Review/photos by Michael Lowe
My first taste of Karma Kameleon’s food was at Cuvee 2018 and I just knew I had to have more. We explored the quaint gastropub recently — and we loved it!
Karma Kameleon, located on Front Street in Thorold, is owned by local chefs William Brunyansky and Shannon Lindsay. Brunyansky has an impressive culinary career, having perfected his craft at many top restaurants, including Michelin starred establishments in the UK and CAA Diamond Award restaurants in Niagara.
As the name implies, Karma Kameleon’s menu changes to reflect the seasons, while retaining some of their most popular favourites. The concise wine list features exclusively local offerings, and beer selections include some very good Ontario craft brews.
Starter and sandwich prices range from $8 to $17, with mains in the low $20’s to sub-$30. For the steaks, there are a host of optional accompaniments to enhance the experience. Vegetarian and vegan diners will be happy to know that there are plenty of selections to satisfy the non-meat eater as well.
We opted for a duck confit flatbread (above photo) to start. With its thin, crisp crust topped with moist, shredded duck, gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onion and pomegranate, it is a fantastic way to go. Seasoning, balanced acidity and the combination of texture and flavours were right on the mark. I was also impressed with the service staff’s knowledge of the menu. They were able to describe the dishes and explain in detail, and also why, the ones they chose were their favourites. The biggest challenge at Karma is selecting one dish — they all are described in vivid detail leaving you wanting one of each. I think there will be many trips back in search of a favourite plate.
Always a sucker for duck, I order the sous vide duck breast with confit duck leg. It’s paired with Peruvian purple potato gnocchi, sugar snap peas, pickled mushroom, gorgonzola cheese and drizzled with a syrupy duck jus. This dish is so richly satisfying, you might just swear off chicken as your favourite poultry option. This is high-end grub in a relaxed, unpretentious space — just, plain, good!
Watching my wife’s plate closely, I am taken with the look of the house corned beef Reuben sandwich. Oozing with molten cheese, housed between thick slices of toasted marble rye bread, the sandwich is a thing of beauty. Add a harvest salad in place of the slaw and you have a meal that will please the most fastidious foodie. After two bites — in the name of research — I vow to return and order the sandwich for myself.
We end our dinner by sharing the salted caramel mousse (above photo). It’s light and airy — but rich at the same time — contrasted with crunchy chocolate chip cookie crumbled in the bottom of the glass. The chocolate, strawberry and whipped cream bring the whole thing together in a swirl of creamy, salty and not-too-sweet goodness.
I don’t know what else to say about Karma Kameleon except that I urge you to drop in and give it a go. Expect to be surprised, have your palate awakened and, perhaps, put the restaurant on your favourite list. Reservations are recommended but not required.
1 Front Street North