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1737 Richmond St., Unit 1, London, ON
1 reviews
Claim this business Last updated: Over a year ago
About Crave

An upper-class, but suprisingly casual, fine dining experience. Go to full description...

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Crave, London Reviews (1)

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By Graham on Nov 20, 2007

Fine dining in London is generally found in the downtown area, south of Oxford and before Dundas, along the Richmond strip. This is the destination for the majority of patrons seeking a fine dining experience. It is important, however, to acknowledge a few little gems which lay outside of this dining sector – notably so a fairly new addition to the city – Crave. Remember that ancient Country Style Donuts right across from the Masonville blockbuster? Well that building is now London’s newest place to drop some cash and feel important. The general ambience of Crave’s location is a little discouraging – the horizon is littered with the venues of a burnt-out bourgeois explosion formally known as north London’s Masonville area. For those seeking solace from Jack Astor’s soccer-parties and Swiss Chalet’s…well just Swiss Chalet in general, you can find it within the doors of Crave.


Our evening started out actually in Crave’s next door neighbor ¬– Next Door. Next Door and Crave operate under the same owners, and are physically connected, yet project two fairly distinct styles. Next Door is considerably less formal, appealing more to a family atmosphere. Feel free to come here and let your children do their child-like things, as there won’t be many elitists near bye burning a whole through your children’s youth with sharp cynicism. The building itself is very modern, with an oversized salt-water fish tank and modernly-walls with modernly-water bubbles lining the entrance, all of which projects a sense of value that the peanut-shell-littered floor of Jack Astor’s could never provide. We took a seat at the bar and ordered a couple pints of Guinness (which surprisingly were properly served). Our friend in the kitchen, Brett Watterton, informed the manager that we were planning to do a review of both restaurants. So, sent out to us was the head chef of both restaurants Josh Gerosavas. Josh greeted us with a great deal of warmth and character – some essential qualities I look for in someone who is preparing my food (those qualities paralleling the disposition of my mother, the greatest cook in the world). Josh informed us that he was a Certified Chef to Cuisine, or CCC, (part of the Canadian Culinary Association). To give you an idea of what this means; there are only 900 CCCs in all of Canada. Josh also informed us that he was a Jedi. To give you an idea of what this means, watch Star Wars Episode IV and V. Don’t be concerned that Josh’s mind will be preoccupied with the Millennium Falcon’s ability to do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs – as his focus is quite the opposite. It appears as though Josh has been able to fuse his passion for cooking with his passion of Star Wars. Most recently his brother purchased him a Luke Sykwalker edition light saber. There’s a rumor in the kitchen that Josh’s heightened dexterity with a knife spawned out of his years of light-saber dueling training. Rumors have also circulated within the Jedi counsel that his midicholrian count is way above Anikan’s. Anyways, we had a nice little chat with Josh about both restaurants. He told us that Next Door was great for a family experience – comfort food and relaxed environments. Still, there are few fine dishes one can order, such as the Cedar Salmon. Josh said the biggest advantage of having both kitchens is that they are both capable of handing overflow from the other kitchen. As a result, you never have to wait long to be served at either place. Under his strong suggestion to try some dishes that Next Door didn’t offer, we moved over to Crave to eat.
Upon entering Crave I gathered from environmental cues that I should be using my inside voice. Being surrounding by imported suit jackets and three-quarter buttoned up cotton dress shirts; I felt a definite escalation in sophistication. Of the 30 sets or keys present in the pockets of customers – 21 included a set to a minimal 25-foot Yacht. This, however, presented itself as very unthreatening. Comfort is found in a very casual approach of the entire staff – a theme that seems to have spilled over from Next Door.
The interior is very easy on the eyes, as it was designed by the aesthetic acuity of Glen Peloso, who some may recognize from the popular reality series “The Decorating Challenge”. A nice touch to the contemporary literacy is found in the 20-foot artificial tree situated in the middle of the main-dining area. The tree was apparently sculpted by a set-designer who’s worked on the X-Men movies (the absence of a name rendered the truth of such claims as a little ambiguous). Regardless, it’s a cool lookin’ tree.


