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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.

                              3. tried it. Very good food. I can't wait for them to get their licence.

                                All that being said, I will go back, often.

                                1. I had lunch at The Sparrow twice last week and breakfast this morning, and it has already become a real fave. Part of that it that's it's right around the corner from my apartment and across the street from my office - but most of it is the food and the whole vibe of the place.

                                  My first time there I tried the burger which was very good, and not overcooked like most people do to burgers these days. The fries that came with it were great as well.

                                  My second lunch was the seafood soup which was very tasty and came with at least 8-9 mussels in it, followed by the (cheddar) cheese sandwich. The sandwich was simple but very well executed.

                                  Today I had the English breakfast which has already been described - it was very good as well.

                                  As Bopuc and others have reported they're having trouble getting the liquor license, which is definitely related to the former Mile End Bar and noise concerns in the neighbourhood (which really shouldn't be an issue with the kind of thing Sparrow is putting together) and I hope that gets resolved soon. Everyone I have met at Sparrow is awesome, and it's really a family (2 families in fact) business and I have great expectations for the time when they can really get the whole place working as they have envisioned it.

                                  BTW I learned today that they make all of their sausage on site.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: mikelbyl

                                    The Sparrow burgers are great(among the best I've ever tasted anywhere). They grind their own meat for their burgers, & don't cook their burgers well-done(they will cook to any doneness a customer wants).

                                    1. re: BLM

                                      Grilled, broiled or <shudder> fried?

                                      1. re: carswell

                                        Both I think(pan fried first, then finished off on the grill). These are big beef patties(not sure, how he cooks it just right).

                                    2. re: mikelbyl

                                      hah, i read the "around the corner from y apt and across the street from my office" part and thought "is that... it is!" (Hi Mikebyl :)

                                      I am so glad everyone here seems to like it! I haven't been back yet (travels) but i think I'll stop by this week!

                                    3. We went there today for brunch. Our group had built up a mighty hunger trekking through the metro tunnel between Sherbrooke and Berri (best metro rescue ever!) and were eager to get some food. We got two orders of the banana and chocolate donuts to start. They had lots of gooey chocolate in the middle. I got the english breakfast and i especially enjoyed the blood sausage. I wish there had been more of it! I ate the whole thing and could have easily eaten another plate but that had more to do with my previous adventure than with the portion size.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: blond_america

                                        I have to say that we were nearly an hour late for our reservation because we got stuck in the metro, but the staff were super gracious about it. Thanks guys!

                                      2. Fantastic brunch today with friends. Brilliant "english Breakfast"!

                                        1. Went there with a few friends, and I echo the sentiments. The English breakfast was pretty good, and their homemade sausages were fantastic. The big hit was their glorified egg mcmuffin: a homemade sausage patty, topped with a fried egg and some fixings, all sandwiched in a roll (and a fine roll). It cost 9 bucks, and this included an endless cup of coffee and tax. Fair price I'd say, considering the quality of the sausage. We also tried the banana-choco donuts as "dessert". Two per order ($3), they came out warm, slightly crisp on the outside and gooey inside. The chocolate was not too sweet, and was of high quality. Frequent coffee refills, very very friendly service, lovely space. We'll be back.

                                          1. Ok, I am dreaming about that sausage egg sandwich...So yummy! I am so happy this place has opened up!

                                            1. Went today and had a great brunch. GREAT SERVICE TOO. Very good food and very reasonable for the quality. Just wished I'd remembered to order the banana-chocolate donut for the end. My friend was very impressed with their scrambling of the eggs - moist, and the salmon that came with it (not overly smoked). I enjoyed the high quality bread used for the toast, cut nice and thick, and the tasty sausage. Could have used a second egg with the English Breakfast, but no big deal.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: heliotrope

