Had dinner last night at the new restaurant Beast (96 Tecumseth, former location of Amuse Bouche). Started with the Scallops (ceviche style with pickled celery) and Soft Shell Crab with Foie Gras. Both terrific. For mains we had the Beast Burger and the Spot Prawns with Sweetbreads. Everything was delicious. Pricing is reasonable for quantity/quality....dinner for two with cocktails to start and a bottle of wine was $130 before tip. Very friendly and knowledgeable service.
Finally had a chance to check out Beast and I must say that it was one of my most favourite dinners out in recent memory. The food was wonderful and the service was professional, friendly and so very welcoming.
Beyond the quality of the food and service, I find it's often the little things that make all the difference, for better and for worse. For me, Beast got all of the little things right. From my initial calls to make and reschedule our reservation, I could tell that front of house personality was a huge priority. In perusing the wine list, and being not such a huge drinker, I was pleased to see 10 or 12 wines of each colour by the glass as well as the option of 3 and 6 ounce flights paired with every single dish. The complimentary breads, baked by one of the owners (husband and wife), were presented on a little bread board - 2 poppy seed "cornettes" and a thick slice of bread that somehow married the dough of a challah with the flaky, buttery crust of a croissant. With soft butter. Sublime. And at the end of the meal, there is a Sam James coffee menu together with a wonderful selection of loose leaf teas, including ones seen less often like genmaicha.
As for the big stuff - every single dish had exemplary flavours and textures and was perfectly executed. Lamb ribs with crispy skin and vinegary barbeque sauce sat on a slice of corn bread with creamy, crunchy cole slaw. Yum. Pork belly french onion soup with gruyere was a bowl full of warming broth with gooey melted tangy cheese. Greaseless crisped sweetbreads, with a cornmeal coating (I think?) and a piquant sauce - fantastic. And an al dente chickpea stew that was light and full of flavour.
The recent "sticky toffee pudding" thread had pushed me over the edge and it was the one part of the meal we had decided on before stepping foot in the place. As the dish arrived, my husband exclaimed said "Whoa - that's a big pudding ball". And it was - a large, sticky, cakey ball of goodness swimming in a deep, deep pool of buttery, sugary, rich goodness. After the first bite, our whole bodies kind of trembled in a state of rich, sugar shock but yet we were unable to restrain ourselves. We had to take a few breaks along the way but the bowl was empty when we were done.
Overall, it was a superb and flawless meal. And I think our (pre-tip) bill was something like $110, including a few glasses of wine. Tremendous value. The owners seem like incredibly lovely people. Can't wait to go back and can't recommend this place enough.
re: peppermint pate
re: peppermint pate
Not yet!! My list of places to go has expanded to a gastronomical size (at the same rate as my waistline! Why must New Zealand be so delicious?). That, and life has been quite hectic...but when I do I will report back. Better yet, if I actually have a free evening at the end of March (when I return to Toronto) perhaps I'll post an all-call on the CH group for some pudding-time. ;)
Hi ekim - I've never tried the malva pudding at Weezie's so I can't compare. It certainly rivals the one I had at Starfish last year but comparisons aside, it stands on its own as one of the most ridiculously yummy and rich foods I've eaten in a long time. Don't even attempt it on your own - share with at least one other person and prepare to enter sticky, sweet, scrumptious nirvana. I'll look forward to one of your great reviews when you finally get back here and try it. Hope you're safe in New Zealand today...
Went there for dinner on Saturday and had a great time due to a combination or amazing service staff and a great meal. My partner and I shared the poutine (a play on poutine with gnocchi instead of the fries), the smoked beef brisket and the strip loin of beef. We had the toffee pudding and ice cream to share for dessert. Especially enjoyed the poutine and the sticky toffee. Good portion sizes - was great for sharing and did not feel over stuffed when we left. Also felt that the place was very reasonably priced. Overall a great experience
I went to Beast for brunch too - it was decent but I wasn't wow'ed for the price. I feel like it's more of a dinner spot than a brunch place...which I suspected, but I'd need to really save up for a $130 dinner. Also, not a complaint but I thought I'd note that the online menu is slightly different than the one we got in person.
Kouign Amann 8
chocolate sauce, fresh fruit
The pastry was like a very dense, buttery croissant. It had a decent dough-y bite, and was nice, caramelized, and crispy on the outside. Coupled with decadent chocolate sauce and fruit, it was a deliciously sweet start to our meal.
7 year aged cheddar, bacon, & tater tots 12
The ground beef was very tasty and the egg was wonderfully runny when pierced. The patty was cooked all the way through, which was a tad disappointing - I was hoping for a nice, pink middle that TorontoJo reported. All of our Beast burgers came out medium, and I wish that I specified that I wanted it medium-rare. Tater tots! These little crispy bites of potato were oh-so-good.
Pig’s Head Pasta 12
agnolotti, pea shoots, egg yolk
Arriving with a generous serving of very finely grated cheese, the pig head was served as chunks over the pasta. I liked the pork, especially the bits of cheek which were nicely braised, and the pea shoots made for pretty plating. Each agnolotti was filled with cheese - Definitely not my favourite but I don't like too much cheese
Smoked Sockeye Salmon Hash 14
sunny side up egg, pancetta, leeks
The potatoes were perfect - soft but not mushy, each forkful was tasty with bites of salmon. Overall this was a nice breakfast dish the over-easy egg was also nicely done - the yolk happily spilled over the eggs and the flavours blended well together.
Pork Belly Benny 14
poached eggs, caraway hollandaise, english muffin
This was a bit of a let down. I love Eggs Benedict - especially because every restaurant serves it a little different. I poked the egg and was disappointed when yolk didn't come spilling out. The pork belly was unfortunately also overdone...by a lot. The hollandaise was a surprise - it had a mustard-y flavour which is completely different than what I was expecting.
Huevos Rancheros 12
scrambled egg, chorizo sausage, feta cheese
This arrived on a crispy corn tortilla and although fellow brunchers shrugged and said it was nothing special, I really enjoyed it. There wasn't too much cheese, just enough to mingle with the salsa and eggs and the tortilla was thick enough that it stayed crispy during the meal. Yum.
The service was friendly and very patient (we were a bit slow to start).The patio would be great if the weather is nice. I suspect that dinner is the best way to get the true Beast experience - they even offer an $80 tasting menu.
While tasty it didn't leave with the smile that Le Petit Dejeuner and Hoof Cafe impressed for that price. If you're in the area, I say it's still worth a try esp for the Kouign Amann and a good mug of coffee. I eyed another bruncher's challah French Toast...it looked super good, and if I were to return that'd probably be my pick. However, I think that I'd rather try their dinner first!
Le Petit Dejeuner
191 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J5, CA
96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J, CA
They're up and running now. A sign on the menu board said they were opening last Thursday, but I saw it was open as of last Wednesday (that night may have been their soft opening for family/friends or something). There is a menu posted outside the restaurant - states it will change weekly - but it's not on the website yet. I have reservations for next Thursday, and will report back as well.
I was here for brunch today and really liked it! We had the duck confit and huevos with the kouign amann and everyone liked the food. I probably liked the kouign amann best, I'd never heard of it before. Photos of what we ate here: http://welovebrunch.blogspot.com/2010...
I found the prices to be reasonable too. We each had a (non-alcoholic) drink, main and split the dessert and it was a little over $70 after tax and tip for three of us. I'd like to return either for brunch or to try out dinner, we had a very positive experience.