Caledonian 647.547.9827 http://www.thecaledonian.ca/ Open daily 5pm to late
For three years, owner/expat Donna Wolff has been making this downtown haunt the best place to savor authentic Scottish cuisine. Rows and rows of whisky are displayed like trophys behind a long lively bar. The cozy room leads into a charming candlelit back patio, alive with chirping sparrows and shady old trees. It’s a great spot for a first date, or a chill way to wind down a hectic day with a good meal and a book. Service is so friendly and welcoming you feel like family.
Not being a fan of beer myself I had a friend join me, who decided that his new favorite is the Tennents Lager $6.85 from Scotland. Nicely spiced and loaded with smoke the Ardbeg Caesar $14 – Ardbeg Islay 10 yr old malt, Clamato juice and a heaping spoonful of house smoked horseradish – is my obvious first choice; however the pricetag is a little high. To start, juicy beer battered sour Kosher pickles $5, so simple, yet satisfying. A Taste of Scotland (a must!)$16 is up next: Scotch eggs served warm are addictive, lightly spiced and crumble humbly into the rich brown gravy and hot mustard dip, sausage rolls flake apart as you bite into the herbed savory delights, and haggis fritters have this unique almost grainy meaty texture coated lightly and fried to a crisp.
In need of a refill, I turn to Donna’s Smoky Martini $11 “an autumn bonfire on Islay” – Hendricks Scottish gin, dash of Bowmore 12 year old malt – very strong with a long finish. Order it a tad dirty for best results. Haggis, neeps and tatties $16 finish the evening’s heavy workload. Scotland’s national dish of lamb, oats spices is served on mashed turnip and potato, though heavy, is nicely presented and fills that nostalgic hole. The Caledonian is a gateway, a warp, straight to Scotland and the food served would make any Scot proud.