Today is New Years Eve and I’m likely busy doing the laundry, changing bed linens, towels and cleaning because I have this crazy idea that the start sets the tone for the whole year (not that I change the linens and towels once a year only !) I hope you all have a wonderful evening with just the right amount of revelling that you prefer.
Henry the VIII is another pub that just opened last month. It too is occupying a space that has had many restaurants over the years; it is located in the far west side of BWV. We now have 7 pubs in Bloor West Village. S E V E N ? The irony of this figure is that BWV was completely dry until the early 1990′s! That meant that alcohol was not permitted to be served in any restaurants. In 1873, John G. Howard made an agreement with the city of Toronto to bequeath his land, High Park, to the city as long as it remains free to the public, that no alcohol be served in the Village, and that a Catholic cannot be Mayor of Toronto. Yup, they actually said that, believe it or not! Not sure why the alcohol laws changed in the early 90′s, we’re just grateful that it did.
Fortunately for us, we moved in a few years after the ban on booze was lifted and we now have 7 bustling pubs in the area some great restaurants and a very handy LCBO at the top of our street. We may have a problem here
As I mentioned previously, this pub has opened in a space that many a restaurants have failed. It’s a bit off the beat-and-track for BWV and on a cold day such as today, I likely would not have chosen it had we not had a car. The interior is decorated in a very English style, burgundy velvet banquets, dark wood paneling and wainscoting, there is very little advertising décor on the walls which is a nice change. The bar is at one side and is well stocked with the usual suspects; they have several beers on tap. For me, the décor is missing something, although I cannot put my finger on it. It’s almost like it was temporary — not sure why I think that, everything seems to be full size and permanent. The pub is empty when we arrived at 2:15 on a Tuesday. When we chatted with the bar tender he mentioned that today was their slowest day yet, they’ve been open 4 weeks. We chose a booth at the front by the large windows (they can open fully in the summer-time). It’s a bit chilly, these types of windows are not great for winter weather and today is a cold, wintery day. The table is clean, although my banquet had crumbs left over from a previous patron. We order a Guinness each and it arrives promptly, although there is always a little wait with the Guinness because of the way they pour.
The menu reminds me of a typical English pub menu, but it’s taken up a notch or two by some unusual twists to the same old (for example, Duck Confit Grilled Cheese, Chicken Curry Wrap). I had the roasted vegetable and quinoa salad; it is a warm salad of quinoa with roasted vegetables and marinated feta cheese served on a bed of organic baby spinach with a honey and balsamic olive oil dressing. It was a healthy serving and quite reasonably priced for $9.75 (same thing at dinner will set you back $15). It was delicious the dressing, the feta and the roasted vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, artichoke and sun dried tomatoes) were fantastic together, and the nutty quinoa was a nice change to a typical pub salad. JT had the Pulled Chicken Tikka Marsala which was chicken stewed in a red curry sauce with sweet apple chutney, jalapeño havarti, cashews and saffron basmati in a warm flour tortilla for $9.95 — it came with either soup, salad or fries, JT took the salad (which was also quite lovely with curly grated beets as decoration). The chicken curry wrap was also delicious, although I had a hard time tasting the jalapeño havarti. We each commented that we would have the same thing again, in fact, JT mentioned he would also consider having my choice on another occasion. It is quite obvious that someone with knowledge is in the kitchen and it’s not a deep fried plethora. The execution and presentation are above average; this pub will give the other 6 pubs in our hood a run for their money! They change up the menu a bit for dinner, we will give it another go again.
Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 2.0/5, service 3.5/5, food 3.75/5, Value 3.75/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). The restaurant was pretty much empty, I would imagine it gets pretty loud at night.
Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.