It’s been nearly a year and a half since I first ventured into OCCO Kitchen on Innes Road and tried their amazing fish tacos and Nicoise Salad with Ahi Tuna.
I’ve been back several times since, mostly for their awesome burgers and tacos, and have never been disappointed. So when I learned that owner and head chef Mark Steele had come up with some new items on the rather eclectic menu, it presented the perfect opportunity to return once again and share my impressions of some of the latest additions.
|Mark Steele is the owner and head chef of OCCO Kitchen on Innes Road. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
The Nicoise Salad is no longer on the menu, but it’s been replaced by Crispy Pork Belly Skillet Nachos Portobello Mushroom Tempura Taco, Chicken Chipotle Taquitos, the Jalapeno Bomb Burger, the Black Bean and Artichoke Falafel, the Mushroom Stuffed Gnocchi, the Seared Sea Scallops and Candied Bacon Linguini, and the Green Thai Curry Noodle Bowl.
Since I was in the mood for pasta I went for the Seared Sea Scallops and Candied Bacon Linguini along with the Mushroom Stuffed Gnocchi.
When my waitress recommended the Portobello Mushroom Taco, I figured why not, I can always skip desert.
Having been born and raised in the Maritimes, I love my seafood. Combine it with pasta and it’s the best of both worlds. Throw in an ample amount of candied bacon and capers and top it off with freshly grated parmesan and you have a plate full of awesomeness.
Everything about it was satisfyingly delicious – from the portion size right down to the thinly sliced garlic bread that accompanied the dish. I only ate half of it, of course, to make room for the Mushroom Gnocchi, which was another winner thanks to the perfectly cooked pasta and the heavenly charred pimento and black garlic cream sauce. Like the Seared Scallop Linguini, it was also well portioned.
The Portobello Edameme Slaw was a nice touch as well.
Both dishes could easily satisfy even the hardiest appetite, but if you don’t have a Paul Bunyon-esque appetite, count on going home with a midnight snack, or your next day’s lunch.
As good as the two entrées were, the star of my meal was the Portobello Mushroom Tempura Taco. I know it sounds a little weird, but oh my good gracious it was absolutely amazing. The sesame slaw and Asian mayo gave it some Southeast Asian zing, but the addition of a couple of Jalapeno slices, pickled red onion and sweet peppers took it to another level. Each bite exploded with flavour and the tempura coating added to the experience by providing a real contrast in textures.
Kudos to Steele for keeping the menu hip, cool and on the cutting edge of culinary expressionism.
If you haven’t been to OCCO Kitchen yet, what the heck are you waiting for? And if you haven’t tried any of the new menu items yet do your taste buds a favour and give them a whirl. You’ll be glad you did.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of
our local business partners.)