edible adventures from the centre of the universe

05 November 2006

Review: Duke of Gloucester

In a word: Disappointing. In many more words:

After watching the hilarious Borat movie at Varsity Theatre last night, a group of 8 of us decided to go grab some food on Yonge Street. Without any particular restaurant in mind, we wandered south from Bloor and finally settled on the Duke of Gloucester (649 Yonge St) because I had heard that it's a good spot for English pub fare. After climbing a steep and narrow set of stairs, we encountered a divey-looking English-style pub and found a table large enough for our big group in a private little room in the back. The carpet is worn at the Duke, and the wallpaper is very grandmother's-living-room -- the end result is an "authentic-feeling" atmosphere.

Our waiter greeted us with menus and took our beer orders -- there's a variety of domestic and English brews on tap. As we sipped our pints, we all had trouble deciding what to order. The menu is extensive, including a lot of tasty-sounding and very British items (e.g. chip butties, steak pie, curries, fish n' chips, etc). I finally settled on the vegetable curry pot pie with mashed potatoes and veggies on the side. Other items ordered around the table included club sandwiches, steak and mushroom pie, chicken fajitas, and the daily special sandwich with the soup of the day (which we were told was sweet potato and chive).

After a wait long enough to finish our first pints, our waiter and another server began to bring the food out. Here's where the problems started: Dave had ordered a side of curry gravy for his fries and his dish was brought without it -- when he mentioned this to the server (not our original waiter), she brusquely told him that her hands were full and that it would come out later. That's fine, but she didn't have to be an asshole about it. In addition, our friend who had ordered the soup of the day was given a bowl of chicken-noodle (not the originally-promised sweet potato chive). There seemed to have been a lack of communication between the kitchen and our waiter because they were actually out of the sweet potato -- said friend settled on a salad instead after mentioning she had been looking forward to the soup.

Everyone's food was brought out except our friend who had ordered the fajitas. Our waiter did show concern about this and ended up comping the dish when it was finally brought out after the rest of us had more-than-half finished our meals.

Speaking of the meals, my curry pot pie was a dish of veggie curry, topped with a piece of puff pastry (the pastry had clearly not been baked together with the curry) -- this appears to be the definition of "pie" at the Duke because the steak and mushroom pie was done the same way. I dug in to find that my curry was cold. After a quick poll around the table, this seemed to be a problem with everyone's food. Not only was the curry cold, the puff pastry on the top was bone-dry and extremely difficult to cut. This was a shame because the curry actually tasted quite good! It had a bold tomato flavour and some nice spice to it. With some heat and better-quality pastry, this dish would have been excellent. The mashed potatoes on the side were peppery and flavourful, but the veggies were not cooked enough and were essentially raw (and also cold).

After finishing our chilly dinners, the general consensus was: "meh." Our waiter was friendly and definitely helped the situation with the comped dish, but his co-worker mentioned above was not cool. I won't be returning to the Duke of Gloucester.

4 buttless chaps out of 10



Anonymous Anonymous said...

How was the beer? Any bitters?

10:09 PM

Blogger Alana said...

They have Boddingtons Bitter. They also have Tetley's and Smithwicks. The beer was definitely better than the food -- I think this would be a fun pub to get drunk in.

3:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to know - I am starting a pub blog so I will have to check it out.

Plus I love the bitter!

12:44 PM

Blogger Tucksie said...

Alana, I can attest that what they were serving at the Glocester is purist British pub food, do doubt about it. Cold curry, wonky pie tops and poorly-cooked vegetables are the real deal I'm sorry to say. Not sure about the fajitas and salad though ...

8:49 AM


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