When you walk into Dice & Fork, the newest restaurant to take up residence in Victoria Park Markets, the first thing to catch your eye is the shelves stacked high with board-games.
We went on a quiet Wednesday evening and were greeted instantly by the owners who invited us to grab a table and peruse the games. The restaurant feels vast, featuring high wooden ceilings with exposed vents giving off an industrial feel, brick walls and a fireplace tucked away in the corner. The mix of raw interior and personal touches gives it a funky yet homely, cabin-esque vibe.
Before checking out the menu, the first thing to do is choose a game to play while waiting for your food to arrive. There were plenty of options available (over 140) and a suggestion box for board-game geeks to fill any gaps in the expanding collection. We chose Love Letter and Bananagrams to occupy us throughout the evening.
Once seated, we looked over the simple menu offerings before we began our games. To start, we ordered shoestring fries ($6) and fried chicken bites ($10). The fried chicken bites were crispy and moist, served with moreish combo of jalapeno and chipotle mayo, leaving a lingering zing of spice to satiate my cravings. If you can't handle the heat, just let the wait staff know and they can limit or omit the generous dusting of fiery powder.
After slowly eating our snacky starters while caught in the competition, we ordered two tacos ($14) to try between us. I couldn't get enough of that fried chicken, ordering a crispy chicken taco alongside the smoky beef option. Food snobs seeking authentic Mexican cuisine won't find it here. The tacos are more of a Kiwi-inspired fusion-style, with a soft tortilla outer and heartily packed with a deliciously interesting combination of fillings including pineapple pico de gallo and chipotle mayo paired with smoky beef. The menu also features easy eats such as pulled pork or portobello baps, poutine and braised pork belly. There are currently no desserts, which are likely to appear later in the coming months.
Overall, everything is simple to share over a round of board-games and the atmosphere makes it a place you can chill out for a few hours with some mates. We think it will become hot spot for geeks young and old to let loose and face off against friends with our board-game favourites.