Tag Archives: pub food

Whole lotta haggis @ The Caledonian

Dude, the last time I had haggis was on Robbie Burns Day at Mackenzie House in 2020 — one of the last Triple B adventures before the pandemic hit. So now that things are starting to feel a lot like normal, we’re chowing down on haggis two ways at The Caledonian, this funky Scottish pub on College St:

Now, the Scots are good at battered, fried things — more on that later — so I had to kick things off with some haggis fritters. These super-crunchy great balls of haggis are kinda like hush puppies on the outside, but they’re filled with some nicely spiced organs for that extra little kick.

Up next, we’ve got a Highland Haggis Burger, topped with blue cheese. Basically, it’s just a beef patty, topped with a haggis, topped with cheese, with no other veggies or condiments whatsoever — a perfect part of any meatatarian’s diet!!!

We’re washing this down with some Elvis Juice, a grapefruit-infused IPA from the Scottish hooligans at BrewDog. Now, I’ve been hearing about BrewDog for a while, dawg, but this is the first time I’ve seen one of their beers on tap — so I totally had to try it. Let’s just say they weren’t kidding about the “grapefruit-infused” part, cuz it tastes just like grapefruit juice. I would totally crush a few of these for brunch, bro!!!!!

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and in the dessert department, it doesn’t get more Scottish than a deep-fried Mars bar. I dunno who was the bonnie lad who first decided to drop a Mars bar in the deep-fryer…but to him, I say “You can take my freedom any day, bro!!!!!”

GRAND REOPENING: Real-deal British pub food @ The Rabbit Hole

Now, not only are we starting to see restaurants reopening all over this city, but there are also some new joints setting up shop as well, like The Rabbit Hole, this funky British-style pub inside the Scotiabank building in the Financial District. And this place is serving up all the classics: steak and mushroom pie, tikka masala, fish ‘n chips… But we’re starting off with something you don’t see often on this side of the pond — Welsh rarebit, son!!!

rabbit_hole_welsh_rarebit (7)

Now, the last time I had this dish, it was basically just cheese on toast…so this is definitely a bit different. There is a layer of cheese, but it’s baked right into the bread, which is super crunchy and crusty. Not what I was expecting, but still not too shabby!

rabbit_hole_fish_n_chips (26)

Of course, I couldn’t go to a British pub and NOT get fish ‘n chips, mate! This ale-battered halibut was not too heavy, while the thick-cut fries had a little bit of Cajun salt — do they even do that in the UK? But what makes it are the mushy peas. I have literally never had these peas before, but they almost tasted more like mashed potatoes… Dude, this is body by mashed potatoes!!!!!!

indie_alehouse_breakfast_porter (4)

And of course, we’re washing it down with a good, English-style beer. This Indie Alehouse Breakfast Porter packs quite a bunch, at 7.2%, but provides the chocolately richness you’d expect from a proper British pint. They’ve also got a lotta cocktails here — remind me to try the Ace of Spades next time!!!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: At-home Irish pub experience

Now, since the second shutdown started, I haven’t been able to tie on six or seven at an Irish pub. But when I found out that the Lucky Clover Sports Pub on Lower Simcoe was offering delivery, I figured that might be the next best thing… Can you say Irish-style potato skins, bro?

irish_potato_skin (4)

These deep-fried potaters are topped with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, along with an Irish whiskey cream sauce. It’s like pretty much everything you’d want from an Irish-themed sports bar in one dish, son!!!

guinness_burger (6)

Up next, we’ve got a Guinness Burger, topped with cheddar cheese, onion, lettuce, pickle, tomatoes, mushrooms and red peppers. I am not sure why they call it a Guinness Burger, as there doesn’t seem to be any Guinness anywhere in this dish…

oast_house_porter (7)

And speaking of Guinness, well, you can’t really drink a Guinness unless it’s poured properly — so takeout or delivery is pretty much a no-go. Instead, I poured myself a Pitchfork Porter, this traditional English pub-style beer from Niagara Oast House Brewers. I gotta say, it goes pretty good with the Guinness Burger, bro!!!

Lamb shank with a side of mac ‘n cheese, son!!!

Now, when the weather outside is frightful, I like to chow down on some go-to comfort food. You KNOW that I love lamb even more than Steve Carell, and mac ‘n cheese is probably my favourite side dish… So, we’re hanging out at The Queen and Beaver, this friendly neighbourhood English pub just offa Yonge St, and I’m like, why not do both???

q&b_lamb_shank (8)

Now I’ve ordered lamb shank many times, many ways…but I don’t think I’ve seen it served with mashed squash before — it’s like culinary baby food in Flavourtown! And they’ve also got a whole lotta lentils, which is like the most green stuff I ate all month… But you KNOW the best side dish is yet to come, bro!!!!

q&b_mac_n_cheese (2)

Now, I wouldn’t consider mac ‘n cheese to be your typical British pub food…but this British pub does a pretty decent take. Mac is nice ‘n creamy, with a crunchy breadcrumb crust — it’s a real culinary tongue-twister in Flavourtown!!!!

sticky_toffee_pudding (5)

Now, after tearing through that culinary mac-stravaganza, I actually wasn’t gonna order dessert…but then they sold me on the sticky toffee pudding. Their version uses molasses instead of caramel, for that extra richness — and there’s plenty of extra sauce. I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

English-style fish and chips @ The Queen and Beaver

Now, the Queen and Beaver has gotta be the best name for a British pub that I’ve seen in a while…although you might not wanna linger on that mental image for too long. But if you’re looking for a cozy place to have a cheeky pint, you could definitely do worse than this joint–anywhere with Firkin in its name, for starters!

But man, not only is this place serving up a buncha local craft beer, they’ve also got real-deal English pub food. You’ve got bangers and mash, Welsh rarebit, and this all-time pub classic, fish and chips:

queen_beaver_fish_n_chips (8)

OK, now let’s break it down. The fish is so flaky it falls apart on your forky, with a nice, light batter. And the fries are super-legit — real deal British pub chips. But what makes it are the mushy peas. Mushy whaaa???

queen_beaver_mushy_peas (3)

Dude, this stuff is like Baby Food Gone Wild, bro! Man, I’d eat it off a flip-flop–and I don’t even like peas! Now of course, you can’t have real-deal fish and chips without washing it down with a nice stout:

blood_brothers_black_hand (7)

Now, this ain’t no pint ‘a Guinness, bro! This Black Hand stout from the Satanic beer fiends at Blood Brothers packs an extra punch at 7%. It’s got a little more bitter, a little more flavour…but still goes pretty great with fish and chips!