When Michelle Genttner and Luis Martins opened Habits Gastropub (Twitter: @HabitsGastropub, Facebook: Habits Gastropub) in the summer of 2012, their vision was to provide the 'next step' in pub-going in the city. With a weekly changing menu that focuses on using the freshest ingredients and as much local as possible, Habits Gastropub elevates 'comfort food' by taking the things you know and love and giving it a little extra; a "sophisticated" update, so to speak.
Partners in both business and in life, Genttner manages the front of house while Martins has adopted the role of head chef at this cozy neighourhood gastropub.
Habits features Ontario craft beers on tap and strives to maintain a local focus by constantly adding VQA wines to their list. Their cocktails also feature house-infused liquors. Fun fact: Habits houses the third largest collection of whiskey at any bar in the city (which explains its elaborate bar).
Here's a recap of Habits Gastropub's media tasting:
Armagnac, saffron simple syrup, orange citrus slice, cherry
The Habits Gastropub kitchen crew.
SEABASS CEVICHE, CITRUS
This was a light and delicious starter. Fresh with vibrant flavours without being too acidic / tart.
BUFFALO SWEETBREADS, BLUE CHEESE, SPICY BBQ
These deep fried sweetbreads had a nice crispy exterior. Although tender the sweetbreads had a denser texture than what I'm used to. I personally prefer the creamy blue cheese dip over the spicy BBQ.
SALMON DUO, MUSTARD, PICKLES
This was a delicious plate. The combination of tender, cured salmon with house made mustard and pickles, and the creamy salmon pate spread on the toasted crostini were both excellent.
CAULIFLOWER SALAD, ANCHOVY, CHILI
This was possibly my favourite dish that evening (I guess it helps that I've been loving cauliflower lately). But seriously the flavours on this plate are exceptional. Since cauliflower is pretty "neutral" in terms of taste it acts as a blank canvas - it has an incredible ability to take on flavours (think sponge). Gently roasted, these cauliflower florets had a nice heat to them and the saltiness from the anchovy was brilliant.
BONE MARROW TOAST, CUCUMBER, RADISH
A beautiful pairing of cubed cucumber and julienned radish alongside bone marrow which added a nice richness to each and every bite.
PAPPARDELLE, CHICKEN LIVER, SAGE
Did I say the cauliflower salad was my favourite dish? Okay, I changed my mind, this is! This is THE perfect pasta for those who love liver because there's not just hints of liver flavour here or a mild liver taste, this pasta packs intense liver umami...in a very, very good way of course. To top it off the home made pappardelle was light as air and so silky smooth.
HABITS SLIDER, PUTANESCA RELISH
A miniature version of Habits' signature burger, I thoroughly enjoyed the slider. My bite of burger - which was stuffed with smoked brie - with sweet putanesca relish and smoky pancetta was delicious. My only complaint would be that the brioche bun was a bit too hard for my taste.
BRAISED VEAL CHEEK WITH RASPBERRY-LAMBIC BRAISED CABBAGE
Wow this piece of braised veal cheek was unbelievably tender and juicy. I really enjoyed the unique flavours here specifically the raspberry in the braised cabbage. Raspberry works. And the grapes? Also works.
Glenfiddich 15-Year Solera
LEMON CREMA, BERRIES
BEET ICE CREAM, ROSEMARY-HONEY MASCARPONE, WALNUT PRALINE
Old Pulteney 12-Year
Although I enjoy whiskey in cocktails I'm usually not one to sip on whiskey on its own. Having said that, this is most definitely the first time I've had desserts with whiskey pairings. All three desserts + whiskeys were quite good but if I had to pick a favourite I'll go for the lemon crema. The light and citrus-y notes from the lemon crema went perfectly w/ the Cragganmore 12-year.
The Habits Gastropub kitchen is open until 11pm Sunday through Tuesday, and 12am Wednesday through Saturday. They also have live music 2-3 times a week (watch the above VTV video if you haven't already!)
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*