In the Hood – Whipporwill Restaurant & Tavern

I know the blog is usually about our DIY projects, and I sneak a bit of lifestyle in here or there. In the last few months I have been thinking about including some details/reviews of the great local business in our west end Toronto neighbourhood.

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I talked a bit about a few of them back in my walk score post, but there are a lot of great things going on in my neighbourhood, and I want to share (and in so showing you some awesome storefronts.) This will (maybe?) be a monthy feature, but we’ll see where it takes us.

First up is a new restaurant at Bloor & Lansdowne called the Whippoorwill Restaurant & Tavern. It replaced the Bloordale Pantry which was a popular brunch spot in the neighbourhood. They turned the space over in just over a week, and drastically changed the look and feel of the interior. What used to be a diner inspired space is now a cool late night lounge with a large solid wood bar and an old service center facade as a backdrop behind the bar.

We have had the pleasure of tasting both their brunch and dinner menu, as well as popping in for a happy hour pint. The food has impressed us at every turn. Eating in restaurants gluten free is a very large challenge, but the staff at Whippoorwill have made it easy as pie. The chef even discussed with me what menu items I could eat, as well as ones that could be slightly modified.

We headed in for brunch on a busy Sunday. We had to wait for a few minutes to get a table (our neighbourhood loooves brunch!) but we were welcomed at the bar and poured one of many cups of coffee. We quickly got our table, and throughout the staff was polite and quick.  I ordered bacon & eggs and simply stated that I didn’t need the toast as I was allergic. The serving staff immediately asked if I would like some corn tortillas instead. Yes that’s right, they offered a gluten free alternative without even being asked. The fresh corn tortilla chips were a great accompaniment, and went very well with their spicy n’duja braised beans.

We decided to try their very well priced drip coffee ($1.25 w/ free refills? Yes please!). For a drip coffee, it was great. The brunch prices were reasonable with nothing over $14. The bacon is house made and thick cut. I am a bacon lovin lady, and it was a big hit. The eggs were perfectly cooked, and the crispy potatoes were crispy and delish on the outside and light and fluffy inside. The portions were just the right size.

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For dinner I tried the braised lamb shoulder while El Granto went for the Whippoorwill burger. I had my lamb shoulder without the bread (although I did steal a couple of the potatoes from El Granto’s plate which were a great accompaniment.) The lamb was incredibly tender and delicious. It was the perfect dish for a cold winter’s night.

If you ask El Granto what his favourite food is, he will quickly reply “burger!” He’s not the McDonalds kinda guy, he loves him some gourmet burgers. So when he gives a big thumbs up to a burger it  must be good. We scarfed down our meal in delight and washed it down with a glass of good wine for me, and a (few) pint(s) of Guinness for El Granto. They have a small (but good) selection on tap which currently houses some Mill Street, Beau’s and Duggan’s beers, as well as a good wine selection.  They have an incredible cocktail menu that dares you to try each one. One thing I would like to see is some cider on their menu, but that’s just the gluten free person in me talking.

All in all its a great addition to the hood, and a spot we will be frequenting for both meals and beverages. I am excited to try out their late night snack menu, and seeing what the night life is like. Next time you’re in the hood, be sure to check it out.

Author: Kristen

Kristen & her husband El Granto & their Vizsla Odin live in a converted Storefront in downtown Toronto.

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