I’ve been wanting to share my words about this place since it’s discovery in Spring 2015, but decided that I’m going to leave it be and see if it can stand the test of time. And, guess what? It has!
I give you…. THE BEST MEAL I’VE HAD IN 2015.
This is a backlog is from our Kitchener visit in Spring 2015, the weather was just becoming warmer, but unfortunately (or so very fortunately) for our weekend visit, there was an unexpected heavy downpour of rain throughout. We were restricted from going on with our original plans to visit the muddy two-day Ever After Festival, with this we forced ourselves to sprawl out and figure out whatever else there is to do in this town, it stretched out to Waterloo and Guelph. Little did we know, it’d become one of our most memorable weekends.
Now, this place is beyond being off of the beaten path, as it’s not even in Toronto, it’s all the way out in Waterloo. The place I consider to be the best meal I’ve had in2015 is called Bhima’s Warung. The brain child of Chef Paul Boehmer (no relations to the Boehmer in Toronto), Bhima’s Warung serves intricately reflected South Asian cuisine after becoming inspired after multiple trips exploring the food in the Asian region. Alice and I were fortunate enough to try this restaurant in early June during a time when Bhima’s Warung served a regional-inspired pre fixe menu.
Let me give you a bit of background first…
Alice and I were in Kitchener for the weekend for the Ever After Music Festival which didn’t really work out since it was raining all weekend and chilly as a January breeze. We did manage to enjoy ourselves in our AirBnB apartment showering ourselves in our T&T snack haul (of yakult, seaweed, clementines and instant noodles), we also dropped by an LCBO to pick up two bottles of Frost Quake and hit up the local mall for a couple of corn-ball matching hoodies. On our last evening before we returned home, it was a Sunday night at 6:30pm when we went to search of our dinner.
Little did we know that EVERYTHING closes at 6:00pm in Kitchener on Sundays, we drove around from spot to spot looking for anything that was open, all while doing Google searches of opening hours for each – we were in disbelief! We also returned to Lancaster Smokehouse where we had lunch at the day prior as a last resort, but that was closed too. It was after 15 minutes of driving around that an idea sprung, Waterloo must have an ample amount of restaurants open after 6pm since, you know, college town and all, the kids must want somewhere to wander to! During our drive over, Alice was checking out a couple of Yelp reviews in the Waterloo area and I rejected them all as I believe Yelp is the work of the food devil himself. Instead… we did a scroll and I randomly chose a restaurant instead. We drove by the restaurant a few times as it looked like a closed off den. Parked, we were alured to the shining, capitalized neon lights “BHIMA’S WARUNG”, screaming the dive of the dives – but we were hungry, cold and were thankful to be in the warmth as we were the last ones seated for the night.
Finally, to the restaurant…
We were seated at the lower front of the restaurant and there was an option of the “Parts Mostly Known” pre fixe menu. The name alone excited us, and knowing that each fortnight is exclusive to a different cuisine of Southeast Asia was a wonderful journey to explore. The fortnightly rotational menu showcases various South Asian regions for each week. For this particular week, they were featuring Northern Thai and Laos cuisines. Although believing that the prefix was on the expensive side at $59 per person for a 4-course (correct us on this pricing if we’re wrong – it’s been a tender year!), we immediately went with the choice. But, the price turned out to be extremely worthwhile when you considered what we had – this “4 course meal” come out with 17 total dishes, and with by the skill and thought in each dish, each dish should be considered a course in its own right!
From soups to apps to mains to sides, each dish held its own and stood shoulder to shoulder with the next. The meal kept getting better throughout our sitting with no signs of slowing down! The ingredients were by no means expensive or fancy in any way but the execution of each dish were precise and the flavors were bold.
Bhima Warung is only open during dinner hours and you can clearly understand why, as with 17 different unique dishes, they complement each other perfectly.
I can’t do a walkthrough of ever dish, but I can make highlights: I especially loved the fish soup with its milky texture and rich chunks of fish, the bamboo stew that had a huge piece of bamboo (one of my favourite vegetables) and cooked to perfection, and the curries which went with the rice like it was white on… well… rice. The frog leg too and the apps and the OMG, each dish simply topped the last. The meal was phenomenal. The service was swift, courteous and highly knowledgeable.
Enough, from me, now lets allow the pictures do the talking:
Bhima’s Warung was the perfect evening and culinary discovery, we left the meal feeling just right. We are making plans to go back for round 2 and round 3, particularly for their Parts Mostly Known menu.
I wish we had leftovers as we discovered that they wrap all take-aways in a swan foil.
Our moral of this story is: Don’t just read reviews, walk into a restaurant that you may have never heard of and just see what you will find. You’ll hit the good and the bad, but as my food philosophy goes: “If it’s a good meal, Jackpot. If it’s a bad meal, you’re still full”.
Story written by Arthur So.