Location: 1442 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON
Price: (Brunch) $-$$
Executive chef: Mani Binelli
It was quite the hike to get down to Dundas and Dufferin for a Sunday brunch, especially traveling all the way from the boonies (Pickering), but based on the number of raving reviews I’ve recently read…I knew it was going to be well worth it.
Parking was difficult as per usual in the city of Toronto, but it was a gorgeous day, so walking a couple of extra blocks wasn’t an issue. As we were getting closer to 1442 Dundas St. W, the aroma of smoked bacon was overwhelming and we couldn’t possibly walk any faster.
We arrived to a long narrow entranceway leading to the hostess stand, where I couldn’t help but notice a wall, separating the entrance way and the dining room. In the summer it wouldn’t quite matter, but in the winter it protects the guests from the cold Canadian winter breeze. Brownie points.
We were then greeted and informed by the hostess that there would possibly be a wait-time regarding dishes coming out, because staff were unable to prep early enough in the morning. Without hesitation I said it’s OK…my mind was set on dining at The Guild.
However I was unaware at the time that we could have made reservations and were forced to sit at a narrow wooden bar top along the street-front window. It was kind of cramped and kind of awkward for the three of us, but we were able to chat and people watch, my favourite combination of pass-times.
As my eyes scoped out the restaurant, the décor was mesmerizing…every thing had its place. Scattered along the wooden bar top were various sized mason jars filled with beautiful exotic plants, moss, and a unique miniature dinosaur figurine hiding deep within.
The stainless steel paneled ceiling with impeccable detailing against the exposed brick wall was breath taking, and the rustic wooden tables with burlap, upholstered seating gave it that country feel.
Our server came over, politely introduced himself and asked what we cared for to drink, I ordered an Americano, my mom ordered an Earl Grey tea and my sister stuck with her water. With the Americano came a precious miniature glass milk bottle, and the Earl Grey tea bag came perched up like a little pyramid in the cup. Simplicity transformed into something unique…again more brownie points.
Out of nowhere, three on the house, fresh-baked beignets topped with icing sugar were placed in front of us. After being informed our food might take a little longer to arrive, the beignets were a great customer service tactic and I was impressed…not to mention starting off the Sunday morning with decadent fritters for breakfast was amazing! I will also add in that I am officially off of my crazy, no-wheat diet! I am no longer torturing or constraining myself from indulging in delicious food, so without further more, I cannot wait to dive straight into these delicious treats!
They were warm and fresh out of the oven…crunchy on the outside and light and airy on the inside. The icing sugar lightly dusted on top gave it just enough of a kick to wake up my taste buds first thing on a Sunday morning. Most of all, it made us completely forget about waiting.
Shortly after we inhaled the beignets, our dishes arrived. Well my mom and sisters I mean…mine trailed a few minutes behind. Both my dates ordered the thick cut maple-dipped bacon, sous-vide eggs with Yorkshire puddings and a goat cheese yam gratain. The smell was unreal and beautifully plated.
I ordered the celeriac potato pancake with house trout gravlax, sous vide egg, spinach, creamed goat cheese and what I believe was salmon roe caviar.
It too was beautifully plated, and my eyes ate it up quicker than my mouth could. The smoked trout was overpowering, but then again trout normally is. However paired with the creamed goat cheese, the sous vide egg which was like butter, the bitter spinach and the dense potato pancake, it was delicious! Then every once in a while I would get a mouthful where the salmon roe would pop in my mouth and it was divine…salty, but very tasty. Every ingredient had its purpose, marrying the dish and making me feel like I was in heaven…a heaven I was sure to come back to.
I then had the privilege of tasting the smoked bacon…unbelievable. Hands down the best bacon I have ever eaten! Thick cut so each bite was a substantial one, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside with a settle hint of maple…my mouth is watering thinking about it. The goat cheese yam gratain was smooth and melted in my mouth, solidifying the need to come back again. Safe to say, when I do return to The Guild, I will most definitely be indulging in the maple-dipped bacon dish…it is literally to die for.
Although it took a little while for our dishes to be cleared, it was a full house, and I’ve learned to look past that minor detail when staff are overly busy…so no complaints. In which case all of my high expectations were met, from the food, to the décor, to the service. After a $46 bill for three people, The Guild stands as one of the best, reasonably priced brunches I’ve had…kudos! I will absolutely venture back!