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Sep 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Duke of Gloucester review

After hearing this place is 'the most authentic British pub in TO' I was very excited to try it out (seeing as my background is very British and I LOVE pub food). Yes, I was pre-warned of the dingy atmosphere, and yes, that was very apparent. But I was expecting that, so if that was all that was wrong with the place, I wouldn't have minded. But I wasn't so lucky. I don't know if it was a bad night or a bad server or what, but after ordering, it took them a half an hour to bring out apps (a plate of nachos which were sooo soggy and gross and some garlic bread, which was a wierd green colour, but good tasting). How long could it possibly take them to put bread and chips in the oven? I didn't get it. After we devowered our apps, it took them another half an hour for them to bring out three of the four entrees (steak and mushroom pie's) and then it was another ten minutes before my poor sister got her burger. The pie was good, a little cold, but House on Parliament has a much better one. I found the steak here a bit too tough. I dont know what they were doing in that kitchen because other than a couple people at the bar, it was just us, and another girl who ordered a grilled cheese sandwich which took an hour to make as well. I just dont understand when bad service like this occurs for no apparent reason.
All I can say is I've been in England and eaten in many British pubs, and if this is the best TO has to offer on good British food, I am giving up. Please, someone out there tell me there is a better British pub in TO (other than HOP which I frequent often)!!

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  1. I ate at the Duke of Gloucester last night, and I also found the food to be cold. The "pie" was nothing more than a sheet of dry, flavourless puff pastry placed on top of a cold dish of stew. Service was not great either. I will be avoiding this place in the future.

    Here's a complete review:

    1. Feh! For a better pub experience, try the Duke of York on Prince Arthur.

      2 Replies
      1. re: estragon

        I had a great meal at the Duke of York this summer: tasty tuna melts! Definitely better than Gloucester.

        1. re: squeaks

          what do you recomend? Im ALWAYS looking for prime pub food

      2. Mediocre food, slow service, and a dingy atmosphere. But good beer and a friendly vibe. Based on my experience, sounds like an authentic British pub to me! Eat somewhere else first and go to the Duke for pints.

        1. I've never liked it. The place is dingy but dingy only contributes to the character of a spot when the food is worth the wait. I remember having a steak and mushroom pie. Whoever was cooking it must have dug into the leftover roast beef the night before and then chucked lots of salt onto it to cure the meat. Bleh.

          Go further south to Isabella and hit the Artful Dodger. I have never had a bad meal there and the prices are quite reasonable. I usually end up going there with a vegetarian friend who really enjoys the food choices that they offer.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Zengarden

            What do you normally order when you go?

            1. re: hungryabbey

              I like pub food and this place has good curries, fish and chips. In terms of vegetarian entrees, I believe that there was a portobello mushroom grill that looked delicious. My co worker had that the last time we went.

          2. I'm an English guy living in Toronto - have been here for 4 years now. There really is not a good "British" style pub in Toronto. I've been to all those mentioned above, and more.

            All British pubs have Fish and Chips served with Peas (there is no such thing in Toronto), all British pubs have pies with extremely flakey, almost to the point of burnt, puff pastry, and again you absolutely cannot find this in Toronto. All British pubs have "pump" beer on tap, and this is very rare in Toronto (I think I only know one one pub like this here).

            I love eating in Toronto, but this is definitely one thing Toronto cannot get right at all...and its surprising as Toronto in many ways is a very "English" city! :S

            3 Replies
            1. re: Tboy

              aw what a disapointment. Well, of all the pubs you've tried, wheres the BEST? Pub dishes I particularly like are: steak and mushroom pie, fish and chips, and prime rib dinner with GOOD yorkshire pudding(why is it so hard for restaurants to make GOOD yorkshire pudding..maybe Im just used to the way my British family makes it)

              1. re: hungryabbey

                Hmm, let me think!

                I do think the Duke chain of pubs (and I'll specify the Duke of York and the Duke of Argyle which are good, and excluding the Duke of Gloucester, because that place is very different to the other duke's and is poor IMO) do a fairly good job food wise - they even have Sausage Rolls that are pretty good as a starter option. The Fish and Chips there are good, the fish is large - although they serve it in newspaper (anybody who has been in Britain lately knows that they stopped serving in newspaper a few years ago!). Atmosphere wise the Duke's to me are still very 'North american' though.

                The House On Parliament (HoP) is actually not too bad in many ways. There Sunday 'Roast' is tasty (I say 'roast' because the only thing on the plate that was roasted when I went was the yorkshire pudding!) and also their weekly specials, and the atmosphere is quite like a good old British 'local'!

                The Artful Dodger downstairs is fairly genuine and the food fair, and their beer selection I would say is as good as anywhere.

                I still haven't found a killer pie though - all of the above venues pies are dry and dull compared to those in Britain!

                1. re: Tboy

                  yah HoP is my usual haunt, or sometimes I go to Allens on the Danforth or Ben Wicks Pub beside HoP, but I'll def try out the artful dodger!! thanks! What do you recomend getting there?