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Gilead Cafe

Posted by Staff / Listed on June 23, 2008 / review policy

20081008_gilead01.jpgJamie Kennedy has moved into Corktown with his latest culinary installment, Gilead Cafe. My friends and I popped in for lunch and fully enjoyed our meal, owing to the mixture of great tasting food, casual atmosphere, and super friendly staff. You can be sure to find JK's traditional philosophy (of sourcing local ingredients and bringing out the best of seasonal produce) incorporated into every item on the menu. The cafe is perfect for those looking to enjoy a nice hot cup of java, grab a quick bite, or bring home some good eats.

20081008_gilead02.jpgThe Beer Braised Beef Poutine with Caramelized Onions and Ile aux Grues ($8.00) may very well be the king of gourmet poutine! The beef was braised to perfection - so tender that it was near melt-in-your-mouth. The fries were fresh and had a light, golden crunch. Maybe I'm so used to the cheese-packed meatless poutine from NYF, that I felt I would have liked more cheese in Gilead's gourmet version. But the overall combination achieved a good balance of all the ingredients. A word of caution, the portion is like a meal itself, so go easy on ordering more food.

Freshly made Tomato Soup with Crème Fraîche & Basil ($5.00) was leaps and bounds better than any canned tomato soup out there (no offense to those who dig the stuff). The texture was consistent while the flavour was rich and was bursting with the essence of meaty tomatoes.

Sandwiches are also a staple on the menu. The Fried Halloumi Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Zucchini, Grilled Red Onion & Arugula Pesto on Seeded Sourdough ($9.00) was a heavenly combination fused between two pieces of freshly baked sourdough bread. I noticed that a lot of people ordered the Roast Beef Sandwich with Le Ciel de Charleviox, Pepper Cress, Red Onion Chutney & Garlic Mayo on a Ciabatta Bun ($9.00), which I will try next time.

The coffee cake was not too sweet and the coffee flavour was not too overpowering. I imagine the cake would have paired up nicely with a Cappuccino ($3.00). I also had a taste of the Cake ($3.50).

Prices are reasonable and reflect the quality of the food. I'd really love to see what new creations Gilead Cafe will come up with next season. In the meantime, I'm still reminiscing on how I devoured that poutine, which I think should be a permanent item on the menu because it's deliciously appropriate for any season of the year.


Review and photos by Kitty Lo.



downtown cafe / October 8, 2008 at 04:32 pm
I heard a rumor that JK is opening an espresso bar in the Wine Bar space.

Anybody know when this is happening?
The downtown core needs a quality espresso bar.
Jerrold / October 8, 2008 at 09:23 pm
Mmmm... beer braised beef poutine sounds gooood.
Adam / October 8, 2008 at 10:55 pm
This place has the most bizarre location. It's down some alley between Eastern Av and King across from a new townhome development. You'd never guess it was there.

Still am dying to try it! Photos look great
Jeffrey Koo / October 8, 2008 at 11:10 pm
Kitty, this is an excellent, well-written review! Now I want to go try out the food
Roger / October 8, 2008 at 11:43 pm
That poutine looks absolutely dégueulasse!
Peter Charlton / October 9, 2008 at 12:07 am
"Freshly made Tomato Soup with Cr?me Fra?che & Basil ($5.00) was leaps and bounds better than any canned tomato soup out there"

Nice to see restaurant reviewers at this site have great food examples to compare the restuarants in review to.
Vivyruest / October 9, 2008 at 09:31 am
I agree with Roger, This poutine looks d?gueulasse. But again, it might be very tasty....It's just an error to call it a "poutine" just because you put some meaty-sauce on fries.
That said, I respect the guy - he's a good chef.
The Beerad / October 9, 2008 at 10:19 am
King East is the new King West, no?
Kate / October 9, 2008 at 10:23 am
I got take oput from here for a meeting I was having - delicious!
kitty / October 9, 2008 at 11:40 am
special thanks goes out to Beth & Heather...and all the great staff! they were all oh-so helpful and friendly!
addict / October 22, 2008 at 02:14 pm
i had the poutine. it's soooooooooooo good!!
Mingo-Jones / January 6, 2009 at 03:54 pm
Tried it out recently and was disappointed that they didn't have the poutine with braised beef. They have a seasonal menu so they were offering poutine with braised rabbit. A buddy ordered it and I tried it - not bad at all. The pulled pork sandwich was good. Overall, a little expensive for the menu but I recommend it.
Tom / February 1, 2009 at 11:54 am
I went there with high expectations.

