Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Queen and Beaver Public House

35 Elm St
Toronto, ON
(647) 374-2712
Chef: Andrew Carter (@ARJCarter)
Date visited: Friday July 17, 2009
Apps/snacks $4-12; sandwiches/burgers/pot pies $14-17; mains $17-23

1. Most interesting menu in Toronto I've seen in a long time.
2. The food is "authentic" English pub fare.
3. Fried cod cheeks and tongues. That's why I came.

Victorian home, mismatched but matched decor, over-sized comfy chairs, the Queen's photos all over the place, English china with the gold trim and floral patterns. It's a pub you go home to instead of a pub you feel over-greased from.

So the cheeks and tongues. I didn't see the big deal. It was little pieces of fried fish. But the housemade relish that came with it... Now that's a different story. The tangy, honey, slightly spicy, citrusy relish -- I could eat that for days.

For main, apple cider braised duck leg in a curry sauce ($17) -- I don't think there's anything else to describe. The duck was a little dry, and the apple cider could've stood out in flavour a bit more, but the curry sauce was a nice accompaniment and I had no trouble eating it all up.

Now, here's what you should go for: The Q&B BLT with maple glazed pork belly, butter lettuce and smokey tomatoes ($16). It was best BLT of life. The pork belly was mouth-watering -- smokey, sweet, meaty, salty.

To end, sticky toffee pudding ($9) because we're at a British pub, and sticky toffee pudding has climbed the ranks of being my favourite dessert over the long-time stranglehold of creme brulee. The pudding was definitely traditional -- warm caramel toffee goo that keeps your soul filled. (Not better than Nota Bene's! but nothing to complain about either.)

Service was pleasant, but kitchen was somewhat painfully slow to deliver. I'll chalk that up to still trying to get into the routine of things (they opened on June 15, and there were two large parties when we went).

In any case, screw the bad reviews from The Globe & Mail and Toronto Star. Q&B, I like you.

Rating (out of five stars): **1/2


citypainter said...

We like the Q & B a lot. It's definitely a unique vibe for Toronto, and I think their ambitious menu should be encouraged even if the food isn't always 100% consistent. Also important: though the beer selection is small, it is excellent and includes a delicious cask ale. I only wish the food prices were a bit lower so I could justify visiting more frequently! I always leave with an empty wallet.

Heather Li said...

Oh! Totally forgot to mention the cask ale. I tried that when I went and I loved it. It's like no beer I've ever tasted before.