                                                I went to the Sparrow for a second time yesterday. The first time I had the most unbelievable Beef Stew. Yesterday I went back for Brunch and my breakfast was even better. First of all the waiters and waitresses are extremely friendly and attentive. I haven't been to a breakfast place in a really long time where someone actually came around frequently to refill my cup with hot coffee. We were three people and each of us ordered the Egg and Sausage roll. I thought it would be more like an egg Mcmuffin but it was like nothing i have had before for breakfast. The sausage was a large homemade sausage patty that looked more like a hamburger. It was topped with some sort of aged Chedder with a Fried egg and lettuce, tomatoe and mayo. It was really delicious. We also ordered Bubble and Sqeak $3 which kinda reminded me of Cosmo style potatoes. Instead of Onions it was cabbage. For Dessert we shared the Chocolate and Banana Donuts $3 . It kind of tasted like a Spanish style Churro with the semi sweet chocolate.These Donuts were ridiculously amazing and so fresh. I think Sparrow is definitely a new favorite. Extremely well priced and generous for the price.I wish them all the success!

                                              2. So four months on, does anyone know if this place is ever going to get a liquor license? Even in this bureaucratic mess of a province four months seems like a very long time.

                                                1. Got out on the street, took a few steps towards "Réservoir", but the sky was spilling buckets of water on me, so decided to go to Sparrow ( a bit closer)

                                                  Got there, a small lineup, but since I was single, got lucky and took a place at the counter.

                                                  I remember the place as the "Mile-End" bar; the replaced a few tables, but kept the old bar (As far as remember); "english" style decor and english seems to be the mother tongue of most of the staff and menu (my only compaint of the place BTW), I like the mixed bag style of the plates (from what I could see).

                                                  Menu is simple, a lot of (you'd guess) english style food, with a few classic brunch choices.

                                                  From what I saw, everything look very good and appetizing, but today, I decided to a few "scones" and the english breakfast.

                                                  The Scones, 4 of them, small but tasty with some strawberry jams and butter, very good.
                                                  The English breakfast, egg, saussage, potatoes, bacon and black pudding was very good ans satisfying.

                                                  All watered down with a nice cup of english breakfast tea!!

                                                  An enjoyable time, will probably go back to try the "french toasts" and other things.

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: Maximilien

                                                    Did you notice if they have their alcohol permit yet?

                                                    1. re: Simon Patrice

                                                      Don't think so, the beer "tap" were not installed.

                                                      1. re: Simon Patrice

                                                        They don't. Last I heard, it's looking increasingly like September, the cutoff date after which the application expires or something. Dunno what happens if they reach the date and still don't have the permit.

                                                          1. re: Shattered

                                                            Might be lame but it is in no way their fault... The woman who owns the Violin school next door has started a petition not to allow Sparrow to have a liquor license. She doesn't want the mess from Cigarettes and stuff the day after a venue... Its just stupid because people sit and smoke outside anyways.... It's her that's the problem! otherwise it would not only be a great rest/bar but a cool place for concert venues they had planned for

                                                            1. re: Alyson777

                                                              Thanks for clearing that up. That neighbour sounds just peachy (make her the lame-o).
                                                              Wasn't it a bar before? Wasn't there alot more mess & noise? Or maybe she hated it a long time ago and decided the change in business was her opportunity to be a fascist?
                                                              I wonder if they can start a counter-petition?

                                                              p.s. I gotta say, though, Mile-End hardly needs another live venue. In between Sherbrooke and Rachel is a pretty much a wasteland, otoh.
                                                              I hope they followed the Green Room/Main Hall's saga in '08 and have all the paperwork lined up to be a live venue, too.

                                                              1. re: Shattered

                                                                I am pretty sure she was a problem back then for Mile End bar.. We do have plenty of Venue places but if you could see the upstairs at Sparrow its really nice and would be a pretty cool venue place. Quite a step above Green Room in terms of decor..Although I do like Green Room.

                                                      2. re: Maximilien

                                                        Huh. They're like 20 blocks apart! Good to hear another report on The Sparrow though :) Gotta love a good scone.

                                                        1. re: Maximilien

                                                          My bf and I visited Sparrow in October specifically for the scones, when our waitress told us that they don't make them anymore. :(
                                                          She also said that they update their menu every month and may reinstate the scones. Has anyone had some recently?

