Saturday, 31 August 2013


164 James Street South, Hamilton
visited Friday August 30, 2013

This is hands down my favourite place in the city for casual fine dining and unbelievable food.  I've been here several times before and have never been disappointed.  It's been awhile and I was pleasantly surprised to see the place newly renovated.  The space has been opened up with big windows in the front and lighter paint colours plus more lighting, which is nice because the food presentation is always beautiful and its was a shame not to be able to fully see it and appreciate it.  You've probably driven by Boo's many times before on James street and maybe never noticed it.... but take my advice its worth noticing!

This restaurant is a wine bar and focuses on east meets west fusion cuisine.  You can read up on the chef "Boo" on the website, but in a nutshell he is Malaysian born and has worked in many staple restaurants in Hamilton, before venturing off to hone his unique culinary approach at his own restaurant now.

Its highly recommended to make reservations here, as its always busy and is a small place to begin with.  We were seated promptly when we arrived and the two servers running around the whole room were sweet and polite.  The place was filled with patrons and had lots of good laughs and conversations beaming throughout it.  The vibe is swanky and refined without being stuffy or uptight.  I especially love the cutlery, glassware and dishware...they just add extra elegance to the place.

Although its a wine bar and I love wine, I really wasn't enticed by any of their selections to be honest.  They carry some beautiful bottles from California, Italy and Argentina but only 2 selections from Niagara in which you have to purchase the whole bottle.  I'm kinda a local wine snob and prefer when restaurants make use of the beautiful wines we have right here in our backyard.  Nonetheless I survived and quite enjoyed my sangria which was fruity and bold.

Complimentary Baked Pita Crisps with Cumin Lentil Topping
Our drinks were served and instead of the boring bread basket they served a decent helping of baked pita crisps with a lentil topping.  The lentils were whole still and spiced with cumin, fennel and perhaps curry.  It was so different and even my husband who doesn't like curry or lentils was gobbling it up.  We fought for the last pita chip, which by themselves were great.  Crispy not greasy and perfect for scooping.

Bombay Crab Cakes $16

I asked for a recommendation on choosing an app and our server who had just started recently called the manager over who could better direct us.  She was fabulous and informative and mentioned she really thought Boo had come into his own with his menu lately and was creating some amazing dishes.  Our app was timed to come out perfectly.  We ordered the Bombay Crab Cakes $16 to share.  The crab cakes were made with pure lump crab, peppers, onions, mustard mayo, curry and a red onion marmalade.  The crab meat was succulent and there were no fillers in these cakes.  The outside had a nice golden crust and the red onion marmalade hiding underneath was such a perfect compliment to all the flavours in the cakes. I could've eaten a jar of just the red onion marmalade!!!  For $16 these may have seemed small and overpriced, but we both agreed that they packed so much flavour and so much crab meat that they were quite filling and just the right portion. 

Spiced Duck Breast $29
For the main course I decided on the Spiced Duck Breast $29, although I had a hard time deciding between that and the rack of lamb.  The presentation on the big white plate was fantastic.  Very chic, sexy and scrumptious looking.  The breast was cooked medium rare atop of braised red cabbage and butter blanched potato slices underneath.  It all sat in a rich mushroom brandy cream sauce with mushrooms and leeks on top of the duck too.  The flavours were bold and I wanted every component on my fork with each bite.  The cooking is top notch here and every part of the plate was done with care and conviction.  And I love that this casual fine dining food is well portioned.  None of those small little plates for astronomical prices that leave you hungry when you're all done.  I was stuffed 3/4 of the way through this plate....but just had to finish it of course!!!!

Chicken Supreme $27
My husband had the Chicken Supreme $27.  It's presentation was super fun with a heap of fried potato strings atop.  The chicken breast was super moist, stuffed with goat cheese, bacon and chives and had a hint of maple syrup flavour served over a sherry corn relish.  The one bite I had was again a punch of flavour and all the components went beautifully together.  James gobbled up his entire plate but was super stuffed too.

We passed on dessert and coffee but next time we'll save room for them for sure.  For $90 we had one special dining experience.  I don't often splurge that much on dinner, but its such refined tasty food that I just couldn't recreate in my own kitchen, that its worth every penny! 

Food 5*, Value 4.0*, Service 5.0*, D├ęcor/Ambiance 5.0*
Overall 4.75*  I love Boo's Bistro so much that if I could afford it I'd be there every weekend.  I guess I'm content saving it for special occasions out but I'd love if you'd all go and share this wonderful restaurant experience with me.  Innovative food like this is hard to find in Hamilton....Boo's has filled the casual fine dining void perfectly.

 Boos bistro wine bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Nice post.. food and bar looking great.. I like to make a reservation here.
    Wine Bar

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