Student-run restaurant with lunch and dinner seatings offers a four-star experience

By: Georgia Sigurdson

The number of restaurant options for students in the Exchange District can be overwhelming, and if you’re on a short lunch break, your choices seem to be even more limited. This week, second-year Creative Communications student Eric Ducharme and I ventured down to Jane’s to experience their upscale dining experience.

Jane’s is located at 504 Main Street, just a short three-minute walk from the Exchange District Campus. We managed to secure a lunch reservation using their online booking system only a few days before. They are open for lunch and dinner, but there was only the option to reserve for lunch service.

We were the first ones in the restaurant when they opened the doors at 11:15 a.m. As we entered, I immediately noticed the beautiful ceilings in the restaurant. The open-concept design of the dining area and kitchen allows you to see everything going on behind the scenes. Jane’s serves as a place for RRC Polytech’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts students to gain industry experience, with student chefs preparing the food and hospitality students running the front-of-house.

Complimentary bread and butter arrived at the table almost as soon as we sat down. The breads were warm and fresh. Our favourite was the focaccia bread, smothered in herb butter. The herb butter was so flavourful and melted as soon as it hit the warm bread. 

Bread basket, starring focaccia, with butter assortment. (Georgia Sigurdson)

Their lunch menu isn’t too extensive, which made my decision for the main course easy. I ordered the fried pickerel with a sauté of mussels, leeks, capers, celery, and shallots. It was served with crispy potatoes and a buttery sauce. The meal was plated beautifully and tasted delicious. The portion size was perfect for lunch and didn’t leave me feeling too full or with leftovers to carry back to class. The fish tasted fresh, and the mussels served were a nice size.

Fried pickerel with sautéed mussels. (Georgia Sigurdson)

Eric ordered the chicken special, as suggested by our server. It came with a stuffed chicken breast that was cooked perfectly, mashed potatoes, and cooked carrots and asparagus. It was plated beautifully, with a light cream sauce drizzled underneath. The portion size was perfect for lunch, and it didn’t leave him feeling too full afterwards.

Stuffed chicken breast with potatoes, carrots and asparagus. (Georgia Sigurdson)

Of course, we had to try a dessert. Eric and I decided on the caramelized apple cake, served with rosemary apricot jam and cardamom ice cream. The cardamom ice cream was the highlight of the dessert. It was creamy and soft without being overly sweet. The dessert was too tart for my liking. Next time, I would try the chocolate mousse cake.

Caramelized apple cake, served with cardamom ice cream

Our meals and dessert cost under $50, a great deal considering the quality of food and high-end service we received. We spent 1.5 hours in the restaurant from beginning to end, which might be a tad long if you’re in a hurry. I would recommend Jane’s to anyone looking for an upscale dining experience on a budget in the Exchange District area. ★★★★☆