                                                            1. re: kwy_li

                                                              As was posted ealier in this thread, their menu is updated weekly and can be viewed on their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/photo_search....

                                                              1. re: kwy_li

                                                                They seem to rotate the baked good they offer with jam & butter. Scones - croissant - crumpet - hopefully the scone will back soon, I agree it was delicious. Just email them or post a note on their FB group (link below) and I'm sure you'll get an answer as to when/whether it'll be back.

                                                                1. re: kwy_li

                                                                  I was there last weekend and they had the scones. I didn't think they were anything raveworthy really. The rest of the menu is more or less top notch though.

                                                                  1. re: kwy_li

                                                                    My apologies - it was crumpets, not scones :o *sheepishly backs into a corner*

                                                                2. for those interested, I received this from the Sparrow facebook account.

                                                                  "A quick note to let you know that the restaurant will be closed from Saturday August 8th until Wednesday August 26th. Pardon the hurried nature of this note but Annika has just gone into labor and we must leave. Thank you for your continued support."

                                                                  1. Congradulations to them!!!! A new chef in the budding!

                                                                    1. All this Sparrow talk finally prodded me to try the brunch - I took an out-of-town friend there this morning. We got there around 11:00 and were told there would be a 15-minute wait for a table, or we could sit at the bar. We took the bar!

                                                                      The service was friendly and attentive. We wanted to try a lot of things, and the server assured us that if we couldn't finish, we could take home a doggie bag.

                                                                      We started by sharing an excellent scone - deliciously studded with walnuts and topped with a generous, but not-too-rich, portion of clotted cream and jam.

                                                                      My friend had the eggs with chanterelles. Unfortunately the waitress forgot to mention the "over, hard" part of the order to the kitchen, and was extremely apologetic when the eggs came out sunny-side-up. They got sent back to the kitchen, and came back over, but still not hard. My friend ate them anyway, and said the mushrooms were lovely.

                                                                      I had the smoked salmon scrambled eggs, which consisted of creamy, buttery, eggs on a nice thick piece of toast, accompanied by three generous, very tasty slices of smoked salmon.

                                                                      We shared an order of bubble and squeak, which was absolutely delicious - possibly my favourite part of the whole meal. They were indeed reminiscent of the "patates" at Cosmos - soft and crispy at the same time.

                                                                      After a pause to ensure we had just a bit of room left, we finished off with an order of banana-chocolate doughnuts. Heavenly.

                                                                      The coffee was great and plentiful.

                                                                      The meal for 2 was $40 including taxes, before tip.

                                                                      I'll be back for sure!

                                                                      p.s. there seemed to be a lot of tourists around us. The waitress asked one pair how they heard about the place and I think they mentioned Chowhound, because that prompted her to say "Oh, we just had a group of 16 Chowhounders in yesterday" - to which they nodded, and said they'd already read about it!

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: kpzoo

                                                                        I have been to The Sparrow several times since it opened. It quickly became one of my favourtes! The service is impeccable, the food outstanding. But one thing I absolutely love is the cleaniness. It is remarkable. Many times I have been squeamish to say the least, in some establishments. This is probably one of the cleanest place i've ever been to. The dishes, glassware, cutlery the whole place including the bathroom. Remarkable! I thought to mention it many times since it is something many people don't really consider when recommending a place, but it was noticeable. Not to take away from the real star the FOOD! Wow! Everything we've ever tried has been a success. I am thrilled about the liquor license and pending dinner menu. Make way for the new kid in town!

                                                                        1. re: mammab

                                                                          thanks so much for sharing these details, after some reluctance based on why seek out an englishstyle breakfast in Montreal I am finally convinced and will go with family with idea to order a few dishes and know we can take home leftovers if there are any LOL, I love the idea of having mushrooms for breakfast and trying out bubble and squeak, banana chocolate donuts! Impressed with fact they smoke salmon themselves and the cleanliness comments. Suggestions very appreciated!

                                                                          1. re: wilmagrace

                                                                            The mushrooms are wild and seasonal. So go soon if you want some!

