Introducing: The Wickson Social, a sister spot for the Queen & Beaver

Introducing: The Wickson Social, a sister spot for the Queen & Beaver

(Image: Rebecca Fleming) (Image: Rebecca Fleming)
 

Name: The Wickson Social
Neighbourhood: Downtown Core
Contact: 5 St. Joseph St., 647-748-1501
Owners: Andrew Carter and Jamieson Kerr (The Queen and Beaver, The Oxley)
Chefs: Executive chef Philip Haydon and sous chef Mark Chang

The food

The contemporary menu of shareable plates is a departure from the gussied-up British pub grub that Carter and Kerr are known for. The globe-spanning card will change monthly, but currently includes Chinese-influenced plates (sticky-plum pork with fried rice), French fare (smoked salmon served in a halibut velouté sauce) and Italian favourites like porcini risotto topped with dry-aged venison.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Smoked salmon and potatoes with leeks in a velouté sauce, topped with lumpfish caviar. $17.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Three-month dry-cured venison, served on top of a porcini-tarragon risotto. $18.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Kale chips and roasted halibut in a creamy pumpkin purée. The fish is crusted with buttermilk bread, pork rinds and kale. $21.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Veal tenderloin with a carrot-garlic sauce, topped with carrot ribbons. $21.

The drinks

A tight wine list that will change frequently, with bottles ranging from $40–$70. The taps are dedicated to Canadian craft beer, and many of the house cocktails riff on celebrity names (Benedictine Cumberbatch, Hurricane Carter). The signature Apple Pie Sour, however, needs no such cutesy label.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

Apple Pie Sour: Żubrówka vodka, Calvados, egg white, lemon and allspice syrup, garnished with a caramelized apple slice. $14.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

An Apple Pie Sour in the making.

The space

The ground floor of a 100-year-old building (designed by Alexander Frank Wickson), now the base for the Five Condos development. Designer Elisa Sauvé used primary colours to separate the 3,500-square-foot, multi-room space. Off the main dining room is “The Nook,” a 16-seat semi-private room, and a hallway leads to “The Nest,” a cheery yellow-accented lounge with its own bar and a wall-sized crow mural. The red glass–encased kitchen is the heart of the restaurant.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

The bar.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

This enormous tapestry populated with animal-headed characters is by Toronto artist Candace O Bell. Bell’s painting was sent to Germany where it was printed onto this carpet, which absorbs the din for optimal acoustics.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

The Nook.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

The Nest.

(Image: Caroline Aksich) (Image: Caroline Aksich)
 

The incubator. No, wait, it’s the kitchen.