Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hopgood's Foodliner

Formerly from the Hoof Café (which is unfortunately no longer in existence), chef Geoff Hopgood (@chefhopgood) opened his own restaurant in February. Located in Roncesvalles along with popular spots such as The Westerly and Barque, Hopgood's Foodliner focuses on contemporary renditions of chef Hopgood's childhood favourites...comfort food from the Maritimes. The restaurant is named after a supermarket chain owned by chef Hopgood's family in the east coast.

Hopgood's is divided into two dining rooms by an open kitchen in the middle. Designed by chef Hopgood's younger sister, Sarah Hopgood, the restaurant has an industrial-themed decor: dark grey walls, white brick walls, exposed ducts, and metal bar stools. 

Regular menu items can be found on the chalkboard. Our server recited about eight specials to us that night.

Evaporated milk cans and Triscuit boxes on display. 

The six of us shared everything. Note that plates without prices were that night's specials.


Smoked Mackerel on Oatcakes ($10) 

Hot Crab Dip + Triscuits ($15)

Halifax Donairs ($14)


Cracked Crab

Smoked Chicken Wings

Artichoke Broth with Halibut Cheeks

Lamb Heart Tartare ($16)


Quarter Chicken with Grits and Bacon Sauce ($26)

Crispy Sweetbreads, Pepper Jelly & Celery ($22)

Ultra-Rare Tuna in Nova Scotia Seaweed Broth ($22)

Foie Gras Stuffed Squab


Maple Square ($8)

Crispy Toffee ($8)

Some hits and misses.

I was particularly fond of the smoked mackerel, which was smoky but not overpowering. It was moist, dense, and the creme fraiche really helped balance the mackerel's "fishiness". The house-made oatcake was light and fluffy; a delight to eat. The hot crab dip was delicious as well, so rich and creamy under that layer of panko breadcrumbs. Having said that, I wish it was served with something house-made (like the oatcakes for example) rather than using Triscuits which I found to be dry and a bit too thick. The cracked crab was fantastic; fresh and juicy. The lamb tartare with grated caramelized cream (!) was also a highlight for me (think all the deliciousness of a steak tartare but with a slight gameyness). Yes, the quarter chicken (a mix of white and dark meat cooked sous vide) was extremely juicy, but for some reason or another it was the cheesy and creamy grits + bacon sauce that made an impression on me. The squab, much like the quarter chicken, was moist and tender. Its meat is lean and combined with the foie gras, the end result of the dish was really silky and rich. The warm maple square with cold cream poured at table side was slightly chewy. Loved it. The house-made chocolate bar, served wrapped in brown paper, is made with crushed rice krispies, cornflakes, toffee, and sprayed with a coat of dark chocolate and sprinkled with salt. YUM.

Misses for me that night were the donairs, the artichoke broth and the sweetbreads. The donairs, with a mix of pork and beef served with onions, tomatoes, and an evaporated milk sauce, was too sweet for my taste; maybe a bit heavy handed on the sauce, the sweetness just overpowered the meat itself. We were all puzzled about the artichoke broth with halibut cheeks; the broth was salty and oily (refer to the picture) and the halibut cheeks, which was served on the side, didn't seem to have a purpose for being there.The sweetbreads were a huge disappointment for me; heavily breaded and fried, the sweetbreads were drenched in too much sauce (a sauce which tasted very similar to general tso sauce). I couldn't taste the actual sweetbreads at all.

One dish I regret not getting is the scallops, which I heard are fantastic.

Hopgood’s Foodliner on Urbanspoon

 Hopgood’s Foodliner at