What’s on the menu at the Golden Peacock, a new cocktail and snack bar from the team behind Donna’s

What’s on the menu at the Golden Peacock, a new cocktail and snack bar from the team behind Donna’s

Name: The Golden Peacock
Contact: 2102 Dundas St. W., 647-561-2292, thegoldenpeacock.ca, @thegoldenpeacock.to
Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles
Owners: Ann Kim, Peter Jensen, Jed Smith and Christine Oldham
Chefs: Peter Jensen and Jed Smith
Accessibility: Not accessible

The team behind Donna’s, the beloved neighbourhood diner at Lansdowne and Wallace, has opened up a new local for drinks and snacks. Ann Kim and the gang had been looking to open a new space since before the pandemic, and they almost signed a lease on a Bloor Street location in early 2020. But they had second thoughts, and a week later, Covid hit, so they put the project on hold.

In July, a one-room restaurant space—previously a Portuguese sports bar—came on the market. With a solid wood bar, a small built-in kitchen and plenty of character, it was a perfect fit. “There are a lot of larger bars in this area, but not that many smaller spots to meet friends for a causal drink,” says Kim. “We wanted to bring the same cozy, convivial feel that Donna’s has to this neighbourhood, but with more of a lean toward late-evening drinks.”

Left to right: co-owner Ann Kim, co-owner and chef Jed Smith, line cook Ben Vernon and bar manager Sophie Weinstein
The food

The tight menu features approachable but creative small plates with some Portuguese influence in honour of the bar’s predecessor. They’re all designed to pair nicely with the drinks: toasted fava beans with a heavy hit of coriander go perfectly with beer; grilled beef hearts are a natural pairing for a pisco sour. There are a few burgers for anyone looking for something a bit more substantial, including a delectable vegetarian version made with thick slices of grilled eggplant and muffuletta mayo.

Clockwise from top left: the Golden Negroni, marinated lupini beans, breaded and deep-fried mushrooms stuffed with garlic butter, toasted fava beans seasoned with coriander seed and smoked paprika, and some slightly spicy Beira cheese.


You can’t go wrong with a bowl of fries. These ones come with ketchup laced with house-made chili oil. $8


Octopus is braised with bay leaf and onion before being grilled, sliced and piled on a red-pepper-and-pumpkin-seed paste. It’s served with a lemon wedge and toothpicks for easy snacking. $13


Somewhere between steak and liver in terms of flavour and mouth feel, beef heart is not nearly as challenging as the offal-averse might imagine—especially when marinated in Peruvian ají panca (red pepper paste), grilled to a perfect medium and laced with a bright, verdant chimichurri of green onion, cilantro and fermented green chili. $13


The menu is mostly snacks, but the burger—loosely inspired by the Whopper—is a meal unto itself. The patty, which is beefed up with some dry-aged rib caps, is served on a sesame bun and topped with pickles, mayo, ketchup, lettuce and onion. (A gluten-free bun is available on request.) $17


Even those who don’t usually dig into dessert will appreciate the utter deliciousness of this banana split dog, a wildly delicious brioche-bun-and-banana creation topped with strawberry jam, whipped cream and peanuts. $10


The drinks

Cocktails are the main attraction, like the Golden Negroni, made with Lillet Blanc and Amaro Montenegro, and a killer pisco sour. Note: the menu doesn’t list classic cocktails, but they’re available upon request. Non-drinkers will be pleasantly surprised by a lovely zero-proof Shirley Temple that incorporates house-made grenadine. There’s a well-curated selection of wine and beer, including a dry-hopped rice lager from Lovebird, a month-old brewing company out of Grey Highlands.

The bar’s signature cocktail, the Golden Negroni, subs floral Lillet Blanc for dry vermouth and heady, bittersweet Amaro Montenegro for the classic Campari. It’s a bright (and still boozy) take on a classic. $14


Posed in front of one of the Golden Peacock’s more dramatic on-theme knick knacks is the pisco sour, a lip-smacking combo of pisco, lime and egg white. Try this with the beef heart for an unexpectedly perfect pairing. $14


The Porto Tonico pairs white port with tonic for a refreshing sip. $10


The Shirley Temple, one of the bar’s non-alcoholic options, is made with lip-smackingly good house-made grenadine, orange juice and ginger ale. $10


The space

All of the furniture and light fixtures were either thrifted or from the previous tenant, lending a relaxed, lived-in feel. An original wood bar lines the front half of the room. Behind it, a pair of vintage Advent speakers make for crystal-clear audio. On the back wall, there’s a stunning gold feather mural—and, fittingly, you’ll find many peacock-themed knick-knacks scattered around. It’s warm, comfortable and just hip enough without any suggestion of smugness.