Introducing: Sparrow, a new upscale pub in Bloor West Village
Neighbourhood: Bloor West Village
Contact Info: 2197 Bloor St. W., 647-349-2211, @SparrowBloor
Owner: Michael Derbyshire, who also owns the Kennedy Public House next door
Chef: Matthew Ness, formerly of Patria. He’s being overseen by executive chef Tristan D’Souza, who helms the kitchen at Kennedy Public House.
The Food: Sparrow’s artfully composed plates set it apart from the area’s homey pubs and burger joints. Chef Ness borrows from French, Italian, Spanish and even Korean cuisine to create dishes that look almost too pretty to eat, like his saffron-infused branzino escabeche, pictured above, which is topped with olives, eggplant and fried chickpeas. On the all-day brunch menu, pulled pork hash comes crowned with a sunny-side-up egg and kimchi. Around 3:00 p.m. the smoothie bar gets swapped out for oysters.
The Drinks: The cocktail list includes tweaked classics—a pickled-cherry manhattan, for instance—as well as more creative concoctions, like a minty grappa-based drink garnished with a prosciutto-wrapped melon skewer. The ambitious wine list contains mostly international vintages you won’t be able to find at the LCBO.
The Place: The long, dark space is done up in typical Toronto-restaurant style: reclaimed wood, Edison light bulbs, exposed brick and tin ceilings. The space has a unique abbey-like quality, thanks to pretty stained-glass windows and the heavy antique door.
• 86per cent of the wine menu is international
• 80 seats
• 50-seat rooftop patio opening soon
• 20 cocktails
• 4 variations on the Caesar, including a build-your-own option
• 2 former Patria employees (chef Ness and pastry chef Amanda Moulton)