I am on a mission to eat an authentic dish from every country in the world, right here in Toronto. You can find all past recaps here.
Today we’re talking about England (and Wales), pip pip!
I know that England and Wales are actually part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain along with Northern Ireland and Scotland, but I really want to save those two to eat separately. The more comfort food I can eat from across the pond the happier I will be (although I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to eat haggis, but we’ll see).
For England I met up with my mates Casey, Michelle and Shanondoah (the bloggers and lagers aka the bloggers formerly known as the bloggers and joggers) at the Queen and Beaver Public House downtown Toronto.
I’ve been here a few times and every time I’ve loved it. My first time was with Harry Potter several years ago — wait, I should explain this. Not actually Harry Potter as in Daniel Radcliffe, but Harry Potter from Potted Potter. We became friends when he was performing Potted Potter here in 2012, because I wrote in my blog after I saw his show that I thought he looked stoned in the promo picture, which he then found while looking up reviews. He tweeted me and it went from there (he wasn’t stoned for the record, Potted Potter’s not about that, it’s all seven Harry Potter books in 70 hilarious minutes). Anyway, Harry Potter lives in London and said this was the most British place he could find in Toronto SO, I trust his judgment. I’ve never been to Britain (one day!) but to me it looks pretty British in there.
I suspect very much like a British grandmother’s house.
Actually, I had a British grandmother (my mother’s mother) but I can’t remember what her house looked like so I’m just guessing. The downstairs of the Queen and Beaver is more restaurant-y and the upstairs is more of a pub, which is where my friends and I sat.
These pictures are all from their website – that was not happening while we were there. Looks like a time, though.
My pictures are all super dark so bear with me. I was in the mood for a British cocktail so I ordered the Fitzgerald with Beefeater gin (authentic!), lemon juice, bitters and simple syrup.
I don’t know if you can tell from that picture but that drink was tinier than Trump’s hands. It packed a punch though, I really enjoyed it.
Casey and Michelle both started their British adventure with Scotch eggs.
A hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and coated with bread crumbs and then baked or deep-fried. According to Wikipedia, the London department store Fortnum & Mason claims they invented Scotch eggs in 1738, but they may have been inspired from a different recipe. The only time I’ve had Scotch eggs before has been at the Queen & Beaver before and they’re seriously delicious.
Since I have tried Scotch eggs, I started with the Welsh rabbit.
Also called Welsh rarebit because there is no actual rabbit in the Welsh rabbit. I’m glad someone told me that because I totally thought I was about to eat rabbit. Nope! Just toast covered with melted cheese and some other spices like paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard, Worcestershire. It had a little kick to it for sure. Melted cheese on toast is pretty much my favourite snack of all time so naturally I loved it.
For my main dish I tried to order the steak and kidney suet pudding, but unfortunately they were all out. Bugger. Instead I went with bangers and mash, because I figure you can’t go wrong with bangers and mash. With stout-onion gravy!
I posted this on my Instagram yesterday and Evan saw it and was all “that looks so gross I can’t believe you would post that,” welp I’m sorry but it’s sausages and they’re not photogenic. The sausages are house made and the entire dish was SO SO delicious. No meal regrets here, I ate every bite.
I was wondering where the term “bangers” came from so I looked it up — during World War I when there was a meat shortage, sausages were made with such a high water content that they were likely to pop under high heat, hence a banger. The more you know!
Casey ordered the cider corned duck and potato pie
She said it was the dog’s bollocks (ie – really fantastic).
Michelle got the shepherd’s pie with English peas.
Super British. The shepherd’s pie was traditional lamb — we tend to eat shepherd’s pie with beef in Canada, but that is actually called cottage pie. I can’t remember what Doah ordered but it was less photogenic than my bangers and mash, but loved it, too. We all raved about our meals.
I was pretty full but I needed a real English dessert. I saw the British classic sticky toffee pudding on the menu and knew that was it for me.
Moist sponge cake with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream. Blimey it was SO. GOOD. I was absolutely stuffed after that, like so much that I felt ill for a bit afterwards but I don’t even care because it was all so good.
So that’s England, and bob’s your uncle.