                                                                      2. Well, I finally checked it out the first time a couple months ago... but not for the food. It stays open as a bar on weekends. Very nice, very snug, almost lounge feel, good selection on tap, great soul music playing the few times I've been, and a crowd more my age (late 20s/30s). It's a fair walk for me, won't go out of my way in the winter, but it'll be my go-to when I'm in the hood (unless I feel like riding the bull, haha).

                                                                        1. i went there during the holidays with some friends for brunch and i have to say, it was amazing. The fried "timbits" were godly and i really enjoyed the french toast. What blew everybody away was the smoked salmon!!!

                                                                          One of my friends went back the next day with other friends.

                                                                          1. Does anyone know when they will reopen? I went by the other day and it said closed until January 7th so I thought I could check it out for lunch but their facebook says that they will open for brunch on January 9th. Does this mean lunch is not feasible on the 8th? I was really looking forward to going for lunch now that I am on vacation

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mtlmaven

                                                                              Why don't you msg one of the admins of the fb page?

                                                                              1. re: Shattered

                                                                                I have but have not heard back yet. Will wait and see. Thanks

                                                                            2. Does anyone know what their evening snack menu consists of and whether or not they have any 5 a 7 specials?

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jellybelly25

                                                                                I went about a month ago but was a little bit disappointed by the choice of items. When I heard gastropub I was more expecting the variety Helm has to offer.
                                                                                Ended up going for the BLT, sausage roll, fishcakes and fries that GF and me shared. The BLT had their fantastic homemade bacon, the fishcakes had a fresh salmon and dill taste, the sausage roll was a hearty pork hamburger and finally thick fries (more like chips) and homemade mayo. A very filling meal, pub grub the way it was supposed to mean. Only wished they had desserts.
                                                                                Remember to bring cash.

                                                                                  1. re: estilker

                                                                                    Yes, good to know, I tought their snack menu consisted of, well snacks. Didn't know you could make a meal out of it (Yes, I understand it won't be a great meal, more a pub type meal).

                                                                                    Sorry if I missed this info, something special beer-wise? How's the selection?

                                                                                    1. re: sweettoothMTL

                                                                                      Beer selection was standard. Mc Auslan / St Ambroise on tap.

                                                                                1. FYI, no Sparrow brunches until July 3, 2010:

                                                                                  "Today will be our final service until the 3rd of July. We are going on vacation."


                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                                                    Yowza! I didn't know that... good thing we decided to go today. My liver is still recovering from the chocolate donuts and the deviled kidneys... and those buttery crumpets.

                                                                                  2. The Sparrow stopped serving Brunch looks like the kitchen staff is moving to a new spot. I found an article here http://montrealbreakfastreview.com/sp...

                                                                                    Too bad their Brunch is no more, I hope the new place is as good.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Hungry in Montreal

                                                                                      I'm finally trying this much talked about resto tomorrow night. Any recommendations on "must try" dishes from the menu?

                                                                                      1. re: saltnpepperwhat

                                                                                        Are you talking about Sparrow or Lawrence?

                                                                                        Lawrence has its own thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750318

                                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                          I know that the chefs have moved to Lawrence... is it still worth to go to Sparrow in that case?

                                                                                          1. re: saltnpepperwhat

                                                                                            I haven't been to Sparrow since the changeover, but I just noticed on their FB page that they now do a family-style, veg-friendly all-you-can-eat brunch on the weekends. (11-3:30) Anyone tried it? https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gi...

                                                                                            More info: "The Menu is fixed and will change week to week. There will be plenty of options for Vegetarians, but plenty of Bacon too. Like at our Sugar Shack events, you can expect food and coffee as soon as you sit down with multiple courses to follow. Live musicians from week to week [...] The price is $18 for adults and $10 for kids and includes taxes and drip coffee."

                                                                                            1. re: kpzoo

                                                                                              The Sparrow does indeed have brunch back, a $18 all-you-can-eat sit-down brunch buffet with either a meat option (baked beans, sausage, biscuits, tots, eggs) or vegetarian option (frittata, tomato salad, tater tots, toast):