With Toronto rapidly increasing its craft beer clout, you would think Burdock is just another brewery/gastro pub. With newly opened Mascot Brewery, a April 2016 opening for Henderson Brewery and brewers like Lost Cause taking over taps across the city you may worry about an over saturation hops and barley. Fortunately for Burdock they have an ace up their sleeve.
Let’s start with the basics. Burdock is first and foremost a brewery. Relying on the experts of Brewery Operations Manager and Co-Owner Matt Park, this small space of gleaming silver tanks is putting out 9 to 10 creative, high quality beers. Available at a few restaurants and by bottle in their small shop it is worth the trip to Bloordale just to try the creativeness of their beers. Sours, wheats, pale ales, you name it and they are doing something adventurous with the style.
With the beer in expert hands it’s no surprise the restaurant is too. A narrow space that can seat up to 70, with a 8-10 person communal table, the dim lighting is brightened with drop fixtures and mason jar centerpieces. Simple decor, fresh plants and refurbished mosaic tiles from the previous occupants allows guests to focus undistracted on the dishes coming from the kitchen.
Helmed by Chef Jeremy Dennis (Woodlot, Chantecler), the menu is small but changes on an almost daily basis. Example in point, the food I tried while visiting is probably not on the menu anymore. As a former Woodlot baker, Dennis has brought to Burdock the gorgeous fresh bread that makes his former work place famous as well as a creative edge that his new residency encourages wholly. His focuses on local, fresh ingredients caters to all food preferences.
Despite the stellar beer and outstanding food Burdock could get lost in the Brewpub wilderness if not for their final piece of the puzzle. When Burdock took over the space from a former Portuguese chicken joint they split the space in half. And through a door to the left of the dining room is a brand new, expertly custom built music hall. Booker’s Charlotte Cornfield and Adrian Underhill are also musicians who understand exactly what works in live venues and this acoustically isolated space is a performers dream. Currently booking around 5 shows a week up to 90 people can rock out while diners next door don’t hear a thing.
I will never be one to say there are too many craft brewpubs in city especially when creative menus and spaces continue to be the standard. And whether you go for the music, food or beer you should definitely check out Burdock
1184 Bloor St West