Monday, April 2, 2012

Restaurant Review: Kilt and Harp

This review could be called the Suzanna's face lift.  Suzanna's was the restaurant that existed previously just east of the Woodbine subway stop on the Danforth.  It was a greasy spoon that my wife and I had gone to a few times.  Hangover food served in the morning, hangover makers served in the afternoon.

This was a working class neighbourhood and to some extent still is.  There is a lot of people who still work at the traditional blue collar jobs mixed with artists and the encroaching young families.  This strip which is invariably called destitute, decrepit and other 'd' all meaning dump in restaurant reviews misses out on what this strip and the parallel strip travelling Gerrard is all about.  It is about the people living in these areas.  

On Gerrard, there is the beginnings of a resurgence with GAS (Gerrard Art Space) and Tea n Bannock opening soon while along Danforth, east African restaurants and hookah shops ply their trade.  All this to try and explain what the Kilt and Harp is working with.

Firstly, the Scottish name is just that, a name.  Nothing Scottish here.  When we visited, there were a number of televisions, half tuned to a fishing channel and the other half with the information screen for turning on the satellite set.  There are high stools at narrow tables.  Black wainscoting is topped with deep red walls.  A couple with school aged kids was talking to another neighbourhood dad while some friends caught up behind us.  While we were drinking, a couple of young lads fresh from a day's work, still in their work clothes came in and had a pint.  A sign in the window asking for a cook warned us off trying to ask for a menu which was good because no menu was offered.

There are 12 taps with mostly similar tasting stuff: Rolling Rock, Budweiser, Canadian, Foster's, Sleeman, Rickard's Red, and Sleeman's all make an appearance.  Some of the others that we offered without irony (but non-ironic has become the new irony BTW) were Pabst Blue Ribbon, Smithwicks, and Guinness.  This bar is starting to sound as if it is trying to feel out what will work.  The hood is in flux and there must be a way to maintain the old while getting the new to see the merits of places like this.  

The balance has to be struck.  The waitress was wearing a Flying Monkey's tee.  That beer was one of the last one's she mentioned as in 'Oh and we have that Flying Monkey's thing.'  It turns out they have two taps for the Monkey's - Anti-Gravity and Hoptical Illusion were on tap.  If this place continues to carry a few interesting taps to mix with their work-a-day beers along with their hipster beers (work-a-day and hipster seem to be very closely associated, weird!) then I think this place could work out.  Unfortunately for beer snobs, Castro's and the Only are so close that this place will only get a sniff and the occasion out for drinks with the buddies crowd.  For the rest, this place seems to be a good place to meet and drink and see the next door neighbours.

The kilt & harp on Urbanspoon

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