Monday, December 6, 2010

The Queen & Beaver Public House

My friend Julia and I were literally wandering around the streets of downtown Toronto one evening after work. I remember precisely that our original plan was to go to beer bistro for dinner, but without a reservation, we could not get a table. We thought going to beer bistro at 5:15pm was safe, but given that it was during TIFF, it was already really crowded by the time we got there. We sadly left and was feeling pretty clueless about where to go until we wandered to Elm street. Julia suggested we go to Queen & Beaver Public House. She has been before and said the food is quite good; not your typical pub food, but pub food with an English flare. Sure I'm down with that.

We were lucky to get the last table available; like beer bistro, Queen & Beaver was bustling with people. I didn't realize the huge impact that TIFF had on downtown restaurants until that very day.

Queen & Beaver is essentially located in a somewhat charming historic house; you walk in to a foyer with high ceiling and straight ahead is a grand stairway leading upstairs, and to the right is a big dinning room. It is also equipped with a fireplace, vintage plates and old paintings on the walls along with dark polished wooden furniture - all this really gives off that classic English pub vibe.

Behind our table we saw loaves of fresh bread being made. YUM

Hmmmmm what to get? Besides the bar menu (pictured below) Queen & Beaver also has a regular menu. However, from the bar menu, you can see that Queen & Beaver does not serve your typical bar food - Scotch Egg & H.P Sauce? Welsh Rabbit? It basically has many unique Brit dishes that you may not have heard of before.

I was craving something cold but not necessarily beer, so I ordered this Big Rock 'Rock Creek' Dry Cider from Alberta. It went down so smooth. Also very refreshing.

Fish Cakes with Tartare Sauce - Absolutely loved everything about this. Even though they were a decent size, I wish there were more. The fish cakes were piping hot; with the splash of lemon and the perfectly made tangy tartare sauce, the fish cakes were divine.

They were coated thin and crispy, while the inside was soft and hot. Stomach just growled, right now, as I was typing.

Roast Lamb Sandwich & Urchfont Rémoulade - I know all of you are wondering what the heck Urchfont Rémoulade is, well it is just a fancy name for tartare sauce (we asked our server).

A very generous amount of lamb. Julia seemed to like her sandwich since she cleaned her plate lol.

And this sandwich really came with "crisps", not fries. The chips were crispy with just the right amount of salt.

Hand Chopped Burger & Chips - This burger ranks pretty high up there in terms of the burgers I've had before. Lets talk about the fries first though. The fries were thick, hot and fresh. But because it was thick, I thought it could've been fried a bit longer. I also liked the little pickles/pickled radish on the side. The only thing I did not like was the homemade ketchup (it was a curry ketchup). Why do restaurants always feel the need to make their own weird tasting ketchup nowadays? I just want normal ketchup, please.

As for the burger, it was juicy alright, which you can probably tell by the picture, with juices dripping down onto the bottom bun. Make sure you order medium-rare.

Its fixins also deserve a mention. Two pieces of bacon AND stilton cheese? This was ridiculously good.

Besides the great food, Queen & Beaver seems to be also known for the following attributes:

1) A rooftop patio; 
2) Comfortable couches and and big-screen TVs upstairs ("living room feel"); 
3) Soccer nets in the urinals; 
4) If you're looking for Stella or Bud, forget it. This place is more about English ale and creamy stouts; and
5) Sunday feasting menu - Served family style consisting of delicious stuff like roast rib roast & yorkshire pudding, slow cooked lamb shoulder, venison stew & dumplings, beef wellington, roast rib eye of bison, wood roast suckling pig, and loin of pork & apple sauce. Orders must be secured by credit card by Thursday, cancellations will be charged 50% of total, served after 5pm on Sunday evenings. Lots of rules so you better visit their site for more details.

This is not your everyday hangout pub for sure because the food is on the pricier side. But if you are longing for an occasional English pub fare in your bar food, Queen & Beaver is the place to be. 

Queen and Beaver Public House on Urbanspoon