This edition of the Toronto Restaurant Review features a Roncesvalles restaurant inspired by Chef Geoff Hopgood’s Maritime up-bringing. Hopgoods Foodliner describes the restaurant on their website as serving ‘Contempory East Coast Comfort’ and having lived in Greenwood, Nova Scotia for a little while, I couldn’t agree more.
The moment you walk in the door, you’re given a warm greeting, your coat is taken and hung up and you’re offered a spot to get comfortable (if one is available). I should warn you, it’s a popular place so reservations are a good idea. I’ve been lucky with walk ins so far – but you don’t want to be disappointed. If there is a spot at the bar, I highly recommend grabbing that. Everyone who works there seems to be super friendly (it must be a pre-requisite). And it’s a great way to find out more about the interesting creations and always fun to watch the mixologists at work.
Opening Hours: Thursday – Monday, 6 – 11pm
After a few visits, I’ve managed to try just about everything on the menu so here are two of my favourites:
Hot Crab Dip & Triscuits – yes, I said Triscuits. The saltiness of the cracker and the sweetness of the crab create a really wonderful experience, somewhat reminiscent of the 80′s house party but taken to a whole new level. I had read in an older review that the dip was too creamy – but I found it perfect.
Braised Veal Cheek, Turnips & Hazelnuts – the veal cheek has been pickled like a cottage roll, then braised. It absolutely melts in your mouth while delivering an intense flavour that is well matched with the tiny turnips and hazelnuts.
Each time I go, I always try the specials – no sense in teasing you with what they were – because they were specials and won’t be there when you go. But I’m never disappointed, always something unique and slightly unexpected.
Now for the absolute high light – DESSERT. If you love dessert like I do, I’d suggest one person order the Butterscotch Bourbon Pudding, the other order the Carrot Cake and take the Crispy Toffee to go. They are all so delicious – it’s so hard to choose.
I got to tell you, Hopgoods Foodliner completely caught my eye via social media – tons of mentions on Facebook, tweets about the cocktails, the food… I’d walked past the restaurant before, but the outside is so understated, I never really noticed it. Eventually, after seeing enough buzz online – I decided to google it and found out that not only is the atmosphere warm and friendly, the food amazing, but Chef Hopgood sources fresh, sustainable seafood, heritage raised local meats and organic farm fresh produce for his playful and interesting creations. Immediately, I knew I needed to give it a try.
It’s certainly my go to place in Roncesvalles these days…