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Mar 7, 2009 08:39 AM

New: The Sparrow

I posted this over in "2009 Openings" but figure it might be worth a post of it's own.
I have not been yet, plan on going today for brunch.

Here's what I know so far:

5322 blvd Saint-Laurent (the former Mile End Bar. As a setting, could be very promising)

The chef is from London. Since arriving here last year he's been working at Chasse et Peche. (in London he was at "Gordon Ramsay at The Narrow" and "Magdalen")

There is a connection with Cocoa Locale. (These are friends of mine, respecting their privacy.)

They do not have their liquor license yet so they are only doing lunch and weekend brunch until they do.

The menus (they post them on Facebook) look *fantastic*. (attached)

Looking forward to some proper Bubble and Squeak (even though I will be back in London in 2 weeks myself but hey)

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  1. The Cocoa Locale connection might explain why the desserts are so good.

    I won't repost it, but for anyone who is curious I posted a mini review of my first Sparrow experience in the Restaurant Openings 2009 thread.

    4 Replies
      1. re: Joel_L

        Cocoa Locale makes the best little cakes ... Try the Chai tea Chocolate cake or the Key Lime pie...

        The Sparrow has one of the best Beef Stews I have ever tried. The decor is very cute and remind me of a 1940's style bar.
        The hamburger is OK.... but the beef stew was fabulous

        1. re: Alyson777

          Does Cocoa Locale supply their cakes to The Sparrow?

          1. re: kpzoo

            Yes, she does. I asked Reema and she confirmed.

      2. Unfortunately, the resolution of those menus are too small to read.
        Why not put a link to their fb page so we can see the menus and whatever else might be going on?

        9 Replies
        1. re: Shattered

          Nevermind, found it:

          Hmmm.... $8 for a hotdog? $12 for burgers & fries, $7 a cheese sandwich? I don't think so.

          1. re: Shattered

            Sorry I posted the images as they were on FB. Best I could do.

            1. re: Shattered

              i have nothing to do with this place but the state of hotdog is really poor in this city so if someone's going to step up and do something exceptionally good, i'd go try it once. but only once. i get my fill once a year on the streets of toronto.

              1. re: Shattered

                Have you seen the price for real cheddar cheese lately? ;)

                If this were a steamie or a street dog (Oskar Meier Weiner + white bun), then yeah for sure $8 is too much.

                But you know what? I'm pretty certain it's not. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a proper sausage, sourced from a local artisan (like the one that came with my English Breakfast), with real mustard (not the yellow crap) and home made sauerkraut.
                I definitely have $8 for that.

                Besides, there's other stuff on the menu eh? Mussles, pork chop, etc.
                This is not a greasy spoon burger joint and I don't feel your comment is fair.

                  1. re: bopuc

                    Yeah the hot dog is one of those jumbo sausage dogs, not a belle-pro steamie.

                    Could be 100% beef but I didn't ask. Certainly looked like a quality hot dog.

                    1. re: bopuc

                      Bopuc, you're right it wasn't fair. I didn't get the concept they're going for. Having said that, there are still other places I'd go if I wanted to eat in that $ range, though I will check it out for a beer assuming they will have it on draft.

                      1. re: bopuc

                        I definitely would be willing to pay for a good dog with quality ingredients but please leave French's mustard out of this...I love the yellow crap!

                        1. re: bopuc

                          I asked today, they make their own hot dog weiners for their hot dogs(they also make their own bacon).

                    2. Back. Try to report...
                      The Sparrow is/will be what is called in England a "gastro pub", which means, as you may guess, a fancy pub with higher end quality food. Usually pub food, but made fresh, usually with some twist, and with quality ingredients.

                      Gastro pubs are *everywhere* in London. The Sparrow does a good job of emulating the look and feel of them, especially the homier-yet-modern ones in the Shoreditch/Hackney area (which if you know what that means, you know how perfectly The Sparrow suits it's location in the Mile End ;)

                      We went for weekend brunch, the menu for which is very simple and basic. What we were served, the English Breakfast (one egg, sausage, bacon, 2 pieces of blood sausage, bubble and squeak, toasted (real) bread), was not revolutionary, but it certainly pleased and hit the spot. (My focus was to see the place, the faces, and have a hearty breakfast.)

                      Definitely going to go back and sample their lunch and (eventually) dinner menu.

                      Ah yes that. When they get their liquor license, The Swallow will be a complete gastro pub. That means good beers on tap, regular at the bar, people hanging out. The dinner menu will be served from 5 to 10pm.


                      1. Very excited to see this place opening up! I love a good pub. And Montreal is so very weak on British Isle fare, unless you happen to be out on the West Island.

                        Reema mentioned her husband is involved with this resto. I was so excited about the cake I had in my hand, I forgot to ask if she does the desserts!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: moh

                          So that is the big secret about the connection? I was almost about to hire an ex KGB agent to resolve the mystery of the secret (oh please hush) connection between Cocoa Locale and The Sparrow. Thanks for saving us from this pain moh!

                          1. re: emerilcantcook

                            Sorry I shouldn't have mentioned it at all. :\

                            1. re: bopuc

                              Um, lemme translate for you, bopuc: You should have just said it, period, because its nothing that needs to be remotely confidential.

                              p.s. Chowhound Team - just noticed the time stamp hasn't been adjusted for daylight savings.

                              1. re: Shattered

                                respecting privacy is something I am very careful of... normally. I actually let my enthusiasm run away with me here and I breached that by saying anything.

                                but this isn't about the food. Which is yummy. hehe :)

                            2. re: emerilcantcook

                              Shush!! No mention KGB - no connection, you understand? Will haf to keel you...

                          2. Tried The Sparrow yesterday

                            This is definitely a place I’m happy to see opening up in my neighbourhood.

                            The vibe is very mile-endy, service was beyond excellent and most of the food very good.

                            The chocolate and banana beignets were overflowing with mashed banana and chocolate and arrived piping hot. Delicious.

                            I then ordered the eggs Benedict. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the pork slices under the eggs were succulently tender. I am told their pork is cured and smoked in-house. Apparently, almost all of their meat is cured or otherwise prepared in-house. My lone quibble is that the hollandaise could definitely have used more acid. Oh, and it also would have been fun if the dish came with some kind of side or garnish. Two lone eggs Benedict on a plate make it seem kind of bare.

                            I couldn’t resist ordering some bubble and squeak (smashed pan-fried potatoes with cabbage) on the side. This is a very cravable dish and even though it seems simplistic, I believe it shows that the cook knows what he’s doing, with just the correct ratio of browned bits, cabbage, mashed and semi-intact potato pieces.

                            One last important point: coffee refills came fast and the coffee was great.

                            The owners of this place clearly have a focus and passion for food and it shows. It’s in the air. Even though some dishes may need some tweaking (to my taste at least), it’s obvious that the talent and skills are there.

                            Here’s to hoping they get their liquor license soon so we can go to the Sparrow for dinner!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: alexthecook

                              Liquor license? Why can't it be a BYOB? Oh my!!

                              1. re: mammab

                                I imagine it wouldn't be a gastroPUB without one. And nobody wants gastro!

                              2. re: alexthecook

                                Tried their French toast and it is out of this world, great to look at and even better once you dig into it.