View from the inside of the Pickle Barrel Markville.
We were doing our Boxing Day shopping at Markville Mall and on our way out, the advertisement for a 3 course dinner for $14.99 - $17.99 at the Pickle Barrel caught my eye.
The Caesar Salad side was good - they used our favourite Caesar Salad dressing (Renee's - which is kind of thick, super creamy and heavy).
My brother and I got the Tex Mex Soup (the daily soup) with chicken pieces, black beans, corn, celery and carrots. The soup was very watery and spicy - I couldn't really finish the soup since I couldn't take the heat. The Pickle Barrel at Yorkdale Mall has much better soup (especially the cream of broccoli and beef barley soup which are amazing! If it's the daily soup, you can get a huge jar of soup for $4.95 at the Yorkdale location and it's a great deal!)
The paella used really dry rice (almost borderline crispy) and instead of using tomato sauce, the paella seemed like it was made with ketchup instead. The shrimp in the paella were also bland and didn't quite soak in the flavour from the rest of the paella. It was very disappointing.
The salmon course was great! The glaze was a perfect complement to the salmon and the dish was nicely done. There was a good balance of vegetables: cauliflower, red potatoes, green & yellow beans, carrots and broccoli. I wasn't sure if the green onions were a garnish or if I was supposed to eat them (LOL). The only downside was that some of the yellow and green beans were cold when it got to me.
The top sirloin was a disaster - we ordered it medium rare and it looked terrible (the outside looked like it was charred, but the inside was almost rare). The sprig of rosemary was awkwardly placed - it looked like it was drilled into the end of the steak --> strangest presentation I've ever seen. And I have no idea about the grilled vegetables, they kinda looked like they were grilled hours ago and then just microwaved or something: terrible. The sweet potato fries were good at least, because you can never really go wrong with those.
The last chance for redeeming this meal: Dessert! The waitress offered us a little tray of 6 tiny martini glass desserts to choose from and we selected (from the top left) the Candy Cane cake, apple crumble cheesecake and brownie delight.
The Candy Cane dessert was super sweet and nearly gave me a toothache (and coming from a dessert & chocoholic that's a terrible sign when it's even too sweet for me), the cake portion was nice though and I managed to finish that (but not all the icing). The brownie delight was great! Lots of chocolate and evenly balanced (as in not too sweet). The apple crumble was great at first bite, but as we kept eating, it just got worse.
Conclusion: What a disaster! Not worth it to come eat at the Pickle Barrel Markville, not only did the service take forever (we sat there and ate for 2 hours meaning we lost valuable Boxing Day shopping time), but the food was bad (with a few exceptions). There's a reason this place is empty (even on the busiest retail day of the year) and unless they totally remake this place - I definitely won't be going back even with the cheap promotion.