Last week I had the opportunity to attend a blogger event and tweetup at Earls in London. Located on Wellington Road, not too far from Highway 401 Earls was known to me by reputation only prior to this evening event. I had heard from several friends and a former pilates instructor that Earls had good food and provided a lovely dining experience. I was anxious to see it for myself.
When we arrived, we learned from our server and Chef Brandon that the Earls chain has a history in the Western provinces and began in Alberta. There are now seven Ontario Earls locations with one being here in London of course and the rest scattered about Toronto area. Our server Matt noted the proximity of this Earls location to the 401 was a selling feature for the restaurant.
Chef Brandon is a treasure and his staff remarkable. We had a five course meal with suggested wine and cocktail pairings for each course. The Bronx burger came in a mini size version and was appreciated by all the bloggers in attendance. The menu item burger of same name is much larger but also served with on a brioche style bun with a crispy onion ring atop the Angus beef patty. An appetizer of baby calamari and dynamite roll was unreal it was so tender and flavourful. Calamari is a big favourite for me regardless of where I am, but this baby calamari was outstanding. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as baby Calamari until Chef Brandon told us.
The sourdough bread is made fresh daily. The wine is full and rich and servers can easily suggest the proper pairing for your meal. The steak was one of the best things I have ever tasted. But the real story, the showstopper that spoiled me for life were the ribs. You’ve never tasted anything quite like these. They fell off the bone and were moist and absolutely perfect. In fact this weekend I went to a rib place that I usually enjoy and found that I have had my palate changed for life. These ribs are exactly the way ribs should be done every time. Writing this recap is making my stomach rumble. It’s almost impossible to do the taste of the food justice in mere words. Earls was one of my top two dining experiences ever. The other one being last summer’s experience at The Purple Pig in Chicago. I enjoy good food and appreciate anyone who can command flavours so that they complement foods perfectly and snap to attention literally when they meet your tastebuds. I am not so skilled in the kitchen.
Earls is a gem of a restaurant for a grownup event, function or dinner. The Peach Bellini was refreshing paired with the sourdough bread and the calamari appetizer came with a Ginger Margarita which was a totally unexpected treat. The specialty coffee though was outrageously perfect for a cold winter night. Loved the description of the process and the product.
I wouldn’t bring my children to this restaurant in all likelihood because this food is serious adult fare. That’s my personal preference. The decor is lovely and the food is incredible. It’s not McDonald’s or Swiss Chalet. This is a place for date night or the night with your best friend, or the Christmas exchange. Deliciously adult.
Disclosure: I received some free product during the evening at Earls. My opinion is my own.