A Local Favourite in Toronto’s East End
I recently dined at a neighbourhood gastro pub, in the upper Beaches. This unique pub was conceived by, restaurant newbie, Robert Maxwell – who had a dream, which turned into a plan, and then reality – The Beech Tree.
Helder Cabral is the day to day manager of this cozy, intimate restaurant and Chef Jamie Newman (formerly of Opus at Bloor and Avenue Rd.) is the creative force in the kitchen.
Most recently, Maxwell has taken on Partners, the owners of Stone Pizza, Matthew Stone and Helder Cabral; they have joined forces and this new partnership will enhance both of these eateries. Helder and Matthew will handle the Beech Tree operation, allowing Maxwell to return to the broadcast industry. Maxwell’s influence on the restaurant will remain strong especially with regard to the kitchen, which will maintain the high-quality guests have come to expect.
The Beech Tree menu is based on English-style fare but you’ll find influences of Italy, France, Spain and North Africa in their remarkable dishes. They’re all about ‘scratch cooking’, curing their own bacon, pickling onions, baking burger buns and sourcing the best ingredients through conscientious local suppliers. They have a full bar with an assortment of cocktails, which are a hit with the patrons, as well as four craft beers on tap, two bottled beers, and a cider.
Before dinner I had a ‘Christmas Tree’ cocktail – gin with muddled mint, cranberry and red wine – it was lovely ($11).
The Warm salad of Roasted Beets, oyster mushroom barley, crispy fried egg and mustard vinaigrette looked intriguing – but I missed the bit of goat cheese that I thought would have added a creamy texture ( $12).
I love lamb, so definitely had to try a bit of the Ravioli filled with Pulled Lamb. It was simply delicious and a meal in itself ($12).
The Roasted Breast and Confit leg of Duck, is a patron favourite, was served with Smoked Pork Sausage, Ginger Lentils, Maple Squash and Red Cabbage was interesting ($26).
The biggest hit for me was the Fish of the Day – Atlantic Cod served with zucchini croquettes.
I found all the dishes beautifully presented and now understand why this has become such a popular Beach destination.
The menus are seasonal, ingredient-driven and change often. On Sunday’s they serve a special fixed price meal (which changes weekly) including an appetizer, main and dessert for $38. You have the option of forgoing the fixed price as some regular menu favourites will be offered la carte. A word to the wise, this is not a large restaurant, seating is limited – so go early.