I’ve always liked the idea of the Old West. Saloons, brown liquor, shoot-em-ups, pianos trilling… cowboys. Heck, Fievel Goes West was my favourite movie as a kid. So when Weslodge was set to open, there was many a reason giving it mass flock-a-bility.
First, it’s helmed by Hanif Harji of Icon Legacy Hospitality – a practitioner of awesome on Toronto’s scene, everything he touches turns to gold – and Charles Khabouth – the Godfather of Toronto nightlife and founder of Ink! and the many prongs of its corporate fork. Second, Chef Stuart Cameron has an uncanny ability to gastronomize (is that a word, ’cause it should be) anything. (Case in point: The house-made pastrami sandwich he transforms the way Holy Chuck! can outwit your senses with whimsically grilled mustard.) Third, it’s a modern-day saloon, so at some point a modern day cowboy has to pop by, right?
Nicki and I met Marie Nicola (of the ‘internet after-show’ Nat & Marie and a stalwart foodie herself) for a working lunch at Weslodge a week or so ago. FYI, we follow the 80/20 rule: 80% gab, 20% shop-talk. While no modern day cowboys were on-hand to greet us, we did have Hanif, the ‘pardner’ himself, guiding our New West meal.
From my new favourite Scotch Eggs in the city (seriously, who puts black truffle on Scotch Eggs?), to the incredibly citrusy Fluke Ceviche, the Buffalo Tartare (again, seriously, who shaves foie gras over-top an already uber-luxe dish?), to the meaty Lobster Burger, the Pastrami Sandwich (a house specialty you must try), to the Wagyu Corned Beef open-faced sandwich (one more time for the cheap seats in the back, seriously, Wagyu Beef?!), and some of the best Panna Cotta you’re likely to try outside of Italy, this was a meal fit for John Wayne, but greedily grubbed by yours truly et. al.
Check out the vlog to see the whimsically-charged Weslodge for yourself…