124 Ossington Avenue
So what do Carmen (@carmenhungry), Grace(@foodinthecityTO), Jessica (@wherejessate), Vickie (@kiki_BFF), and I, have in common? Let's not jump to the most obvious two answers in relation to our genders and ethnicities here! Give up? Turns out, we've all never been to Bellwoods Brewery (@bellwoodsbeer) before, and it has been on our restaurant radars for a while!
So a little while back (yes, I'm still extremely delayed on these posts, I apologize!) the five of us girls headed over to Toronto's newest brewpub (opened just this April) in the Ossington area to see what their beer and snacks menu had to offer.
If I wasn't paying attention, I think I could've easily walked passed this place. The outside is entirely stark white, and looks more like a garage than a food establishement. There definitely aren't any huge flashing signs to signal that you've arrived at Bellwoods Brewery.
But once you walk in, you'll know you're at the right place. My first impression was that it's very...hipster-ish. The neutral pastel colour scheme along with the chalk boards remind me of an old fashioned school house. All the servers are wearing some sort of flannel or suspenders, which added to my initial impressions. For a second it made me forget that we were in the heart of downtown Toronto. That is of course until I looked outside and was reminded by all the noisy streetcars and traffic passying by.
The majority of the restaurant is occupied by the microbrewery equipment at the back with limited space left over for the tables, bar, and kitchen. For a table of five, we waited a good 40 minutes. It doesn't go by too painfully with a beer in your hand though.
Farmhouse Saison 6% ($7.5)
All the beer offered at Bellwoods primarily brewed on site. Never having tried anything from this microbrewery, I settled on whichever the waitress suggested as the most popular beer. Can't go wrong with that, right? This ends up being the Farmhouse Saison It's relatively clean and easy drinking. Someone looking for a heavier beer can try the Witchshark IIPA offering 9% alcohol goodness. I had one sip of Grace's, and trust me you can definitely taste the jump in alcohol content.
A cozy candle-lit table
By the time we sit down at our table, we were all starved. Perhaps not the best way to approach a restaurant that serves snacks and drinks. The menu is split up into three categories: Bar Snacks, Sticks, and Plates. We were quick to decide that we could probably polish off one of everything from the last two categories, and off our order went to the ktichen.
Pig Heart ($4) -Serrano hot sauce
cucumber($3) -paprika and garlic ($3)
Potato ($3)-with warm anchoy mayo
Lamb Tongue($4)-walnut and raisin
Wheat Kernels($9) -hen of the woods, chickweed
Duck ($15)-hop shoots and beet
Raw Beef ($10)- with sour vegetables
Crispy Pork ($9)– pea shoots, rehydrated peanuts, mustard sauce
Let me start off by saying I liked the snacks. The plates are a little bit pricey, but they were esquistely prepared and most importantly agreeable to the palette! The Raw Beef with Sour Vegetables is a must order for anyone who appreciates a nice carpacio, and the Duck with Hop shoots and Beet is one deliciously prepared dish, full of dimension and flavour. If you're thinking of ordering anything from the sticks category, I'd stick with carnivorous options. I wasn't a fan of the cucumber and potato sticks; a bit bland, and didn't great to go with with beer. Afterall, the beer should be the main character here, right? The meat sticks however, are worthy of a try. At $4 a pop, the Pig Heart with Serrano hot saucewas deliciously marinated, and the Lamb Tongue with walnut and raisin was tender and nicely balanced in textures (the crunchy bits and the mayo did it for me!).
I want to add that coming here with the appetite for a dinner meal was probably a terrible mistake. Despite leaving half full, I was still all smiles about the experience. It encompasses everything you look for in a nice relaxing spot. The atmosphere is casually cozy, the snacks are beautifully prepared and plated, and the focal point of it all: the beer, is definitely worthy of an order. Will definitely be back for another ocassion! :)