Toronto, ON M4S 2M5
The midtown neighbourhood around Belsize and Mount Pleasant has a new local. When the Longest Yard closed this spring, John Oakes, the owner of the Harbord House took over the lease and gave it a new name and updated concept.
“We’re just trying to be a great local spot in the neighbourhood,” Oakes says and goes on to add, “we’re a gastropub focusing on local craft beers and homemade comfort food.”
His house-made country pork terrine ($12) is one of Chef Fu’s favourite dishes from the menu’s Beginnings section. (IMAGE: DAVID ORT)
To lead the kitchen, Oakes hired chef Jimmy Fu, who comes off recent stints with Skin & Bones and The Gabardine. Before that, he ran the kitchen operation for Real Food for Real Kids, an organization that applies a sustainable ethic to catering approximately 14,000 meals, every day, for YMCA daycares and other community facilities.
Fu says that Harbord House regulars will recognize many of the meal-sized salads that have been brought over to the Belsize menu with minor tweaks. He also notes that burgers have been especially popular this summer and they grind the beef for them on site, every day.
The lamb sausage ($18) is made in house and served with warm lentils, Brussels sprouts and marinated peppers. (IMAGE: DAVID ORT)
The beer menu expresses its legit craft credentials by stretching from recognizable taps like Beau’s Lugtread and Muskoka Detour IPA to more advanced options like Great Lakes’ My Bitter Wife IPA and Royal City’s Hibiscus Saison.
With one exception, the tap list is all-Ontario and also includes one on-cask option. (IMAGE: DAVID ORT)
Oakes has a cottage near Boshkung Brewing Co. in Minden Hills and after happening on their tasting bar last summer insisted on being the first Toronto restaurateur to carry their North Country Kellerbier.
Weekends bring brunch features like variations on eggs Benedict and a classic all-day breakfast. They take reservations for the space that includes 45 seats on the patio and 65 inside.
Published on: Aug 18, 2016