The Guild is the latest of a number of brunch-oriented restaurants to open on a reinvigorated stretch of Dundas at Dufferin. Yet, considering it took almost two years to bring to life, it seems to have arrived just as the neighbourhood's collective stomach has started to growl.
Transforming the space from its past life as a flower shop, the new interior pulls together rich textures like exposed brick walls and an ornate tin ceiling, while flour sack upholstered chairs, wood plank table tops and lovely terrarium centerpieces set a casual, laid back tone. Locals are even welcome to come in weekday mornings from 7:30am to 11am for WiFi, coffee and baked goods.
While a dinner menu is still in the works, owner and chef, Mani Binelli (Centro, Canoe and Auberge du Pommier) is ready to introduce The Guild's style and ambition with a daytime menu that includes brunch-like offerings that will be served throughout the day. A prime example is the the Foie Gras Stuffed French Toast ($14) that comes topped with caramelized bananas and raspberry chantilly cream, which melds the sweet and salty into one indulgent plate.
On a more savoury note, the Celeriac Potato Pancake ($12) comes topped with layers of creamed goat cheese, spinach, house-cured trout gravlax and a sous vide egg. Binelli also succeeds with playful riffs that reimagine familiar flavours. Coffee and donuts is presented as a dessert for instance, in the Coffee Creme Brûlée ($6), embellished with a fresh, sugar dusted beignet.
Even the standard Bacon and Eggs ($12) is upgraded with thick cut, house-smoked, maple-dipped bacon (the back room smoker is lovingly named the Hot Box) and sous vide eggs set atop mini Yorkshire puddings. The sides of goat cheese yam gratin and delicate baby greens salad fulfill the standard format but offer a twist on familiar flavours.
Behind the bar, Alex James shows off complicated cocktails like The Gathering ($11), a bourbon and orange zest gin drink flavoured with bitters and port — though brunch-themed cocktails like the crustacean and butter infused Lobster 1442 ($11) might prove the bigger draw.
Reservations will be taken and a kitchen-facing chef's table will be operational for tasting menus at some point in the near future. Closing hours will vary for now, but the current menu is available daily starting at 11am.
Photos by Jesse Milns