Monday, December 28, 2015

Bar Begonia

If you're wondering what that huge lite-brite smiley face floating above Dupont and Spadina is all about, well, it means Bar Begonia is now open.
This is Chef Anthony Rose's latest and it joins his other spots on Dupont including Rose & Sons, Big Crow, Fat Pasha and Schmaltz Appetizing (plus Rose & Sons Swan on Queen Street West).  Begonia, open 7 days a week, is housed in an odd shaped white building that's been vacant since 2005.  Chef Rose has painted the outside dark grey and done wonders to the interior giving it major Parisian/Brooklyn vibes.  Those vibes are also reflected in the drink menu with classic cocktails, others that are inventive and fun, Manhattans and Negronis are on tap and there's a well curated wine selection.  As for the food menu, it's made up of 8 different sections including - petites bouches, raw (oysters, steak and trout), tartines, foie gras, cured + confited, le fromage,  'after 5pm' and sucree.  All of the dishes are meant to be shared.
Come Spring Bar Begonia's back parking lot will transform into a grassy oasis.  Until then though, cozy up inside, and be sure to smile.        

(Blinker - Canadian rye whisky, grapefruit and raspberry) 
(The Sun also Rises - gin, grenadine, clementine, pastis and sparkling wine) 
(Gougeres) 
(Radish with Quebec butter) 
(Potted Brandade - whipped cod and potato) 
(Pomme frites and aioli) 
(Boeuf bourguignon) 
(Squash and potato gratin with herbs) 
(Creme Brulee) 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Wickson Social

The talented folks behind The Queen and Beaver and The Oxley have opened up a third spot in Toronto called The Wickson Social.  The 3,500 square foot restaurant is on the ground floor of a historic building (below a new condo tower) on St. Joseph Street, a few blocks South of Yonge and Bloor.  Inside there's a lot of design and a lot of different colours but magically it all works.  
Unlike The Wickson's sister British gastropubs the menu here is more contemporary and really has something for everyone.  Our visit was during their Saturday brunch which is offered between 10am-3pm (also on Sundays). The eggs benedict with peameal bacon was on delightfully soft scones and the scrambled eggs (slow cooked to creamy perfection)  was served on toasted sour dough with smoked salmon.  If you're looking for something sweet, the stack of buttermilk pancakes and maple butter is what you need (we ordered 1 pancake as a side).  And if you want a more hearty brunch there's the 12 hour lamb shoulder on sour dough or the dry cured venison and tarragon risotto. Most of the same dishes are available for brunch, lunch and dinner, but they'll be changing things up from month to month.