I wouldn’t say I believe in polygamy, but I do understand the appeal of wanting to have little tastes of a variety of things.
Hmm. Too much?
If bites of this and that are up your alley, you’ll want to visit the Winchester Kitchen and Bar in Cabbagetown. This little restaurant-bar is actually steeped in history: it’s said that Al Capone used to stay in the building when it used to be the Winchester Hotel).
But anyway – on to the food. As mentioned earlier, the Winchester offers a variety of small and big plates, as well as a five course prix fixe. I love the idea of tapas and small plates, and they certainly offer quite a variety.
We ordered a couple of dishes from the ‘small’ section of the menu – the Cast Iron Calamari ($12) and BLT Poutine ($14) – as well as a side of Brussels Sprouts ($5). Bigger dishes include Steak Frites, Beef Tenderloin, and Risotto.
(apologies for the poor photos!)
The BLT poutine was bigger than we expected, and contained numerous chunks of tender, sweet pork belly. I felt it could have done with a few more cheese curds, but the pancetta and pork belly scattered throughout made up for it. I found the arugula that was piled on top a little odd – it didn’t ruin the dish or anything, but it wasn’t adding anything to it either.
My calamari looked simple enough – just what looked to be boiled calamari in a tomato-based broth – but more of those delicious piggy chunks were in this dish too, in the form of chorizo. The chorizo was really tasty, and the broth was delicious when scooped up with some bread, but the calamari was just a tiny bit over-cooked.
The pig theme carried over to our side of sprouts – double smoked bacon was in the dish, and the sprouts themselves contained a similar wonderfully smokey flavour. Little kids would have no trouble eating these greens!
We also grabbed a new-to-us beer (the Flying Monkeys Dark Ale) which was fantastic. It was good to see a local craft brewery being represented, although I would have liked to see a full beer list included on the menu.
Service was friendly throughout the night, and we both felt the menu was well-priced. The ambiance, however, was a little off. I feel like the space could be brightened up a little bit, and the interior is laid out a bit strangely (there’s a really big space between the bar area and the tables, but it’s not quite a dance floor, it’s not quite standing room for the bar…it’s just ‘there’).
You may be a one-woman kinda guy, but I guarantee the Winchester’s small plates will get you thinking…
Winchester Kitchen & Bar
51 Winchester St
Toronto (Parliament & Wellesley)
We were a guest of the Winchester Kitchen & Bar. Thanks for having us, guys! This was an unpaid review.