1A - 561 Hespeler Road
|Photo property of Beertown Facebook Page.|
In her opinion:
The old Kelsey's on Hespeler Road has been reincarnated into one of the Charcoal Group's new ventures, Beertown. It is described on their website as a fusion of retro public house and modern beer bar built around a 'chef driven' kitchen. I would agree. This place is hot and popular in a good food deprived city.
Having heard a couple of good things about this place, I was anxious to try it out and therefore picked it as a good dinner spot to meet up with a couple of friends. The wait was 40 minutes. This seemed a little excessive as their were a few empty tables in clear view.
We were seated at the bar until our table was ready. I decided that a beer was in order. What else? It is called Beertown after all. I had a Beau's Lug*Tread. I am really starting to like this "light and crisp" beer.
It was less then 40 minutes when we were shown to our table. After reviewing the menu, I started with the daily soup...tonight's soup was "Potato Leek with a Bacon garnish". This is one of my favourites.
The soup was absolutely delicious. The texture was smooth and creamy. Perfectly flavoured. The bacon garnish added a nice smokey flavour to the velvety smoothness of the soup.
For my main I picked the "Pork Schnitzel". It is described on the menu as "lemon pepper Cajun breaded, sour apple butter, apple fennel slaw, grilled vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes."
I really liked the schnitzel...it was not greasy. The Cajun flavour added a little punch of heat. The potatoes were not too garlicky. I really enjoyed the apple fennel slaw which added a nice refreshing element to the plate. Overall, it was very good.
I really enjoyed my dinner at Beertown. The food was very good. The service was excellent. Our waitress was friendly and attentive. I will definitely return to Beertown.
In his opinion:
Must admit that the buzz around this place had me intrigued to try it. The name "BeerTown" sounds too self explanatory and a little limiting. After all it's not the "Beer Store, where the Beer are at".
There is much more to this place than just beer. They do have draft beer spouts on some tables and an automatic "reader" that keeps track of much you are drinking. This could be a little dangerous for those people that have trouble restraining themselves from massive quantities of alcohol, given the ease of access, and lack of supervision on amounts. Not sure if the machine stops pouring after a while in an attempt to label you an alcoholic but I wasn't going to try to find out either.
The place is decorated well, a mix of sleek leather and wood while keeping it open and spacious for the most part. It can get pretty loud with the after work crowd on as Friday night, especially if the bar situated in the middle of the restaurant is also at full capacity.
The food was better than one would expect from a place called BeerTown. Not limited to the chicken wings and deep fried specials one usually finds in a "drinking" atmosphere. The attempt to make this place food centred is visible in the varied menu and the food presentation.
They obviously carry a wide variety of beers but the main focus seems to be on micro breweries, and specifically those from Ontario. That goes well with my recent love for the microbrewery phenomenon that has elevated beer taste and quality to new height in our province and across Canada. Mill st Was the one represented in our tap and given that their Organic Beer is one of my favourites, I was quite content.
I had the smoked brisket poutine (with onions, mushrooms and truffle mayo) for an appetizer. The fries were crispy but soft in the centre and the brisket was very tasty, without any punch of spice so a bit bland for my brisket likes. The truffle mayo was a good addition to the mix of flavours.
For my entrée, I ordered the "bacon cheeseburger". Presentation was very nice and was served with a side Caesar salad. The bun was crispy, yet soft, the ingredients were also fresh but the patty itself was very bland, borderline tasteless. It needed much in the way of condiments to inject flavour into it but overall a good burger, minus the soft, moist but tasteless patty.
The Charcoal Group is usually quite successful in their new endeavours and I suppose this one is on track to be the same. The concept is great, unique and a welcome addition to the food and drink scene in Cambridge's Hespeler Road.
The Good: Niche market Restaurant that combines upper casual dining with the pub feel and does it quit successfully.
The Bad: Poor management of wait times and available seats (could be because it's relatively new) and the kinks will be ironed.
The Verdict: This restaurant is a must try for sure. I can see it easily becoming the "it" place for after work drinks and good food, as well as the family outing place for many.
I give it a 3 olives out of 5 as a rating