As regular readers of my blog know, I never do restaurant reviews except for the occasional sneak peek or special event – and then it’s more of a recap than a formal review. It’s just something I’ve never been interested in doing, even though we eat out quite often. I don’t even leave reviews on any of the review sites – maybe I’m just lazy?
That being said, I did want to do a recap of a lovely dinner we had last month at Inspire Restaurant. (Full disclosure – my cousin is one of the co-owners at Inspire and although we paid for most of our meal, we were comped an appetizer and dessert).
Inspire Restaurant – www.insprestaurant.com
144 Main Street, Unit 1, Markham, Ontario, L3P 5T3
Owned by Charlton Chung (the Executive Chef), Vanessa Chung (Manager) and Evelyn Wong (Manager), Inspire just recently celebrated their 3rd anniversary in June. The team has created a warm and inviting space with a unique and tempting Asian-fusion menu. One of the things Paul and I noticed during the Tuesday evening when we were there was that there was a wide range of customer ages and backgrounds – there’s obviously something to appeal to everyone at Inspire. The atmosphere is fun and casual and the staff are very accommodating and friendly.
It was tough deciding on what to order (I wanted to try it all!) and honestly, as a food blogger, I have to tell you – every dish that came out of the kitchen was “Instagram worthy” (I noticed almost every table was snapping photos of their meals) and every dish tasted as good as it looked.
We started our meal with “Extra Butter” Drunken Crustaceans (“Tiger Shrimps + Clams + Bay Scallops + Coconut Ginger Chili + Extra Butter + Amaranth + Sake”). My cousin Evelyn highly recommended this appetizer and wow, it did not disappoint. The seafood was cooked perfectly and the buttery coconut ginger ‘crunch’ added an extra layer of taste to the dish.
I chose to have the Chicken & Waffle (“Crisp Brined Chicken + Homemade Waffle + Edamame Mango + Ginger Maple Butter + Berries”). The chicken was crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. Generally, chicken is not my meat of choice (I’m a beef-eater) but I could eat this chicken every day. The salty chicken paired perfectly with the sweet waffle and maple butter.
Paul ordered the The Dbl Bacon Cheesecake Burger (“Grade Prime Beef + Matcha Cheesecake + Apple wood Smoked Bacon + Pickled Onions + Picked Ginger Aioli”). He opted to add a Fried Egg to the burger and upgraded his fries to Duck Confit Fries. The idea of a cheesecake on a burger sounds really weird, right? But it totally worked here. The flavour of the cheesecake was very subtle, but it added a layer of creaminess to the burger. The meat patty was well seasoned and perfectly cooked.
Also, I couldn’t get enough of the Duck Confit Fries – they were a great upgrade.
I also highly recommend you save room for dessert and order the Krispy Kreme Donut Pudding w/ Ube (“Donut Bread Pudding + Banana Creme + Peanut Crunch + Taro Ice Cream”). Yes – bread pudding made from donuts! It came to the table hot and the thick, rich ice cream had just started to melt. I liked the bread pudding, but to be honest, I could have done with a few more scoops of that ube ice cream topped with banana creme. It was amazing.
Again, since I don’t do restaurant reviews, I’m not putting a ‘rating’ on the restaurant or the meal, but I will tell you that the meal we had was we’re excited to go back and try other items on the menu (like the Udon Carbonara and the Loco Moco). They also have a very popular brunch menu and some fun cocktails. Paul and I both agree that we wished Inspire was closer to where we lived so that we could eat there more regularly. If you’re in the neighbourhood, I highly encourage you to make a reservation (seating is limited) and check them out.
Disclosure: The appetizer and dessert in this meal was complimentary, however, this in no way affected our opinions; all opinions expressed are sincere and are our own.