Hopgood’s Foodliner 416.533.2723 hopgoodsfoodliner.com closed Tues & Wed
Geoff Hopgood’s restaurant is Canadian to its core. A fresh, simple and honest food menu varies weekly depending on availability and imagination. The two dining areas are small, cute but utilitarian; an old school ‘70s mom-and-pop diner modernized. The music brings one back while the food spins one forward. Servers are passionate.
The menu has so many great choices it’s bloody hard to decide. Daily specials that caught my eye are the fresh spot prawn’s grilled-to-order and seasoned with lemon and fresh parsley, and a massive Rockefeller style Atlantic surf clam. Next, smoked Mackerel is outstanding served on house-made oatcakes with crème fresh and aromatic fennel – flavours work together marvelously. Lamb heart tartare is delicate and seasoned with crispy caramelized cauliflower, sliced olives, fried cream and served alongside crisp house-made crostini. The hot crab dip (inspired by mom) was a recipe the chef had grown up with and decided to include on the menu for good reason – it’s one of the best in the city. Citrus, herbs and fresh crab jump out on the palette, and served with Triscuit crackers that’s so charming it’s endearing.
The cocktail list is consistent with the latest trend. Scottish Breakfast (Te Bheag Scotch Whiskey, Petro Ximenez sherry, orange bitters) is a silky and smooth – liquid love. And the Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2010 from Okanagan Falls is lovely, refreshing and floral. The only misstep is the HF Bloody Mary, a house made tomato mix so thick it could double as cold soup; additionally it’s over seasoned and heavy with horseradish, topped off with a raw spot prawn and pickled pepperoncini.