On Sunday, GC and I headed down to King West to have brunch at Weslodge.
We choose Weslodge for a few reasons:
- It opens late for brunch and thus, you avoid ridiculous brunch lineups without having to wake up ridiculously early. We didn’t get home the night before until 3 in the morning and thus, our typical weekend efficiency was delayed a few hours. We arrived at around 1 o’clock and the restaurant was half empty.
- It is on the constantly referenced Blog T.O. Top 50 Brunch list. As we have worked our way through this list, we give less and less authority to it. 50 is a very ambitious number for a list especially for referencing best brunches in a city that has a constantly changing restaurant scene. However, we have come too far on the list to give up on it now. We only have 9 more restaurants to try and my goal (if my waistline does not protest too much) is finish this list off by the end of January 2015.
- The restaurant looks really cool. The signage is marquee style lighting and the inside looks like a mix between an old-Victorian house/hipster saloon/Prohibition bar. We would learn that it was obviously the main focus of the restaurant rather than the food.
We were seated at a large booth with too deep seating paired with too high of a table. This seems like such a small detail to notice and care about but it makes for awkward dining. When you eat out far too much, you notice these things. The décor is very hipster cool: lots of interesting and vintage elements that have no relationship to one another. The walls are a hunter green, donned with animal busts and small taxidermied birds, and Victorian portraits. The bar has a Prohibition pub vibe to it, with a chalkboard of cocktails. The servers have holsters over the shoulders which I can only assume should hold pads of paper for taking orders but they were empty. Weslodge is suffering from an identity crisis: are you my Victorian grandmother’s house, a saloon in the Wild, Wild West or a speakeasy?
This identity crisis translates into the menu. Given the décor, you would assume the menu would channel British flavours and dishes, like the Queen & Beaver. However, the menu lacks consistency. There are Scotch eggs, house made English muffins and croquettes to start, which are all very British however, then there is fried chicken, schnitzel, and crispy shrimp rolls on the menu. SORT YOUR LIFE OUT. In trying to cover a gamut of flavours and styles, Weslodge fails to do anything particularly well. The execution is okay, but given the price tag of the meal and the attempt at creativity you are obviously expecting and wanting more.
We both started off with a Scotch Egg.
The Scotch Egg with chorizo, tomato jam and black truffle.
This was delicious but when is a Scotch Egg ever not? It was served slightly warm and nestled in a bed of spicy tomato jam. I loved this tomato jam. It would be a welcome addition to my breakfast table. The flavour of the black truffle was unapparent but the salty yolkiness made up for this. The egg was a quail egg and added that little bit of richness that traditionally comes with quail eggs due to the size of the yolk. This Scotch egg is listed as one of Toronto Life’s top 5 Scotch eggs in the city, a list I plan to conquer.
GC ordered the Fried Chicken.
Fried Chicken with jalapeno cheddar biscuit, white gravy and jalapeno hot sauce.
I believe this is on the menu in the attempt to emulate a saloon but it’s not working. The chicken was fried well: it was crispy on the outside but juicy and full-cooked on the inside without being burnt. It was boneless which is an added bonus when one is trying to slice through fried chicken with a fork and a knife. The biscuit was flavourless and dense, two qualities a biscuit, particularly one with jalapeno and cheese, should not be. There was not nearly enough gravy on this, and this is coming from someone who can do without gravy (shocking, yes, I know). The jalapeno hot sauce was more of a chutney and was not spicy.
Overall, stick with fried chicken and waffles elsewhere; Maybe SCHOOL or Stockyard’s just to name a few of my favourites.
GC also had the side order of the Maple Bourbon Bacon.
The menu claims this is supposed to be thick cut but as you can see, it is obviously not. The bacon was crispy, slightly sweet and salty. It was good but I would have preferred slightly thicker bacon, especially when the menu claims this is how it will be served.
I ordered the Eggs Benny (I know there should be an apostrophe there but I am be true to the grammatically incorrect menu).
The Eggs Benny with house English muffin, lamb bacon, hollandaise and mizuna.
Looking at this makes me depressed. When it was brought to the table I pouted a little. This is the smallest, most underwhelmingly sad looking thing I have ever seen. The English muffins were tiny, dense and nearly impossible to cut through. Restaurants should not highlight something being house made if the quality is not great and this was the case with this English muffin. Now, to be fair, the best English muffin I have ever eaten was at Gordon Ramsay’s York and Albany in London (yums) and it probably doesn’t get much better than that but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
I was intrigued by lamb bacon because it was something different and therefore should be tried but I shouldn’t have. The bacon leathery, it was almost jerky like. As lamb is lean, why would you use it to make delicious, normally fatty bacon? Fail.
The eggs were not poached the same way. One was poached hard and therefore did not ooze slowly over everything on my plate. The second egg was poached perfectly but I cannot overlook two inconsistently poached eggs. The hollandaise was bland and boring.
The side of greens were good but did I go out for brunch to eat salad? No.
I wasn’t impressed with Weslodge. It is underwhelming food at an expensive price. The menu lacked the substance and creativity it was trying to go for. My suggestion: go for a Scotch egg and a cocktail. I can only assume it will be good because can you really mess up booze?