I've eaten at the two JKK locations and had positive experiences.

At the Cafe, I had a small ham sandwich and a poutine for $20. The sandwich was good but way overpriced and the poutine was way overrated.

The poutine was small for what you pay for and the gravy was rather watery.

If you are ever in Montreal, check out this place:;langue=an

You will find better tasting poutine, with a bigger portion and cheaper than what you get at the Cafe.

ghighi / February 21, 2010 at 09:09 am
Hail to Jamie! He can do no wrong. So what if the Poutine quantity is small...."it's not the quantity - it's the quality"! And it's healthier too!
Sleevemen / March 19, 2010 at 02:57 pm
The Poutine at Gilead Cafe isn't cheap and is far from meal sized...I know, I tried to make a meal of it! And Corina neglected to mention that the Braised Beef Poutine is not a menu staple, rather merely a daily special, so don't show up expecting it to be there! I had the Poutine 'Bolognese'. It was small, not particularly tasty, and again, not cheap. What is all the hype about? I also had the daily sandwich. Fine, certainly not great. Why would anyone eat here? Because you work around the corner and you were too lazy to pack a lunch, that's why!
Bottom line: I wouldn't go out of my way to dine here (which is what I did the first time, Rrgghh!) But if you need to eat lunch and you're not on the tightest of budgets, it'll do the job.
Selena Burgess / June 30, 2010 at 09:59 am
Hmmmm. Too bad about the

I went for my first time last week, and honestly - as a mom who rarely eats out (errrr....outside of sushi), because I love to cook at home; I'd have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe they've changed the prices since some of the last posts, perhaps they've chnaged portion sizes. Dunno. All I know is that the portions were very satisfying. Not humgemongous, just right. Can't speak for the poutine as I try (*try*) to stay away from that stuff, but ordered the salad nicoise ($6) and fresh bread with artisan butter. ($2.50) Cookie (to share) and americano for dessert. All delish, locally sourced with sasonal ingredients? Kudos to Chef Kennedy. In an understated, fresh, friendly enviro. Love the whitewashed walls with rustic pine shelves lined with jar after jar of colourful preserves. The open concept kitchen is refreshing as well, one gets to see the cleanliness and professionalism going on behind the lines. After having worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years...this is a gem worth noting. Down an alley or no.
V / August 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm
I was down there last weekend and I was really disappointed. I ordered the poutine, and instead of the braised beef I got these two meatballs (raw on the insde) with lots of gravy. What ever happened with the poutine I remembered?

The cappuccino was also a letdown. You'd think they could afford to get a flavourful custom roast from a local roaster or something.
Patience Ellis / February 20, 2011 at 08:15 am
loved the service and food - but for healthy eating fries way too salty
Bob / May 22, 2012 at 11:23 am
My hot smoked salmon eclair was small and mucky inside, and the cole slaw was ordinary.

The surprise was the deviled egg ordered by my guest. The two halves of one egg arrived with a tablespoon of yam purée and some tiny pieces of melba toast. I assumed there had been a mistake but the blackboard menu clearly stated Deviled EGG - $9.00.

If you don't care what you pay, and eat like a sparrow, the Gilead Cafe will satisfy the most delusional foodie.

I still can't believe I paid $9.00 for an boiled egg, and ate lunch twice in one day.
Marcgee / November 8, 2013 at 03:42 pm
A Deviled Egg for $9 ? - did you ever wonder if, just maybe, 2 servers get together in the AM and say "Hey, lets see if someone will pay $9 for a deviled egg today?" then split the proceeds ($8.50 per) at the end of the shift. Pure Demonic Genius. What's next, a $10 garlic infused olive ? Sounds wonderful, and I certainly know where to stuff it.

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