Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hopgood's Foodliner

Roncesvalles (otherwise known as "The Roncy") has been known as a predominantly Polish area on the west end of Toronto. However, in recent years, it's been steadily gaining a reputation as a foodie haven with  a whole bunch of restaurants opening up in the area.
Hopgood's Foodliner was number 3 on Joanne Kate's Top 100 of 2012 and I couldn't wait to try their East Coast comfort food:
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The server was super knowledgable about the food and the specials. So much so, that we ordered 3 of the specials to start:
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Chicharrón
It was a huge piece of crispy and flavoured pork rind. I really liked the playful presentation of it; it made it easier for everyone got to snap off a piece of the crackling to try.

Crown Bacon
Crown bacon
Crown bacon is pieces of thinly sliced meat from the head of the pig. It looked a little like pancetta but it wasn't cured and it was a rather fatty cut of pork. It was really good and eating it with the garnishes made for a nice combination of textures and flavours. 

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Tuna Special
The tuna special came with crackers, seared tuna, egg yolk, shallots, capers and crème fraîche. It looked pretty simple, but when you combine all the ingredients together - there was just something about it that worked really well. Really delish!

Crispy Squid
Crispy Squid
An Asian inspired squid dish with sweet and sour sauce, zucchini and potato balls, a hint of jalapeños and toasted sesame seeds on top. There was definitely a spicy kick to this dish that I didn't expect when I saw "Crispy Squid" on the menu. 

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Halifax Donairs
Our server gave us a little history of Donairs in Halifax: when the Lebanese settlers first established themselves in Canada, they didn't have access to tahini like they did in the Middle East. Therefore, they had to improvise and the Halifax Lebanese created their own version of the white sauce popular on donairs. I've liked donairs (also known as doner kebabs) ever since I've had it in Berlin. This version was really delicious with tomatoes, beef, pork and a nice light white sauce. Chef Hopgood's donairs are probably the best I've had in Toronto - definitely a must try here.

Overall: Fantastic food with a great menu of classic dishes and adventurous options (smoked sweetbreads anyones?) and great service. In the words of one of my favourite TV shows: "You've gotta eat here!"

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