Bringing the downtown food experience to campus at The Perch

For those who were expecting that The Perch would be the same old SUB food, pull up your socks and get ready to be surprised.

The Perch, set to open in May, is the AMS' attempt to bring the downtown foodie experience to campus, and it may just exceed expectations. On January 27, the AMS hosted a preview lunch so students could get a taste of what The Perch will offer once it's open.

With plates priced between $5 and $20, The Perch will be offering students a separate experience from what they're used to finding in the SUB. Though there wasn't a whole menu to review, AMS executive chef Ryan Bissell noted that the food will be a change from what is usually found on campus -- offering dishes with more complexity and depth -- though he confirmed that The Perch will still have a burger option, a student comfort food favourite.

One of the Perch's goals is to be a highly sustainable food outlet on campus, sourcing local and fresh ingredients -- in fact herbs are cut fresh per order, adding an unexpected complexity and crispness to the dish.

The preview dish was $7 and chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson served richly flavoured tamarind glazed pork cheeks with spongey chickpea fritters.

The pork cheek was cooked to be melt-in-you-mouth tender and had the perfect amount of flavour from the glaze, a far cry from the expected SUB basement-esque serving. The fritter was dry, but still spongey -- a healthy alternative to the fried foods so often sought. The combination had a subtle middle eastern spice blend that created a coherence between the two seemingly juxtaposed elements. The plate was completed with freshly cut coriander and pea shoots, adding a vibrance to the otherwise aesthetically bland dish.

If the preview dish can be any indication of what students can expect, then The Perch is set to provide students with a little bit of decadence and a lot of comfort.