Wednesday, April 24, 2013


On Sunday night, Husband and I finally checked out a restaurant that I've wanted to try since it first opened over two years ago: Cheesewerks. While we had previously attempted to check this cheese-focused place out a couple of times, it wasn't until we bought a Buytopia coupon good for a four-course Cheesewerks dining experience that we were able to get our act together and actually get a seat in the restaurant.

Located on Bathurst, just south of Wellington, Cheesewerks is a small-ish place that feels quite airy due to its high ceilings and bright, mostly white colour scheme.  The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, thanks in part to a shelf full of board games and a giant flat-screen that plays a muted Food Network. The straightforward menu, which includes several different kinds of grilled cheese and mac and cheese, also helps to keep things unfussy.

Our server for the night happened to be Kevin Durkee, one of the restaurant’s owners. He was quite friendly and walked us through our meal without overwhelming us with details. He also didn’t rush us, which was very important because our meal was huge (it took over an hour-and-a-half to complete). If you purchased the same four-course coupon that I bought, starve yourself before you head out to Cheesewerks because you’re going to need each inch of available stomach space.

Our meal started with a glass of completely adequate house wine, a small cup of rustic tomato soup and a small, classic grilled cheese.  While the soup, which was made with crushed, over-roasted tomatoes, was a bit too rustic for my tastes (I would have preferred something smoother), I think most people would enjoy it. And I can’t imagine anyone (well, expect for the lactose intolerant) not loving the grilled cheese sandwich, which had generous slices of Balderson aged and double-smoked cheddar perfectly melted between two pieces of tasty, cracked peppercorn sourdough.

After the soup and sandwich were quickly devoured, we moved onto the cheese fondue.  The cheese mixture itself was absolutely perfect and while it contained Pinot Grigio, roasted garlic and nutmeg, none of those flavours over powered the actual cheese. Instead, everything worked together to create the best cheese fondue I've ever had.

Accompanying our melted cheese was a nice selection of bread, apples slices, roasted baby potatoes and pickled heirloom carrots. While all of the items tasted great bathed in hot cheese, my favourite pairing involved the bread.

By now we were quite stuffed but we still had two more courses to go. Next up was the Beijing mac cheese. This version of Cheesewerks’ house-made mac and cheese contains BBQ pork and slivered green onions, two ingredients that I am not a big fan of. I did my best to eat around them but unfortunately, the evil onion had baked its nasty flavour throughout the dish and so I couldn't even come close to finishing it.

But perhaps it’s for the best that I wasn’t a fan of the mac and cheese or else I wouldn't have had room for dessert. While I’d read somewhere that some people received a slice of cheesecake, we got something called a candy bar grilled cheese and it was fantastic! It involves a candy bar (we went with a Mr. Big) being melted between two pieces of sourdough that have been slathered in mascarpone.  This amazing item was then topped with fresh berries and served with small bowl of real maple syrup. Yes, I don’t know why this dessert isn't everywhere.

Overall, Husband and I were more than satisfied with our meal and we’re kicking ourselves for not checking out Cheesewerks sooner.

Will we be back: Without a doubt, yes! We might be back as early as the May long weekend and next time, I’ll be trying out one of the Cheesewerks’ homemade sodas.

Should you check it out:  If you love cheese, don’t wait two years like we did; make reservations and check this place out sooner rather than later.

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