What’s on the menu at Beast Pizza, Scott Vivian’s new pizzeria serving meaty pies and whole-animal feasts

What’s on the menu at Beast Pizza, Scott Vivian’s new pizzeria serving meaty pies and whole-animal feasts

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Name: Beast Pizza
Contact:  96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000, thebeastrestaurant.com, @beast_pizza_to
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Scott Vivian (Beast), Nate Middleton and Adnan Pirbhai
Chef: Nate Middleton (Home of the Brave)
Accessibility: Step at the front, bathroom on main floor

The food

Since it opened in 2010, Beast has been synonymous with three things: brunch, nose-to-tail carnivorism and a more-is-more ethos. For over a decade, Scott Vivian’s lo-fi room delighted diners with consistently decadent plates. Then Covid hit and he was forced to transform Beast into a bodega to survive. Last summer, rather than continue to ride the lockdown rollercoaster, Vivian decided it was time to finally revamp the restaurant. After a 10-month reno, Beast is back—but this time, it’s a pizzeria. Fret not Beast fans: six-course whole-animal dinners are still on the menu. However, we regret to inform brunch-goers that the mid-morning meal has been 86’d. (Although, for the foreseeable future you can still get your hands on a Beastwich at Blood Brothers Brewing.)

Middleton (left) and Vivian

Another update: Scott Vivian is stepping out of the kitchen. He’s handed the reigns over to his long-time friend Nate Middleton. The duo had done pizza pop-ups before, so the idea of opening a pizzeria together seemed only natural. Not only was a pizzeria a (more) pandemic-proof business option, it would also allow them to host nightly pizza parties. Win-win. “Pizza is one of those things that can be anything,” says Middleton. “It gives us a lot of room to have fun and keep it all very Beast.” For example, where else can you find tongue or beef heart as pizza toppings? Or kimchi olives as an app?

Here are those kimchi olives we mentioned. $6.

 

The New York-style pizzas (they pass the fold test) start with a three-day fermented dough, made with high-protein Canadian flour. The red sauce gets an extra boost of umami thanks to some kombu and shiitake mushrooms cooked with the tomatoes.

 

Here’s a closer look at the pepperoni pie. Those crispy, perfectly curled pepperoni cups are from Hamilton’s Venetian meats. $32.

 

Here we have the braised beef tongue and smoked bacon pizza. $32.

 

The aloo gobi pie—Middleton’s current favourite—is made with coconut milk white sauce that’s topped with a cauliflower-potato curry, brinjal pickle (an Indian eggplant relish) and mozzarella. $31.

 

The menu offers both 12- and 16-inch pizzas. Some of the more premium pies, however, only come in the smaller format; those include a pizza covered in black truffles; one that comes with beef heart tartare; and Lord Pesto, a pistachio pesto pizza garnished with a big ball of burrata (pictured here). $30.

 

Unleash the cheesy beast
There’s pasta, too. For this plate of Uncle Tony’s Tiny Meatballs and Maccheroni, little meatballs beget maxi flavour. They’re a mix of pork, veal, beef and rosemary sea salt bread. $23.

 

All the pasta’s made in house. Here’s a plate of fusilli alfredo ($19), which you can top with sea urchin for an additional $18.

 

The dessert menu features an ever-changing house-made Twinkie. Pictured here is the carrot cake flavour. $4.50.

 

And a whole saucy spread.

 

Originally, Vivian and Middleton wanted to do a rotating series of local art work on their pizza boxes, but this first submission by tattoo artist Alex Snelgrove really knocked it out of the park. “It’s so amazing we don’t want to change it now,” says Vivian.
The drinks

The booze selection can be summed up in six words: brown liquor, craft beer, natural wine. Instead of cherrypicking one or two beers from a long list of breweries, Vivian has focused on stuff from local favourites (Blood Brothers, Bellwoods, Godspeed, Matron, Beyond the Pale) so guests can get a better sense of what each brewery has to offer. Wine, meanwhile, includes many Niagara options (Rosewood, Leaning Post) alongside bottles from Italy, Spain and France. For the booze-averse, there’s Acid League Wine Proxies, a rotating non-alcoholic draught option and Five Alive.

Some of the beer and wine currently on offer, including a bagnum of sangria
The space

Tucked between residential houses on a tree-lined street that connects King to Queen, Beast has always had oodles of lo-fi appeal. Although the space has been entirely redone (new giant windows, a six-person oak bar, tin ceiling, and open kitchen have made the space feel brighter and bigger), the room still packs charm. “I modelled it after McSorely’s, New York’s oldest Irish pub,” says Vivian.

For the six-course whole animal dinners, a minimum of four guests must book a week in advance. Pricing starts at $150 per head.