Bars aren't usually what first comes to mind when your thinking of a place to eat. Stereotypically serving low-quality fried foods, bar cuisine is far removed from fine dining. Dismantling this stereotype are Bars like The Sparrow, who prepare superb cuisine while still in a bar setting.
A popular Mile-End Bar, known for its cocktails, The Sparrow also boasts a kitchen which is committed to quality. Using local, organic, and homemade ingredients whenever possible, which is quite often, The Sparrow is a bar that understands the importance of well prepared food. With a pub-oriented menu during the evening, The Sparrow also boasts a varied brunch menu which will bring you back in the morning to cure your hangover after a late night of drinking.
All manner of brunch dishes are featured on The Sparrow's menu to please your breakfast needs. Classics like eggs Benedict can be ordered, along with more interesting options like red velvet pancakes or the smoked trout hash. If your looking for something a little more greasey and pub-ish, The Sparrow has you covered with fried chicken and waffles or a pulled pork sandwich. Mexican cuisine is always welcomed at brunch, as chefs at The Sparrow know, so rest assured you can order up some huevos rancheros if you so please. Seasonal variations change up the menu every few months, but a healthy mix of similar options are always ready to eat up.
Eggs Benedict is a tricky brunch dish, sometimes being drenched in a mayo-y hollandaise sauce, so I couldn't resist the urge to test out The Sparrow's Blackstone Benedict. Using root vegetables latkes and an herb hollaindaise rather than the traditional choice, the Blackstone Benedict is also served with bacon, wilted greens, roasted tomatoes and tater tots. The Benedict didn't dissapoint. A balance of crunch and tenderness was achieved by the combination of soft greens and crispy bacon and latkes. The eggs were also poached in a Japanese-style, resulting in a perfectly round egg which was not too runny or overcooked. Light and pesto-like, the herb hollaindiase was a great way to tie the textures and flavours together. And the tater tots were perfect little spheres, a unique touch which didn't compromise the traditional taste.
Pulled pork may seem a little intense for breakfast, and while the dish was very filling, it worked quite well. Served a top a homemade biscuit, the pulled pork is accompanied by tater tots, coleslaw, and two sunny side up eggs. On its own, I thought the pulled pork, when eaten with the biscuit, was a bit too dry. Fortunately the gooey eggs offset this issue and livened up the dish. I'm not sure if that was an intentional placement to add moisture, or just The Sparrow trying to make pulled pork more breakfast-like, but either way the eggs made the dish complete.
Any respectable brunch joint needs to offer pancakes, and I was personally impressed with The Sparrows special corn-buttermilk pancakes. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, these were some quality flapjacks. Cooked with seasonal fruits whenever available, in this case strawberries, the pancakes didn't even really need syrup due to the natural sweetness of the berries. On its own or as a side, The Sparrow's pancakes will leave you sweetly satisfied.
Not forgetting it is a bar, The Sparrow also serves up some quality brunch cocktails. Bloody Marys and Caesars are on hand, as are a variety of mimosas. I recommend the tart, yet still sweet, blood orange mimosa. The combination of flavours from the bitter blood orange juice and the bubbly prosecco balance out into a well rounded mimosa that I prefer to the classic.
If you find yourself drinking at the Sparrow one night, do yourself a favour and come back the next day for a brunch that will surprise you in its quality. Taking the brunch tradition and reworking it to fit modern palates, The Sparrow serves a quality morning meal.