By Alex ChinienNov 12 2012 · 0 comments · Dining Out, Get Basted
Weslodge is a new addition to Toronto’s dynamic King West street having opened in July of this year to much local media fanfare. From the instant diners walk through the big, bold yellow doors, the saloon style restaurant makes no apologies for its colorful personality. Laid back decadence was the name of the game here as we ordered our $18 cocktails and took in the busy, over the top decor in anticipation. Ornate glassware hangs from the ultra high ceilings and taxidermy beasts (we were assured the real deal) densely occupy the walls.
The Alchemist – Absolut Elyx Vodka, Lapsang Souchong Tea, Charred Wood Simple Syrup, Tobacco bitters (cohiba cigar, cognac and vanilla beans) and Cherry Vanilla Bitters
Rightfully so, Weslodge does not take these $18 cocktails lightly. In hindsight, these ingredients read as gratuitous as they were delicious. A large portion of the cocktails include tobacco bitters and it does appear that experimenting with tea infusion is a theme. The Alchemist was basically a vodka based drink transformed to have the flavour profile of a scotch. Very smokey with an added spicyness. The Devil in a Blue Dress was a more playful drink with a herbal fruity blueberry taste contrasting with the smokey tobacco and charred wood simple syrup.
Oh.. right. We ate food with those drinks (yes, both our dishes cost less than the cocktails).
Bison Pastrami Sandwich with aioli, apple slaw and house fries
The Bison pastrami sandwich was absolutely delicious. The bison meat had been very lightly smoked and tasted spicy and very rare. The sweet apple slaw and crispy bread completed this simple dish perfectly. The fries were extremely thick cut and dusted in salt – very soft and fluffy on the inside, we finished them all.
The Agnolotti was an extremely delicate dish in comparison. The chestnut polenta had an earthy flavor and the wild mushrooms were big and savory.
For dessert we ordered pannacotta with tangerine, coconut, pistachio and blood orange. The pannacotta was shaped in cubes and sitting atop a flat pistachio cracker and covered in coconut shavings. Although this dish was a thematic stretch as far as the Saloon aesthetic, it was great nonetheless.
Being in Toronto for only a few days, we weren’t able to will a trip back to Weslodge for dinner this time – but it will absolutely be a priority next time we’re in town.
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