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Restaurants

Hammersmith's

Posted by Rebecca Fleming / Listed on September 6, 2011 / review policy

Hammersmiths TorontoHammersmith's wants to have you over for brunch. Or more specifically, owners Colin Reed and Brittany Pegler want to. Open for about 10 weeks now, this new Gerrard East brunch spot is situated on the edge of East Chinatown. Named after a borough in London, England where the couple both lived and worked, Hammersmith's occupies a space that was for decades, a diner. This is evident by the low, tiled bar counter that runs the length of the dining area, paired with equally low barstools. I instantly wanted to perch on one of those stools and order a good old-fashioned milkshake...lucky for me homemade chocolate milk is on the menu. Close enough.

It's quiet when we arrive, but to be fair, it was a weekday and it was past the typical breakfast/brunch timeslot. Weekends see more action here when folks have time for a leisurely brunch or, as is the case for me on certain occasions, a second breakfast.

Hammersmith's design is simple, but spotless. Open, airy and bright, it still feels like a diner, minus the grease. Stainless steel counters combine with wooden tables, providing a nice industrial-organic blend. And talk about an open kitchen - Chef Reed (formerly of Czehoski) does everything, not behind a counter, but at his prep table in the middle of the restaurant. As we sit with our drinks, and wait for our order, Colin works away quietly and efficiently. It feels like being at a friend's house without feeling obliged to help out.

hammersmiths torontoNow back to that chocolate milk ($3.00). This is made with no ordinary chocolate powder or syrup. A cold glass of milk is presented to me, accompanied by a dish of velvety chocolate. I proceed to empty the dish into my glass. The chocolate is thick and the result is a rich cocoa concoction that's just the right amount of sweet. Choco-licious.

hammersmiths torontoWe can't resist ordering the (also) homemade peach lemonade ($3.50). The lemonade provides some initial pucker, but the peach follows quickly on its heels to deliver a sweet finish. So quaffable they should serve pitchers of the stuff.

hammersmiths torontoWe order Hammersmith's version of a Caprese salad to start ($6). The grape tomatoes are drizzled nicely with olive oil and basil, and topped with creamy, mild burrata cheese instead of the typical bufala mozzarella. Being a big fan of burrata, I would have liked more in the salad, but this is wishing on my part - not complaining - as the price is right.

hammersmiths torontoThe mushroom omelette ($9) comes with an arugula salad and toast. More of a pocket than an omelette, it's stuffed with mushrooms (of course) and Swiss cheese. Filling.

hammersmiths torontoMy brunch cohort goes for the cured salmon served with arugula and roasted lemon ($13) which she says is the perfect marriage of flavours.

hammersmiths torontoDesserts and scones are also available, made by Pegler herself, and displayed on glass pie plates (she has quite the collection of them) in true diner fashion.

hammersmiths torontoThe menu at Hammersmith's changes daily based on what Pegler and Reed have sourced from mostly local suppliers, or what the talented duo feel like creating, so I imagine going once isn't enough. As if anyone really needs an excuse to eat brunch more often.

Top photo by Jesse Milns. All others by Rebecca Fleming.

Discussion

17 Comments

Ripley Slade / July 19, 2011 at 04:30 pm
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Scones are good, coffee is good. Menu and interior a bit stark but it's early days.
Salty / September 6, 2011 at 09:29 am
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Every time time I go there I'm amazed at the quality and freshness of the food. Chef Reed is a master of his craft, the staff is really nice and the atmosphere relaxed. Hands down best brunch in the area.
Laura / September 6, 2011 at 09:37 am
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Just moved to this area and noticed this place yesterday, really happy to see people starting to carve out some new businesses in Chinatown East!
Marc Lostracco / September 6, 2011 at 09:41 am
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The bacon and cheese omelette at Hammersmith's is amazing. It's not strip bacon either—it's little chunks. I highly recommend it. The menu has only a few items, but that's a good thing. I wish Colin would smile more, especially considering he's basically cooking in the eating area. I'm assuming he's really shy, but it comes off as distant…however, the guy has mad talent, and every meal I've had here has been ridiculously delicious.
SMurphy / September 6, 2011 at 07:03 pm
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I used to live in the neighbourhood (currently living overseas) and always loved going to the Logan Grill for breakfast. I hope Hammersmith's makes a good breakfast for a lazy Saturday morning.
Bart / September 6, 2011 at 07:13 pm
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Happy to see the this part of Gerrard and the remodelled old diner making a turn around. It was previously dark, dundgy and mainly closed, attracting film productions more then customers.

With Mad Dog Cafe next door, the gated dog park at carlaw (which is now more busy then Withrow Park!), we have a possible resurgence in our near future.

As for the food, it's a limited selection but the quality is excellent and the coffee is strong. Definitely high end diner material.
Tara / September 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm
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Love the food here! The decor needs some further work.
Aamir / October 9, 2011 at 09:02 am
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Me and my wife have been going to Hammersmith's every weekend since the place opened and are absolutely in love with the food and the owners. The food is amazing and soulful. Where do I start.. the chef always does a great job with everything he does...The duck hash.. is a perfect balance...along with some runny eggs....My wife always gets the mushroom omelet and it satisfies every time consistently. A little less known secret is the chicken salad sandwich..to die for. The owners are very personable and always provide a kick ass service. This place is a 10 out of 10 for a sunday brunch..keep it up.
JRT / January 6, 2012 at 11:37 am
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First impressions weren't that great to be honest. Granted, I've only been there once. However, I found the food a bit overpriced. All in all it was an underwhelming first experience but I'll go back I'm sure.
DJP / January 6, 2012 at 05:24 pm
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Great article on a great restaurant. The duck (or bacon) hash is to die for. Also, the owner's name is Brittany Peglar (not Pegler).
cat / January 7, 2012 at 12:39 am
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I think the place is cute. they make a mean apple scone. but the omelette is the single worst egg dish I've had in town. it's hard and over-cooked. I could not believe they served it that way. I thought it was a mistake. maybe it was. how could a brunch place make top spots list with bad eggs?
Paul / January 21, 2012 at 06:22 pm
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will have to check it out,

but I was wondering when the gorgeous
original 1950's/1960's dinner was going to go the the way of
trendy overpriced chi chi ness as on Queen st., as I knew it was on the brink considering this is a hot trendy area now.

Sad that the owners didnt have a creative cell in their brain
Roger / February 29, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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Omelette was very dry and tasteless. The baked goods were dry, dense with no flavor, possibly day olds? Coffee was warm not hot. Service was ok. Do yourself and your wallet a favor take a pass on this place.
Theresa / March 11, 2012 at 05:11 pm
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Not the friendliest staff, the girl who served us rolled her eyes when I pointed out my eggs were not cooked properly. I see I'm not the only one complaining about their eggs.
Kevin / June 30, 2012 at 06:33 pm
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I wasn't impressed with the food or service. The floor could use a good cleaning there were stains all over the place.
Londoner / December 8, 2012 at 06:35 am
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As a Londoner myself, I love the fact that they named it after an area of London!

But thats about as much I loved of it... The food and the cleanliness were not upto par.
Aron / July 4, 2013 at 07:42 am
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Love Hammersmith's. Their little bacon hash side dish is insanely good.

Service is amazing. Food is always great. I'm a local and a regular. This place is the spot.

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