Every six months a ‘licous’ rolls around with the tantalizing opportunity to sample something new, perhaps delicious, at an untried local Toronto restaurant.
This summer, we choose Weslodge Saloon, a short jaunt west along King Street, past Spadina. I’ve paused at Weslodge on a couple of occasions, checking out their menu. While it always grabs my attention, I never really feel compelled to go in. The prices strike me as a bit too high for the fare. Summerlicious is the perfect circumstance to taste the menu and prove me wrong.
I choose chickpea panelle, Wagyu roast beef sandwich and whipped panna cotta.Panelle, a deep-fried fritter made with besan, or chickpea flour, can be served as an appetizer or a side to a main course. Weslodge presents dainty, bite-sized crisp morsels, lightly salted. The creamy interior contrasts with fresh microgreens and a crunchy Jalapeño pickle. Finely grated smoked cheddar enhances the besan’s earthliness.
Next, a Waygu roast beef sandwich, not found anywhere on their regular menu. Waygu refers to cattle bred to have intense fatty marbling throughout; Waygu-style farms are found in Alberta and Prince Edward Island. Wonder if this beef was sourced from either of these locations? There is so much promise for this beefy dish with its salsa verde, cabbage and pickled mustard seeds served on thin, toasted rye bread. Before I taste the meat, I struggle to saw my way through a crust so hard that I can’t easily cut it, even with a serrated knife! The beef reminds me of a mild corned beef, but much drier. Pickled mustard seeds pop with little vinegar bursts – these are the stars of the plate. Piping hot chubby fries, fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, are served with a fruity, plummy in-house ketchup. I’d get the fries again, not the beef.
The name of the dessert is misleading. Panna cotta is a chilled, molded dessert. This is not that. Two cubes of lightly ginger-spiced, moist honey cake are garnished with tiny cubes of fresh apple, a luxurious smear of caramel and stale candied walnuts. Whipped panna cotta has a delightful and comforting vanilla flavour, but the texture is like a heavy whipped cream. Not a panna cotta as advertised. Whipped or not.
Some elements on this menu were pretty good but not enough to get me to return. Hurray for Summerliscious! I checked out the menu and didn’t spend a fortune.
480 King Street West
Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5:30 pm to close
Saturday 5:30 pm to close
Sunday 11 am-3 pm and 5:30 pm to close