Bar Begonia is so good, guys. I had dinner there two weeks ago and I still can't think of one bad thing to say about the place. From ambiance, service, drinks to food, Anthony Rose's sixth spot gets nothing but praises from moi. Bar Begonia is killin' it.
Just down the street from Big Crow and up the street from Fat Pasha (both Rose's), my friends and I arrived at the newly opened Bar Begonia at 6:30pm sharp on Friday night. We managed to snag the last four-top. Boy, did I feel extremely lucky at that point, especially when there wasn't one empty seat left in there. To celebrate we immediately ordered a bunch of cocktails to start. Not having to wait for a table on a Friday night is a damn good enough reason to get our dranks on (note that Bar Begonia remained packed for the next three hours we were there).
Before I get to the booze and the food here's a bit about Bar Begonia. Open from 11am to 2am, 7 days a week, Bar Begonia (Twitter: @barbegonia, Facebook: Bar Begonia) is a 40-seat Parisian-style cocktail bar serving craft cocktails and snacks with a French flair. The kitchen is helmed by chef Trista Sheen, formerly of the now shuttered Crush Wine Bar. Although Bar Begonia doesn't take reservations (it does but only for parties of 8 or more) I was thrilled to hear that they'll have a patio set up by this summer.
"Draw me like one of your French girls".
Behind the bar is general manager Oliver Stern and bar manager Veronica Saye. I've been a big fan of Oliver's cocktails ever since my Toronto Temperance Society days. I say it that way because I used to go to "TTS" a lot, some of my favourite cocktails from the speakeasy were their Earl Grey Sour, Whisky Sour, Petey's Muddle, Old Fashioned and La Hoja. So, when I found out Oliver was the GM at Bar Begonia I had no doubt in my mind that their cocktails would be excellent.
Bar Begonia's drink menu consists of 8 House Cocktails, 2 Draft Cocktails, 8 Favourite Cocktails, 17 Wines by the glass and 14 Beers & Ciders.
Jalapeno infused blanco tequila, lemon, chamomile, peychaud's mole bitters
EARL GREY MARTEANI ($14)
Ear grey infused gin, lemon, sugar, egg white
BROOKLYN COCKTAIL ($16)
Rye whisky, dry vermouth, house amaro, maraschino
As for food, expect modest Parisian plates that are ideal for sharing. It is all French comfort food, no frills involved. The menu is divided into Petite Bouchees, Raw, Tartines, Foie Gras (brioche), Cured + Confited (mustard, bread, cornichon), Le Fromage (honeycomb, bread), Chaud and Sucree. The portions are on the small side (the Chaud plates are a bit more hearty) but they are designed that way so you can get a few bites of a dish, enjoy it, and move on to try other plates. They are the perfect portion for people who like to try a lot of thing yet hate to feel stuffed during the process (me!) Having said that, I was still very full from my dinner at Bar Begonia but not to the point where I felt gross, you know? I felt just right and happy about my level of "fullness".
The four of us shared 11 plates and 3 desserts:
CURED + CONFITED: DUCK RILLETTES, BEETS ($8)
Served with mustard, bread, cornichon
PETITE BOUCHEES: SALT COD CROQUETTE, HARISSA ($6)
TARTINES: SARDINES, CHILI, AIOLI ($7)
PETITE BOUCHEES: POMME FRITES, AIOLI ($6)
PETITE BOUCHEES: GOUGERES ($5)
RAW: STEAK TARTARE, GAUFRETTES ($13)
Cocktail break! We had the two cocktails on tap:
DRAFT NEGRONI ($12)
Gin, campari, sweet vermouth
DRAFT MANHATTAN ($12)
Lot no. 40, sweet vermouth, bitters
TARTINE: DUXELLE, CHIVE CREAM FRAICHE ($6)
CHAUD: FRIED EGG, WILD MUSHROOMS, CREME FRAICHE ($12)
TARTINE: PISSALADIERE, CHEVRE CREAM ($6)
CHAUD: DUCK CONFIT, ESCAROLE, WHITE BEAN ($17)
CHAUD: BOEUF BOURGUIGNON ($16)
SUCREE: LEMON TART ($6)
SUCREE: CREME BRULEE ($7)
SUCREE: BEIGNETS, CINNAMON, APPLE ($6)
I don't remember the last time I raved about a restaurant so it feels really good to finally find one worthy of it. I haven't stopped recommending Bar Begonia to all my friends since my meal there. It is really that good. Everything I ordered at Bar Begonia that night was fabulous. If you go there and order exactly everything on this post you would not leave disappointed, and to think there are so many things I haven't tried from the menu yet! The foie gras! I gotta go back for that.