Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach gives us a first look at the new College St. eatery that incorporates beer into every single dish on the menu.
With enough hard work, the right opportunity can strike at any time. Chef Aidan J. Ferreira has been sweating it out as The Urban Carnivore for years, honing his craft and waiting for the right place to unleash his culinary skills on the city, and he’s finally found it, on College Street, by Dufferin.
With friends and business partners Colin Weadick and Dan Boniferro, the trio is set to unleash Aidan’s creations to the beer bosses of Toronto, notably every single dish on the menu features beer as an ingredient. With plans in place to launch their own brewery (for enjoyment on-site, don’t go looking for growlers), these guys know a thing or two about lagers – all are former employees of another downtown brew hall. Harnessing that talent and energy, they’ve teamed up to bring Toronto just what it needs, a cozy hole-in-the-wall place with crazy good food.
Taking over the old Me and Mine eatery, Laylow has 30 seats scattered between the bar and dining area. The bar is a feature in and of itself, concocted of wood, 10,000 pennies (give or take) and several liters of lacquer to hold it all together. The result is a shimmery surface that echoes the overall mood of the place – casual, fun but sophisticated and elegant too. Colin, Dan, and Aidan did much of the hard labor and sourced the church pew bench seating after snapping it up on Kijiji. The rest of the transformation was mostly elbow grease and effort.
The menu is dreamy, its bar snacks elevated, comfort food you want to eat again and again, and perfect portions to go with pints.
Jenny’s Cheeseboard (4 cheeses for $25) is named after Chef Aidan’s main squeeze, and features rotating cheeses, in-house made crostinis, pickles, and mustards. Aidan diligently works to ensure nothing gets wasted food wise, he makes pretzels and other grainy goods with the spent grain from the brewing process that complements the cheese board. He’s known for his creative charcuterie boards, a natural match for a cheeseboard, and pints too, of course.
Bust out your favorite sweatpants for the Porchetta Poutine ($16), or wisely, just bring a friend to share. This mega man-sized plate takes poutines to new heights, with chunky porchetta acting as a flavourful protein. Squeaky cheese curds here get the gourmet treatment too, marinated with herbs to give them an earthy kick.
Sweeter options like the Snake Island S’more ($9) deserve a spotlight – beer pairs beautifully with desserts and a darker beer would certainly be a fine match for this chocolatey dish. In-house-made marshmallows give the plate a campfire feel, with chocolate ganache and crispy meringue adding sweetness to the nostalgic dessert.
Up next for Laylow? Look for a brunch program to start this fall, with beer-based cocktails like the Brass Monkey – kind of like a manly mimosa, made with OJ and Olde English to go with beer soaked bennies.
Laylow is located at 1144 College St. and is open Sunday to Wednesday 5pm to midnight and Thursday to Saturday 5pm to late.
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