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“Watusi” is what you get – Restaurant Review

March 29, 2010

Get it?   Wat – u – si.   I have no idea if that’s how it’s pronounced or if that was intended, but it works and I’m going with it unless I hear otherwise.   If only I had this epiphany when the restaurant was initially recommended by one of my girlfriends.  I could not remember the name of the restaurant for the life of me.  So I just drove up and down Ossington until I saw something that sounded vaguely familiar. 

 As mentioned in the Foxley review, I did a fair amount of eating out last week.   This evening was one of them and it was long overdue.   There are 5 of us whose lives crossed paths at Bell Mobility 7 years ago.  We separated a few years later, some ending up at Rogers Wireless, two others at Microsoft, and the last of us a South Asian wedding planner.   This I found fascinating – the only wedding planner I knew up until now was J-Lo:)   Raana does a whopping 35 weddings a year, when most women can’t handle one.  Props to her!


It had been a few years along with a few weddings, a baby and many other updates since our last get-together.  So we were simply looking for a place to catch up over a beverages and snacks.  Again, I offered to do the research but when “Watusi” was suggested, I jumped on it.   After all, the reviews were decent, it was an opportunity to try a new place AND they served gluten-free food. 






The Location:  110 Ossington Ave. Toronto.   Like most places on Ossington, its facade is quite narrow. Don’t blink or you might miss it.

The Menu:  There’s something for everyone on this menu.  I know it’s cliché but it’s true.   Most items fall between $6 and $10, with a few outliers in the $12 to $25 range.   They describe their menu quite succinctly as the “classics with a modern edge”.  Chickpea fries are a great example of this.

FYI:  The fabulous photos in this post were taken with my Windows Phone (a discrete plug for the product I slave over everyday at Microsoft).   Go buy a Windows Phone today! (that’s my not so discrete plug). 

Back to the review…

Our Order:  More accurately,”The Food I Ate”.  The girls had pizza, black cod, short ribs and jumbo shrimp (see photo above – it looks like it’s the size of Jen’s head!).    All of which they seemed to enjoy.

Chickpea Fries ($6) –  Yep. You read that correctly.  The staple for hummus and falafel has found a new home at Watusi.  You’re probably looking at the photo thinking, “Gee, you don’t get many fries” or “Damn, those are honkin’ fries!”.  It’s the latter.  These were massive, minimum of 5-bites required.  As you can imagine, we were all intrigued by this merging of food worlds on a plate and had to give them a go.  Worst case – they end up being terrible and we’d be out $6.  After cautiously biting into these massive morsels the smiles started to appear around the table.  We were content with the final product.  The girls were more so than I, because the jalapeno dip (which was off bounds for me) was the perfect pairing.   

Something tells me my naturopath wouldn’t put fried chickpeas (or fried anything) on the “safe” list.  I took advantage of the fact that legumes were safe and “fried foods” weren’t explicitly stated when we reviewed the Elimination Diet.  Plus they were made from chickpeas!   These I knew were chock full of the good stuff – better than your average white potato fry.  Chickpeas (or garbanzo bean) are high in soluble and insoluble fiber.  So, great for lowering cholestero; and making you regular.  If you’re vegetarian or running short on meat, mix chickpeas with a whole grain like brown rice.  This will give you a complete protein (because all 9 amino acids are present).   It’s best to buy, soak and cook raw chickpeas but if you’re using the canned version make sure you rinse repeatedly to rid the added salt.


Sushi Roll – Seafood with unagi and avocado ($8)  – My eyes lit up when I saw the words “sushi” and “unagi”.   They were the perfect bite-size pieces (not so big that they fall apart mid bite).  The flavours and presentation were simple, but I didn’t expect much from a cocktail bar with a 60’s twist, that serves everything under the sun.  If you’re wondering why there are only 5 pieces, it’s because I got ahead of myself and ate one before taking the photo.  Hee hee.  

 Grilled calamari with pineapple ($10) – The chef was nice enough to prep this with something other than butter for me. I don’t know what he did (nor do I want to know) but it tasted pretty darn good.  I was impressed with the portion size and thought the flavour and texture were bang on.   Not bad, not bad at all for $10.

Spinach and avocado salad ($10) –  Jen and I shared this salad, which was a decent amount but wouldn’t be enough on its own.  Combined with the above I was satiated.  After scanning a review prior to dinner, I had high hopes for this what was expected to be a plentiful salad.  The comment – “there were all sorts of other ingredients in there that made [the salad] so tasty and fresh”. It was definitely “tasty and fresh” although there was nothing more than spinach, avocado and a miniscule amount of diced veggies (pepper I believe).  I prefer playing the “under promise, over deliver” card when it comes to reviews. 

The Scene:   The menu, the logo, their website and the surroundings make me want to sing “Itsty bitsy tiny weeny yellow polka dot bikini”.  And that’s the reaction they are striving for but toned down slightly.   The restaurant has an upscale, yet casual feel with splashes of colour here and there.  It definitely suited for cocktails and nibbles, their focus exactly. 

The Damage I think we had 9 dishes with 2 drinks each (except for me) and it worked out to about $80.  Note to the Bell girls – if you’re reading this please let me know if I’m way off. 

You should go if:

  • The concept of chickpea fries don’t scare you.  But you have to dip them to get the full experience.
  • You’re on the wait list at Pizza Libretto or Foxley and need something to tide you over.
  • You’re in the mood for mojitos, martini or cocktails.  They have 2 pages dedicated to drinks with a twist.

Watusi on Urbanspoon


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