Our group of 20 were the only people in there at the time, there appeared to be two servers coming in and out. The service was spotty, was never offered a refill on my wine or a glass of water. A few orders were mixed up (meh, it happens). Took forever to finally get our bills. Quality and quantity was perhaps a bit sub par for the price, but not far off the mark in comparison to most other places in the market. I don't think I will be back.

2011 Nov 10
I went to Must with a party of four people on Saturday night. Our server was knowledgeable and friendly and we received excellent service.

My boyfriend and I split the mushroom dumplings as an appetizer and the other couple shared the steak tartar. The dumplings were quite nice though I think they would have been better in a large quantity as a main dish. (As in a bowlful of them drizzled in that lovely sauce.) We only got three dumplings, and had we not all ordered a side of olives we would have been sitting hungry around an empty table for a very long time. The other couple was very happy with their steak tartar, but was also left wanting more by the end of it (thank goodness for the olives we ordered!) The bowl of olives was a good size for the price and featured a nice variety. That being said, nearly an hour after our appetizers were done we were picking at the last of the olives and waiting for our mains. More than once our dinner guests questioned the wait time between our appetizer and our main. We noticed that most tables around us had already eaten/ received their food so there shouldn't have been a very big rush in the kitchen.

When our meal did come, it was quite good. I ordered the Crispy Duck Leg Confit. While the duck was not crispy it was very satisfying. The meat was moist and tender and the au jus was a nice touch to the roast potatoes. There were no day vegetable as had been promised but they were not terribly missed. The poached pear was good, but it would have been nice to get more than three small cubes of it. I liked the wilted lettuce in the sauce as well. Overall the dish was quite nice but it could have used more flavour. The only flavour in the meal was the au jus, which even then was very plain - perhaps this dish is better suited to the palate of a more plain-meat-and-potatoes crowd?

My boyfriend had the BBQ pork shoulder which he very much enjoyed. I tried some and I have to say the bbq sauce was fantastic and the meat very tender. The cauliflower puree was his favourite part - it had a great texture and flavour. Our other dinner guests ordered the duck and the capellini pomodoro. Though our guest with the capellini was happy to get his meal as he had been starving, his portion was very small. The plate was comparable to the size of an appetizer plate, a small Primi if you will, and but not large enough for a main course.

For dessert, the four of us split two cheesecakes. The flavours were very nice though we found the name "cheesecake" misleading as it was more of a custard (in texture, and it came in a custard bowl with no crust). It was delicious, but it may be helpful for the restaurant to rebrand it as "cheesecake custard". The menu states it is NY style and has a "graham cracker crumble" neither of which was true, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Overall, a satisfying meal. I left not feeling overstuffed of bloated as I often do after a three course meal which was very nice though I know that one of our dinner guests left feeling hungry. (That being said, my duck portion was of a very good size, in comparison to that of my companion with the cappelleti). One of our dinner guests put it best: "the food was good and the venue was nice, but I won't come back unless they they can push out food faster". Good food, but we waited far too long (nearly an hour) between the time we finished our appetizer and our main.

2011 Oct 16
Not only is the wine list poor, I find, but the restaurant management treat a complaint as an attack and immediately threaten, which I found very sad. We were refused service and were treated very badly. We found Bettina's service very nice when we went. She is one of the owners I believe. She is just amazing and very sweet, however the rest of the staff is clearly insulting and very rude. After spending over $400 at this place, I still have not been satisfied on their service nor have I been impressed by their food and wine. The figs are delicious but it is basically two figs cut in half topped with a skim amount of condiments and presented. One time, however, I asked Bettina if there was anything else and she prepared a small personalized appetizer for me, which was appreciated. I have to say that, had Bettina been the only person there, this place would have been great. But the addition of unfriendly, uneducated and rude staff made me stop attending and caused a great deal of humiliation for me in a situation where the staff falsely accused me and in front of family, which was plain discrimination and false allegation. After this experience, I was left in a state of shock and extreme embarrassment.

