Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bohemian Gastropub

Traditional English pubs used to serve basic hearty food catered for the common worker, such as shepherd's pie which consisted of leftover meat lined with mash potato, steak and ale pie, or a ploughman's lunch which is basically a cold sandwich.

The term "gastropub" originated in England in the 1990s and refers to pairing beer with high end dining. The gastropub has now come to Toronto with the opening of The Bohemian Gastropub on Queen St. West.  The prices were reasonable with appetizers from  $7-10, sandwiches from $10-12 and mains fomr $17-21.

 There are some very unique appetizer choices on the menu.  Relatively large, fleshy smelts are breaded with wheat flour, deep fried and served with caper mayonnaise.  A crunchy salad of endive and celeriac mixed with tart granny smith apple slices and salty roasted pumpkin seeds is mixed with a slightly sweet pumpkin seed dressing.  In every bite all the various flavours can be discerned.  Fried pig ears come with a  smoked paprika tartar sauce and can be snacked on like exotic potato chips with the taste of bacon.  Other options that we didn't get a chance to try this time but sounded very interesting included the fried cheddar zucchini dumplings with grape chutney and spaetzle poutine covered with cheddar and bratwurst gravy .. maybe next time!

For main course, I had pan seared trout with a chive dumplings, chunks of ham, covered with a pea sauce.  Rich had the beef oxtail and mushroom stew cooked until tender in a tiny dutch oven with a layer of pastry surrounding the lid, served with sauteed pearl onion, baby carrots, potato and celery.  The portions were not overly large which allowed us to try multiple appetizers while still each having a main (although we were really hungry which helped).

The beer choices were also unique with options from various local breweries including Steam Whistle Brewery, and Rich's choice, which was Augusta Ale, a local ale brewed in Kensington Market.   This is a welcome variation from the traditional English pubs and provides a new dining experience.  Hopefully more will follow.

Bohemian Gastropub
571 Queen St. West

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