Since posting about Ceili Cottage back in July, I’ve returned several times. There’s something about the atmosphere of the Cottage that lures me back – moreso than the food. It’s a great space and Patrick and his wife Alison are lovely hosts. Recent visits include toasting marshmallows in the fire pit out front and chatting with Patrick about the possibility of s’mores and of curling in a rink they’d make when it got cold enough. There’s also the regular inquiry of when the Irish Breakfast (on the menu since the beginning) would make its debut, though that’s a question that I’ll have to retire now.
But this blog is about food, and specifically, good-looking shots of food (though not always). I finally managed to get some decent shots of a recent meal at Ceili Cottage that would do it some justice. Unfortunately, our entire meal was off the board, so the only consistent thing you’ll be able to order are the peanuts.
On crossing the threshold, I realized I’d have to camp out a while before a table became free. Ensconcing myself at the bar, I went to my default drink of choice: tea. This is when I discovered that they were using an Irish brand of tea (earl grey, hot). Cute. I also ordered a bowl of peanuts to stave off hunger.
After finally securing a table (note: think twice about 7pm on Saturday night), a Caesar was ordered. Thickly rimmed with a coarse peppery mix and filled with the tangy blend of clam and tomato. A mess of freshly-grated horseradish floated within. Yummy.
I ignored the menu, as everything I wanted was on the chalk board, from starter to dessert. So, I ran with it.
Creamy tomato double-smoked bacon soup was what I began with. I’d spied it once before but they had run out. And now I know why. A thick and just-creamy body laced with the hint of smoked bacon. Really lovely melding of flavours.
Lamb Shepherd’s Pie was quite filling, though that may have been due to the amount of peanuts I had consumed. A decent meal, fitting for the cold evening we’d had.
8oz AAA striploin with basil mash, fried green tomatoes, and roasted garlic caper butter. Of all the items, this was what triggered the “ooh, interesting” radar. Definitely more interesting than awesome, this was still a solid steak option.
One dish we had on another visit but still want to mention was the mutton stew. With a pile of mash on top, this was a warming meal. Good for the cold nights that have arrived.
By the end of the meal, I felt a little bit blown out by all the salt. To mitigate, I ordered a tea and the quince and pear crumble. Sitting in a pool of cream, the crumble was a good counter-balance to the mains, but not something I would attempt to finish, as full as I was.
- Ceili Cottage 1301 Queen Street East, Toronto