Reflections On The Wallace Gastropub, Toronto

As an always-enjoyable respite for a quick one, The Wallace Gastropub in the Davisville area of Toronto is hard to beat. (Davisville is midtown, a mixed use area, but the towers surrounding are getting ever higher).

I only get there occasionally, but always enjoy it when I do.

The Wallace has an excellent draft beer selection, not quite like anyone else’s. It has a number of fine craft local beers, some great imported ones including the impressive Lagunitas IPA, Sierra Nevada Draft Pale Ale, and Rogue (varying brews) in Oregon, and a clutch of interesting European imports. The latter include some top British and German names, plus the Czech Pilsner Urquell.

In a profession noted for amiable proprietors, majordomo John Pirathap is second to none.  Last night he threw his annual guest appreciation party, the first I’ve been able to attend. The food and the beer were first rate. I enjoyed Side Launch Pale Ale, one of the best Anglo-American bitter ale styles in Canada, and the awesome Muskoka Harvest Ale. If one is having both, they are useful to drink in that order as reversing would risk losing the more subtle but flavoursome notes of the Side Launch.

roast-pig (1)John’s generous finger food included slices of a medium-size pig roasted whole – it was displayed early in the evening and made quite a sight. I must have been so taken I forgot to capture it on my phone, but it had a golden crispy look and was done to, well, a turn*.

It was not long off the spit as the slices came hot and fresh with that great crispy skin. A hoisin-type sauce was served with it. I suspect Chinese methods were used in general to prepare the hog, as it tasted great and the Chinese are masters of pork roasting in this way. John’s pakora-type triangular pastries were superb too, in this case with beef and I believe there was a vegetable version as well.

The place was very busy, not just with invited guests, it was a bustling pre-Black Friday night.

The location was originally (years ago) the Bow & Arrow, which had its own charm – Sussex meets Canuck, one might say – but I like it as much now; it is both the same and different.

One should never take for granted expressions of amity and generosity as occurred last night, they come at bottom from the heart of the man who makes everything happen there, John. His excellent staff should be mentioned too, all pros in my experience.


*The image shown is in the public domain and the source is this link back.