2011 Jun 6
What an awful experience. We were a group of 13 people that was booked 2 weeks in advance. We had to ask for bread (after being there for 2 hours), which came without butter. After a 2 1/2 hour wait the food finally came, which in some cases was burnt, bland or cold. When we complained about the dismal service to the owner she argued that we hadn't been waiting that long and if we didn't like the food there was nothing she could do. All she could offer us was 25% off coupons for the next visit. As if any of us would ever go back!

2011 May 21
I wish to respond to the comments made by misskharm as I remember her table well. She was a very pleasant woman with equally pleasant companions that evening. I was so pleased when she sought out my boss to let him know what a lovely time she'd had and what a good job i was doing. My response here is merely to clarify a potentially misunderstood retelling of this visit.
We reprinted the bill yesterday to look into the reasoning behind this obviously upset note regarding my place of work. We very much want everyone to leave happy and were eager to understand the comments made by misskharm. The bill was as follows: Chorizo meatballs(which is 8$ not 10$), shrimp tacos, smoked trout crustinis, steak tartar, risotto, dumplings, sliders(pulled pork which comes with tumbleweed onion rings) duck wings, a large charcuterie plate(3 meats and 2 cheeses, antipasti and baguette) a bottle of carmenere and 2 pints of micro brewed draught beer, plus a large bottle of san pellegrino. In summary, that is 8 tapas items plus the large charcuterie & cheese, 1 bottle of wine, big bottle of sparkling water and 2 beers. The total for this bill before tax was $156.44. I realize that it may seem like alot after tax, it was $176.78 and tipping me generously $36 totals this bill to 213$.
I was over the moon about this table when they left happy and bubbly as they had been initially distressed about the higher tables in the first room of we have 5 high in that room as well as low tables. The second room has all low chairs and tables, our downstairs has both. They sat in second room with the low chairs.
I am however, at a loss to understand the disrespect felt by misskharm as we do price our items in the menus and if anything is unsatisfactory ie:bland, we would be only too happy to remove it from the bill. There were no such comments of course and if the birthday person had been able to fit dessert in, i'd have given him a free piece of cake honoring his special day.
I feel it necessary to write this only to let further patrons know that we are a great place to eat and sometimes people are slightly skewed in their memory of dining out due to being swept up in good conversation/wine/food. They receive the creditcard bill and don't have itemization of taxes and gratuity they left, leaving them feeling jilted. That being said i did very much enjoy misskharm's table and am sad they won't be back. Thanks for everyone's time.

2011 May 18
"Must" warn you about this place.
Went there recently for a "B"Party with family.
First, if you would prefer to have opportunity to talk to one another, request a table upstairs. Other rooms are large and noisy. Tables have high chairs...Just so you know!
We ordered all appetizers...this is why the "B" person chose this restaurant...(didn't have to concern self with $$$)
This is what I must warn you about. The prices are far too high for such tiny, tiny portions! ie: 2 small chorizo (where was the chorizo?? bland) meatballs, 2 tiny (but delicious)tacos, bland and tiny portion of risotto, tiny, tiny portion of pulled pork (delicious, but again far too tiny portion for cost)! The charcuterie platter is also far too small in size (we got the large one btw). Once again, delicious (duck, blue cheese etc., but the cost is a HUGE RIP OFF!
I can't say it enough, the portions are too small, inadequate and sometimes quite disappointing for the price.
I mean come on...$10 for 2 tiny meatballs?
Same for risotto the size of a about 1/2 cup?
Even if one is sharing with just one other person, it's TOO SMALL and TOO COSTLY!

Yummy wine list and The best waitress ever (Amy)...Couldn't get me back! I'll tell everyone to watch out .... It's a true rip off!

Sooooo feeling ripped off! Total bill over $200. for 3 people, no main, two beers, and one bottle of yummy carmeniere!

BTW...we are reminded to treat vendors with same respect that we should expect as customers....well, MUST, you disrespected me!!!

2011 Jan 11
Visited recently because I bought a coupon through Living Social and I was pretty happy I did.

We just had a few tapas dishes and wine. Everything was good and the service was friendly. I highly recommend the Baked Brie. You get a very large brie for what you pay for and it was delicious.