At Josh’s recommendation, for our appetizer we chose the smoked duck carpaccio. I would have been fine eating two of these as the entrée. The duck was smoked to perfection. Euphoria was found it what accompanied the duck ¬– argula, toasted pistachios, red onions layered on top of perfectly ripened mango oranges all dressed in an orange-ginger sauce. I kept the mango to last, and made a little sandwiches out of the duck and red onions. At the time it seemed that Crave had peaked with their appetizer, and nothing could follow…that was until the pork came.
For the entrée I got the grilled pork loin chop with cranberry stuffing, and my friend Matt the Malibu chicken. The chicken was cooked with a Malibu rum batter (for those who might have developed a taste aversion to Rum during college, this dish may be a poor choice). They used a coconut crusted boneless chicken breast spread with a rum mango pina colada sauced. This was served with a basmati rice, sautéed asparagus, red pepper, red onion and baby corn tapped with plantain chips. We both found this dish to be relatively bland. The potentially promising addition of onion and asparagus seemed to be masked by the overpowering taste of rum. I found that this same end is paralelled when waking from a night of Rum consumption and throwing some chicken nuggets in the toaster oven. The pork, however, made up for everything. Despite being relatively full from the duck and chicken, the amount of salivating the pork’s presentation induced upon me made me feel like one of Pavlov’s Dogs, and I didn’t even hear a bell! It was served with sweet-potato mashed, pearl onions, apple and brussel sprout compote, crispy sage leaves and maple bourbon sauce. All of this complemented the pork perfectly – especially the brussel spouts (which I loved so much I was eating whole like candy), but they by no means stole away from the main show. The pork reached proportions of textural satisfaction that, up until then, I thought only existed in silk underwear. Each new bite was a promising adventure for my mouth. The pork was juicy and flavorful – yet still held a comforting presence that a well-controlled barbeque was being used. All in all, this was hands down one of the best plates I’ve ever been served.
In our cheerful and positive reminiscing of the meal past, a couple sitting across from us overheard and decided to add in on our discourse. Patrick and his wife said that Crave was currently their favorite place to dine, and couldn’t even count how many times they had eaten here since it opened a year ago. This we found even more convincing when they told us they had to drive nearly an hour and a half from a town outside of Port Huron! His wife was picking away at a curious little appetizer called the tiki island shrimp martin, which is made with wonton crusted shrimp, mixed greens, diced pineapple served with sweet chili mango sauce. They said that their favorite plate was chateau rib medallion and lobster tails (for obvious reasons).
All in all, Crave is a fantastic place to dine. We’ve heard that similar integrity is reflected in their breakfast and lunch – but you best bet is obviously the dinner menu. The only deterrent of the restaurant may be the steep bill one is inevitability faced with at the end of the night, but it’s safe to say this is consistent with any solid meal eaten in Southwestern Ontario. If your reluctant to travel to the cultural-blackhole known as north London…your missing out. Take Patrick and his wife as an example as to why location is redundant in the face of a great meal.
Comment by happydays on Nov 19, 2007
Star Wars and pork! A really refreshing approach to an age old journalistic tradition..the restaurant review. You know what I mean " my friend enjoyed the pears au jus " yadda -yadda -- yadda. It told us about the place , the people and oh yeah... the food.

Great Job.
Comment by Tyler on Nov 19, 2007
If the place is as fantastic as you say, rate it that way!
Comment by veronica on Nov 19, 2007
Funny analogy with the pork dish and silk underwear. Would be interested in hearing more about that theory. And who needs a drink when there's the chicken laced with rum and mango pina colada - that would suit me just fine, if it doesn't knock me out first, hahaha... Thanks for the entertaining review. The food sounds delicious and intriguing. May have to do some taste test myself.

Comment by paddle on Nov 19, 2007
GREAT review..hope the restaurant is as good as you say. So smoked duck and pork mmmm..sounds good and we will look for Patrick and wife.
Comment by geejay1 on Nov 19, 2007
awesome, awesome review! I loved the way you involved yourself in it to make a sort of narrative, instead of just a boring description of dead carcass on a plate. very Gonzo.
bravo Beez...may the force be with you.
Comment by KAT on Nov 20, 2007
wow, burning holes through the youth of other people's children with my sharp cynicism is one of my favourite pastimes (I am not kidding!). Also, excellent review, other n49ers take note!
Comment by jimbojones on Nov 20, 2007
excellent review beez well articulated- and good composure. A+. i am going to the crave for dinner tonight. thanks for the insight.
Comment by ryan on Nov 20, 2007
Great review. I grew up in London and didn't even know this place existed. Awesome photos too.
Comment by beez on Nov 20, 2007
Thanks everyone! I hope the review was helpful. To answer a few questions:

Ryan, you probably never heard of the place because it's only a year old!!

Veronica, the silk underwear theory involved years and years of multiple research projects...then on-top of that, tons of meta-analysis. Sorry, not enough time to summarize in a post...
Comment by jennifer on Nov 20, 2007
Great review! fantastic photos..I think I may have to take a trip to London.
Comment by phlegmatic on Nov 20, 2007
Sounds great I'll have to encourage my parents to take me there next time I'm in town. We squeeze in just under the 25 foot yacht measurement with 23.5 feet. shoot. inferiority complex setting in. Maybe it's not our scene.
Comment by beez on Nov 23, 2007
Sorry about the video to everyone that is loud-sensitive...

I just have an obsessive relationship with hip-hop, and had to fit it in there somewhere...
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