Nellie James Too
164 James Street South, Hamilton, ON
Visited by: Heather
At Nellie James Too, the exact food I ate doesn’t matter – because the menu is ever-changing. Chef Ken is the master of culinary innovation, based on what’s available to him seasonally and locally.
Though the menu I sampled won’t be around (the menu changes each day), it will give you an idea of what to expect with Nellie James Too and superstar (in my eyes) chef Ken LeFebour.
I didn’t hear the story behind the name (or that of their original location – Nellie James Good Food To Go), but that doesn’t matter, because their logo hits it out of the park. It’s trendy and strong and has a tatto-esque feel to it. Thumbs up!
Food & Reviews
At the luxurious event Nellie James Too invited us out to, the menu was as follows:
- Roasted Foraged Mushrooms with Candied Garlic and Sheep Cheese, Red Wine Reduction
I was lucky enough to sit beside Pasha, who foraged the mushrooms from this dish herself. Seeing her passion for the food she supplied was probably my favourite part of this dish – even though the dish itself was enough to rave about. Most of the flavours in this dish were strong, but they all paired perfectly together.
- East Coast Smoked Haddock, Thai Coconut Broth, Charred Poblano Peppers, Cilantro Emulsion, Smoked Cheddar Touli
Since Nellie James Too had JUST opened when we visited, they didn’t actually have spoons for this dish. We ended up enjoying most of it using the carrot provided, and then slurping the rest. It added a casual element to the dish, which ended up actually kind of working out in a fun way! It was spicy balanced with a sweet coconut. I would order a huge bowl of this if I could.
- Balsamic and Thyme Marinated Flank, Roasted Black Radish and Cheddar Cauliflower Pilaf
Hearing the excitement in Chef Ken’s voice as he told us the story about discovering a local Wagyu beef supplier was inspiring. It’s rare you actually get to hear that sort of passion in someone – and when it’s someone passionate about food, even better in my opinion!
I enjoyed everything about this dish. I generally like my beef more well done (ruining it, I know), but this beef was so high quality…how could I not enjoy it. Plus the addition of Black Radish, which I had never tried before, added an innovative flavour balance.
- Surprise Dessert
Chef Ken isn’t a fan of planning his desserts ahead of time. He likes to see what he has in terms of ingredients and create something wonderful from it.
We were spoiled with a freshly made cake – similar to carrot cake – and baked pears. I’m usually not a huge dessert fan….but YES, YES, YES!
Again, the menu is constantly evolving and changing, so while you won’t get these exact dishes, I guarantee your meal will be something to talk about!
Nellie James Too is in the old Boo’s Bistro location, which means it’s somewhat a basement..or a lower level. The owners at NJT have warmed the place up with greenery, candles and dark rustic wood. You feel more like you’re in a restaurant in a fairytale forest, rather than in the heart of downtown.
Let me start off by saying that this was one of my very favourite culinary events that I’ve gone to. Nellie James Too invited local influencers, along with their farmers/producers/suppliers. We all sat at a communal table and were able to meet and discuss food. Everything from food on social media, to sustainable farming and eating locally.
This is a brand done right.
Since Nellie James Too is all about sourcing in season ingredients, an event like this was the cherry on top for driving their message home.
Nellie James Too does well on all social media fronts. My only thought would be: if the menu is changing each day, post it! I’d love to know what I’m in for that day.
Overall, thumbs up!
I have no suggestions on how they present overall as a restaurant. NJT is destined for greatness.
I would love to see supplier/producer dinners that the public could take part in. It was such an awesome experience that really puts Nellie James into a special place in my heart.
(This visit was comped by Nellie James Too. Opinions are my own.)