Sunday, June 5, 2016

Restaurant Review: Two Headed Dog

I've been toying with reviewing the bunch of new pubs in the area in one big omnibus blog post. It seems easy to dismiss them as all being the same. It wouldn't be that far off the mark but it may be a bit unfair.

Most of THESE places are Anglo inspired, macro brewery listed and food service sourced foodstuffs. An awkward sentence for an awkward phenomenon. The difference between them being location and variation in decor. Some do a better job on their beer list than others. There are grace notes on the food service food such as different gravies and sauces or a better variety of fry. This is how I assess new pubs in the area, and in general.

I have been to the Two Headed Dog several times. It is close but not the closest. Both Eulalie's around the corner and the Corner House Pub stand between me and there. It is one of the only family pubs on the Gerrard Street India Bazaar as Eulalie's pitches more hip and less stroller. So, location is a plus.

Decor is German Anglo inspired with sports bar accouterments. Set with a garage door out back, there is plenty of light in the booth section where you can be distracted by the happenings outside and the televisions. Not great for date night but good for those nights when the kids want to eat and you are too lazy.  Aside from the back room of booths, there is a more bar like setup towards the front. A decent rail displays standards and a tap lineup.

On the first week, there was only macro brewery imports and standards. On a subsequent visit, I was told that they had a lot of requests for local beer and were working on it. There still only remains a single independent brewer from down the street on the line up, Left Field. It has been a few months. So, a middling grade there.

So far nothing stands out except their location. This leaves the last consideration of food. English pubs mean curry. There are a few of these type of curry pub dishes and strangely, these are the ones that have a "made here" note on the menu. Ah yes, differentiation. It is taken for granted that people realize that most of their food is not made in house and so the difference maker is telling them when it is. These are the better dishes available or at least the ones that stand out from other beer drinking places.

There are three items worth trying that are different than standard fare offered in pubs; Butter Chicken Poutine, Shepherd's Pie and Sri Lankan curry.

That little orange lettering says Made Here.
Season Infused Salt - sounds weirdly like a Food
Network groupie wrote it. 

A sloppy mess of butter chicken sauce with cheese and standard fries. This poutine is nothing like a poutine but it is a messy and joyful mess for the enjoyment of those who like butter chicken. For those of us who feel butter chicken is not quite Indian food, this is at least a starting point for actually enjoying it for what it is; a slightly sweet gravy that marries well with cheese and salty fries.

The Shepherd's Pie. Yup, more like mashed potatoes on fried ground meat and topped with gravy. It brings back memories of boiled chuck, potatoes and onions in a pan gravy that I used to eat as a kid. This is a good thing. Salty and flavourful and different. My dining companion mushed it all together and ate it like that. I would have added ketchup and that would have made it complete. Don't expect cuisine but expect comfort.

On this last Sunday trip, the daily special was wings. I had the Korean BBQ sauced wings. This is more typical of expectations. There is nothing wrong with the food. It is the same as every other place. It is the little bits that make the difference. Is this a place to revel in the little bits and travel for it? No. But it was worth the few extra steps to move away from a far more food service heavy place. If there was a place with better taps...

I guess the short of it is, GET BETTER TAPS.

Anyways, I often feel like writing these reviews is like dining in these places. It is easy to do an up and down, throw a pic, throw some words down on the page and say something meh and move on. Maybe this is why there are so many pubs that don't reach higher; they don't have to. With so many blogs and reviewers out there, there is no need to be better either. No need to describe food that is so much the same that there is nothing remarkable. Go up and read this review again. See what is remarked on by me. It isn't the food but the difference. Just a few bits of difference can mean the world.

Two Headed Dog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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