After a good experience my last time going to the Exchange on Hollis for lunch, I thought I would check it out for dinner during my last visit to Halifax. Unfortunately it appears that the quality of the food has dropped significantly since my last visit before Christmas. Upon entering, the hosts seemed to be scattered and confused. There were quite a few people waiting to be seated, all of which had reservations. I ended up waiting for close to 10 minutes, I thought that maybe my table wasn’t ready, but when I finally brought to my table, one of my guests was already there.
The restaurant design is very cool, I like the vibe of what they were trying to do. There are separate rooms off to one side, I assume you can book those for private events or parties. Since it was dinner time, it was fairly dark, I have a feeling some people would have trouble reading the menus in what little light was there (it also made taking photos of the food very difficult!). There is a very large bar, and also a raw bar where you can sit and watch the chefs prepare the raw portions of the menu. On both sides of our table there were bright purple spot lights coming up from the floor. They were covered with coasters, and we quickly found out why. The light was absolutely blinding, and became very annoying as the coasters would move with the slightest movements at our table.
As an appetizer, we ordered the Donair Pockets. Appearance wise, they certainly weren’t much to look at. They looked thrown together without any care. Flavourwise, they tasted pretty good. The donair meat wasn’t as spicy as I was expecting, but it still worked. The dipping sauces were a good addition, they made the pockets taste a bit more complex. Was a good little snack to get the meal started.
My main course was the Chicken Pesto Bucatini. For $27, I had high expectations for this dish, unfortunately they were not met. The chicken was so beyond over cooked that it was actually hard to cut (let alone chew), so I pushed that to the side. The sauce was extremely heavy, they used way too much cream. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed with my pasta and I didn’t eat very much of it.
One of my guests ordered the Steak and Frites, medium rare. It arrived a very toasty well done. She did send it back as it was not even close to what she ordered. A very long 20 ish minutes later her steak finally came out. She was happy with the taste and cook and ate almost the whole thing. I do feel like for such a big mistake and then to have to wait another 20 minutes to get the correct order, they should have taken the steak off our bill.
While it is a uniquely styled restaurant, I will not be going back for food. Maybe for a drink, but that would be all. It is not a cheap place to go for dinner, so be aware of that. I noticed this the last time I went as well, but at least for lunch they do offer sandwiches and other hand held items that are priced better. I’m all about paying for quality food, but from my experience, these menu items can’t carry the high prices attached to them. For rating I feel obligated to give a 2/5 stars.
Until next time,