Sundance Cafe, version 2.0

When an old favourite, a classic, comforting, homely restaurant shuts shop, and opens a few years later after a complete makeover to move with the times, the comparisons cannot be avoided and cynicism that it won’t match up is not unfounded. Sundance Café, however, doesn’t disappoint. Sure, it doesn’t serve the awesome Ninja Turtle Burgers and doesn’t serve cheap booze and Indian Chinese but the place is still friendly and comforting, the food is better, the loo… well, it’s a cleaner avatar, finally.

Pork and Belly Tenderloin Sliders

Those eager to scoff at the place suggesting that this is a fancy-pants version of the original Sundance Cafe should take a quick, honest trip down memory lane to the last few days of the original café’s existence and remember the dismal service the bad food and equally forgettable washroom.

The 2.0 version instead of being dark and crammed, is airy, has well spaced out wooden tables, sober cream walls, a mammoth rack on the wall with cute miniature cars, train engines and Archie comic stacks.

The menu is neat with something for everyone’s post-peg craving. Cheesy, meaty Hot Dogs, check. Pork and Beef Burgers and Sliders, check. Tenderloin Steaks check. Fish and Chips, check. Barbeque Wings, check. Nachos with Guacamole, Sour Cream, Melted Cheese and Salsa, check. Mac and Cheese, Cheese Fondue and Pizzas, check.

First up, we ordered for the Barbeque Chicken Wings (`375) that arrived with a generous helping of Blue Cheese dip and Factory Nachos (`345), a beautiful assembly of tortilla chips topped with generous amounts of guacamole, sour cream and cheese and very little salsa. The Nachos, the vegetarians on the table affirmed, were balanced but the non-vegetarians couldn’t keep their hands off the moist chicken wings coated with a sweet and not too spicy, sticky sauce.

Pasta lovers at the table had called for an Alfredo (`375). The big, clean bowl of perfectly cooked Penne arrived, with the right amount of fresh, well-seasoned, thick yet light sauce to coat each pasta: comfort winter food. There were bits of mushroom in the pasta, which wasn’t mentioned on the menu. If you’re allergic to it, ensure you mention it while placing the order.

Post the pasta, we got down to real business. We ordered for a Bacon and Cheddar Hot Dog (`375) — bacon wrapped franks with melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits, spicy mustard and two Sliders (`100 each), the Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Star Anise Barbeque Sauce Roast Garlic and Tenderloin Cubed Steak with Black Pepper Jus and aged Cheddar Cheese.

The frankfurter was not wrapped in bacon; instead, it had thin, flavourful bacon slices placed on top of the frank. We’d prefer more cheese and less mustard but every mouthful tasted like every beer and football lover’s dream come true. The Sliders were tiny bombs made in meaty heaven, its flavours exploded in our mouths. The piggy little things were exceptionally tender; the star anise and barbeque sauce was well seasoned and not over powering. The tenderloin cube was not over-seasoned; it retained the taste of the meat and the salty cheddar added character.

The Ecuadorian Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream and Cointreau Foam (`220) would be the perfect ending to any meal. The freshly baked chocolate fondant cake looked deceptively simple but a spoon of it released a stream of steaming, decadent, gooey, sticky dark chocolate, accompanied by the fast-melting ice cream. Some more Cointreau foam would have been nice, but the dessert was winner, nevertheless.

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