AIOLI has been on our to-write-about list for months so we were pumped to visit again and dining with the Table Talk gaggle is always loads of fun that morphs into an endless lime. (Click here for all our Aioli pictures.)
Stylish to the core, Aioli’s a fine place to lime. The restaurant decor works a modern elegance theme with a little edginess thrown in for good measure. (Check the lamp-cum-book display on the second floor, if you don’t believe us.)
But ultimately Aioli is all about the food of Chef John Aboud, a self-described “from scratch kind of guy, from start to finish.” This is a chef in full command of his menu, passionately explaining every dish from preparation to the specific ingredients.
Let’s start this foodie recap with the dish that wowed everyone at the table, the Pasta di Funghi – Pappardelle Pasta tossed with Exotic Mushrooms, Cream, Parmagiano Reggiano and Truffle Oil.
The pasta and mushrooms come together beautifully here. Rich, ultra-creamy and packed with mushrooms, the Pasta di Funghi is sure to become a favourite at Aioli. The key to this dish’s success lies with the woodsy mushroom blend which includes Oyster, Enoki, Shitake and Porcini mushrooms (rarely seen on restaurant menus in Trinidad).
Sandwich lovers will be equally pleased with Aioli’s three sandwiches – the Aioli Club, a Reuben and a Louisiana Po’ Boy. We’re just thankful that they were served family-style because the club was a heavy hitter, stuffed with in-season avocado, sliced turkey and chicken, bacon (lovingly dehydrated in house) and the other requisite club sandwich ingredients.
The Po’ Boy and the Reuben were total nirvana, adhering to the science (or art depending on your perspective) of sandwich making. Both sandwiches met two essential criteria: construction from good bread and fillings capable of standing on their own. Oh, and a great sandwich should be able to be dispatched with by one hand (depending on the size your hands, the Po’ Boy may have to slimmed down to meet our one-hand-dispatch wish).
Nevertheless, our absolute favourite was the Po’ Boy, all juicy with freshly-fried oysters and dressed with Cajun aioli, caper remoulade, very tender butter lettuce, tomato and pickles. Aioli’s Reuben (made with Rye bread and layered with corn beef pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and a touch of Thousand Island dressing) also made the rounds and was quickly consumed by our tablemates.
If you order a sandwich, pair it with the Truffle Fries or Tuscan Fries (extra crisp French fries tossed in garlic chevril butter & shaved Parmagiano Reggiano). We pounced on these downright craveable fries from the minute they hit the table.
Johnny and his team ended our epic lunch with desserts and oh gosh were we pleased. Trust us, it doesn’t matter what you choose, desserts are a must at Aioli. (All the desserts are housemade.) Your biggest challenge, should you accept it, is choosing between dessert standouts like a Basil Panna Cotta, Nutella Creme Brulee and the awesome lil’ Napoleon.
Our personal dessert favourite is the Basil Panna Cotta. Yes, we said basil. With the addition of basil, this dessert is lifted from classic Italian dessert to a refreshingly fragrant space.
Meanwhile, the Nutella Creme Brulee elicited oohs and aahs from all the Table Talk Food Awards judges. You just can’t go wrong with Nutella; it makes everything better. Other notable desserts included the Tiramisu and the Napoleon.
Cuisine - International
Hours - Lunch 11:30am-3:30pm and Dinner 6:30pm-11pm, Monday-Saturday.
Features/Good to Know- Full service; Full bar; Outdoor covered seating on a patio; Reservations are accepted.
Address/Phone - Ellerslie Plaza (Maraval, Trinidad); (868) 222-3291.