Having opened just over month ago, Weslodge is the latest collaboration between Charles Khabouth (INK Entertainment) and Hanif Harji (ICON Legacy Hospitality). You won't be able to miss the bright yellow doors while trying to spot this resto in Toronto's King West neighbourhood.
The interior reminds us of an old library-meets-modern saloon, designed by Alessandro Munge and his team at Munge Leung. Look for rich leather banquette seating, random taxidermy, vintage photographs and swinging saloon doors on the way to the loo.
In the kitchen, is executive chef Stuart Cameron (Kultura, Nyood) and chef de cuisine Kanida Chey (Kultura, Flow, Origin). The menu showcases a modern interpretation of traditional game meats - like bison and buffalo tartare. The bread, cured meats and Weslodge's signature relish and ketchup are all made in-house and the freezer is only used to store ice cream.
The Scotch Egg ($5) is to die-for and it left me wanting seconds, so you might want to order two or opt not to share. The Weslodge version uses a smaller quail egg (served runny) which is wrapped in a layer of chorizo sausage, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried to golden perfection. It then rests on a bed of tomato jam and garnished with a decadent black truffle. It's the second-best Scotch egg I've had after Rye Restaurant in Brooklyn. Anyone else know of other places with a stellar Scotch egg that I need to try?
The Duck Bacon ($6) was a unique must-try for us. It's crispy like regular pork bacon, but not as fatty or salty - but definitely satisfying with a subtle duck flavour.
What's not to love about The Homemade English Muffins with Italian Butter ($4)? Sure, it's a bit pricey for what is essentially two pieces of bread - but it was a nice warm start to our meal. Crunchy and toasted on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Served on a warm slate platter.
An intriguing option off the menu was the House-Made Merguez Lamb Sausage ($6). Not quite in the traditional sausage shape that you would expect, the merguez arrives in fancy rectangles. I found it well-seasoned, with a hearty lamb flavour and a little bit oily from the pan-frying. It was still great to try, but I would probably not order it again.
For my main, I ordered the Eggs Benny ($13) with Ontario smoked trout, Hollandaise sauce and Japanese mustard greens. The smoked trout was soft and flaky and a nice change from the usual smoked salmon that you find on most brunch menus. The eggs were perfectly poached and runny on the inside and arrived on a homemade English muffin. Would definitely order this again. Sides are extra, so if you're trying to keep it light stick with just the benny, otherwise order a side of Duck Bacon + Fingerling Potatoes with Truffle Vinaigrette ($6).
The Schnitzel ($16) is a Parmesan-breaded pork cutlet topped with a fried egg and an arugula salad. The meat was very tender, fresh and juicy. It was lovely cutting into the over easy egg and having it smother the pork - in happy harmony. This one was a clear winner.
The pastries are not made on-site but they did look delectable. A selection of croissants, pain au chocolat, plum or peach danishes and blueberry tarts were on offer.
A vintage box storing bitters are just some of the thoughtful details at Weslodge. Don't mind the taxidermy while you're eating. Lots of ducks, flying birds and deer heads are just hanging out.
The kitchen is situated at the back of the restaurant with a window into the Weslodge team hard at work (top). View from the private dining mezzanine and at the cool globe lighting fixtures that circle around the middle of the restaurant (top right).
480 King Street West at Spadina, Toronto (416) 274-8766
Brunch is currently served on Sundays only. We found it pretty easy to get a table and sailed right in. Because the only thing worst then a hangover is lining up for brunch on a Sunday.