Gilead Café: Fantastic Bread (Review + Pics)
Made it over to Gilead Café and unfortunately, I could not find a roast beef sandwich anywhere on the menu, nor could I find a brisket sandwich, which were both so highly recommended on earlier posts. I ended up ordering the smoked turkey sandwich based on the positive reviews on their meat-based sandwiches (though I probably should have focused more on what gastronom had to say in retrospect).
The spot was quite nice – lots of natural light flooding in from the large windows. Great wall decorations in the form of pickled vegetables in jars. Not many seats though, but take out is always an option. At those prices though, I, for one, would prefer to dine in.
Inside photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888967906/
Inside photo 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888134145/
Wall Display photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888967788/
Being priced at $9 a sandwich, I had pretty high expectations. When it came, I liked what I saw. The turkey sandwich was generous in portion – lots of smoked meat. The turkey was moist, and quite sweet. Not much of a 'smoked' taste to it, and so it fell a bit flat for me. The spicing wasn't too standout either. The toppings were a nice compliment to the turkey and added contrasting textures and flavours. The tiny bit of herbs were a welcome addition. The tomatoes added sweetness, and the mayo, a bit of richness. I found the mayo a bit heavy handed, but that could just be because I refrain from ever eating any form of mayo, nor have I ever had an affinity towards that condiment. The ‘coleslaw’ was a nice touch – different and unexpected. Made for a pleasant presentation device as well. Overall though, the sandwich innards were a bit forgettable– never really attaining an elevated status in my eyes when compared to other stellar sandwiches I’ve had around the world (Dominic’s in Waltham just outside Boston, hole-in-the-walls in Florence, smoked meat from Schwart’z in Montreal – just to name a few off the top of my head).
But the bread….The oh-so-amazing bread. The red fife sourdough bread could possibly be my favourite bread in Toronto at the moment. Since it is new and novel, I could just be favouring it unfairly though. The bread has a great texture and sweet flavour. Did I mention the great texture? The sourdough was not of a typical sourdough taste, which some may find more pleasing. I personally have never had an issue with sourdough, but some have found the ‘sour’ aroma a bit off-putting. At $5 a loaf about the diameter of your hand, this bread does not come cheap.
Red Fife Sourdough photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888968044/
To sum it all up – sandwich was just “OK” in my eyes, but the bread was great. Would I head there again for lunch? Perhaps just to try the poutine (though I am worried about whether or not it will fill me for lunch), or the fried halloumi sandwich - maybe even just to pick up a loaf of bread. After the warning of serving sizes from Googs, grand gourmand, and always eating, I put off ordering the Halloumi sandwich this time – and boy was I happy I did. The sandwich looked exceptionally tiny at another table. You know what would make the sandwich a great deal that would make me go more often? A small side of their fantastic fries – that’s all I would like. Just about 10 pieces and that would make the trip worth it. I think most customers would appreciate it, instead of ordering the $4 side of fries on top of the $9 sandwiches and leave with a much better impression of their experience at Gilead Café. ~ Just a few of my random musings ~
Cheers and Happy Eating!
Cheese display: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888133877/
Baked Goods: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888967628/
Fridge Display: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888967594/
Bread selection: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/2888133659/
French Baguette: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...
Here I go again. Not trying to compare one resto to another. Obviously Gilead Cafe is much more high end.
Just thought I'd mention (again) that if you're in the neighbourhood craving a sandwich and not a notorious chef, then give Morning Glory on King at Gilead a try. Fresh breads; hearty, wholesome, simple sandwiches only one of which is above $6.00. The cup of soup that comes with is always good. The sammys are more breakfasty than lunch so best to go if you've skipped the most important meal of the day. Worth a quick stop and a try IMO.
Morning glory - I actually saw this on the corner right near Gilead. I thought it seemed quite "chow" worthy, but I was a bit put off when they said they exclusively sourced "Ace" breads - not a particularly strong bread IMO. I feel like I can just get it at any Loblaws. But if you say the soups are great, then at that price ($6), I guess the highlight is the soup and the sandwich is just a side.
Thanks for the info, Googs. I will add that to my list of things to try. That one, and the last rec of yours - Weezie's in the same neighbourhood.
I totally agree about your suggestion to have a small side of frites included with the sandwiches, BokChoi. My Grilled Veggie Sandwich looked so small and lonely on its plate, even with the coleslaw, when I ate there. I know that I would probably go back to take out some of their Head Cheese to eat at home. I love it but just never make it myself (rely on Mom!). Thanks for sharing your thoughts/pics.
Thanks BamiaWruz and always_eating for your thoughts on the post. I think Chowhound is a great forum for diners to express themselves under complete anonymity, and also helpful for restaurateurs to maybe gauge the reaction/opinions of their customers. I know that every time a wait staff asks for my opinion during a meal, I have a really hard time saying anything but "excellent" - even if I am having a less-than-excellent experience. Bad, I know, but do they really want to hear the truth? Sometimes I wonder...
I would also head back to get a loaf or two - I have not tried their head cheese. Anything else in the charcuterie display worth checking out?
The strong point of Gilead is their production kitchen, which handles the charcuterie for all 3 locations. I was lucky enough to get an inside look at the production w/ Boris, their head butcher/charcuterie dude who apprenticed through the traditional system in France. Their red fife sourdough being another highlight. There was an excellent article on red fife wheat in the summer issue of Edible Toronto.
Their salads I found to be rather boring, I would pass in the future.
Ahh, I have not yet read that article, and guess lucked out on trying that bread. It was truly worth the trip out there for the bread - the sandwich, not so much. I would not consider Gilead Cafe a destination 'sandwich' joint, but if I were around there, I would definitely swing by for a loaf or two. The charcuterie seems to be prepared by a skilled butcher. I am excited to give it a try. Thanks for the info.