Sunday, February 05, 2012

Caledonian Scottish Pub

We missed that major Scottish celebration Robbie Burns Day by a couple of weeks, but we finally made it out to the "The Caledonian" on College St West at Ossington Ave.  Its website claims that it is the only authentic Scottish pub in Toronto, specializing in traditional cuisine and offering over 100 varieties of malts and blends.

Rich went for the Caledonian 80 Shilling which seems to be one of the more popular ones since there is a sign advertising it in the front window.  It was a traditional Scottish ale which Rich found to be smooth and creamy.   It even has its own website (

We started off with a classic starter, the "Scotch Egg", which is a hard boiled egg that is surrounded by a layer of ground pork, and then covered with breading and deep fried.  The yolk in Caledonian's version was slightly under cooked which made it moister, and came with a delicious mustard-mayo aioli .  It recently was voted best new pub snack by Eye Magazine.

We also wanted to try the Scottish national dish of haggis, which many people shy away from without ever trying because of its description.  By definition, haggis is a savoury pudding containing  a combination of ground lamb (including the heart, liver, lungs), oats,  spices, onion and stock, which is encased in stomach lining.  Haggis should take marketing lessons from the sausage or hotdog, which ultimately is not that different.   We tried a variation which consisted of battered haggis fritter balls accompanied by thin crispy parsnip chips and a light gravy.  This is a good novice introduction to haggis since deep fried batter makes anything seem more innocuous.

After two heavy fried appetizers, the Caley Salad was a nice reprieve for both the stomach and the conscience. The salad was chock-ful of flavours, combining mixed greens, roasted pear and cranberries to add a sweet taste, fresh green apple slices to give a bit of tartness, toasted almonds and goat cheese for saltiness and a tangy apple cider vinaigrette to top it all off.

Then it was back to the fried food with the haddock fish and chips.  The fish was lightly battered and not greasy, while the fries where thin, crispy and served with malt vinegar.  All in all, this was a very satisfying meal although to exactly diet food.  We felt far too guilty at this point to even consider the deep-fried Mars bar on the dessert menu.

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