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Restaurants

The Bristol Yard

Posted by Staff / Reviewed on August 3, 2012 / review policy

the bristol yard torontoThe Bristol Yard is a quaint British cafe that's located on Christie just North of Bloor. Davy Love--of BlowUp DJing fame--has faded out from the club scene and into the kitchen as owner and chef, and The Bristol Yard allows him to showcase heritage British cuisine from bangers and rashers to pies and crumpets. Unpretentious and warm, don't expect elevated fare, but rather a working class meal that offers the full monty.

the bristol yard torontoPerhaps the recent Olympics 'opening ceremonies caused a hankering for a solid British breakfast (either that, or the bender the night before), but we find ourselves at The Bristol Yard bright and early on Sunday morning in hopes of beating the brunch madness.

The interior marries warm wood with monochromatic seating--black tables and white benches--for an effect that's half old-fashioned diner, and half rustic reclamation. It's a nice change of pace from typical pub decor. Portraits of famous Brits hang on an accent wall, and there's only seating for about twenty, so arrive early to snag a booth as a queue began to form by the time we finished.

the bristol yard torontoThe breakfast pie ($12) starts off as a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, which is then covered in a cornish pasty. Any pie is only as good as its crust--dense yet flaky, this one was stellar, and rendered its contents a mere afterthought, although it's worth noting the savory sausage within.

Their Bristolian version of eggs benny, Egg St. George ($12), sees two poached eggs atop a slice of back bacon, laid over house-made crumpets. The entire dish is then doused in their own 'Bristol Sauce,' which is similar to a mornay. Albeit just a garnish, the fiery red hot sauce brought together the entire dish.

the bristol yard torontoFor good measure, we decided to split the beans on toast ($7) with our choice of either aged cheddar or a blue veined stiltion. The housemade beans are braised to a perfection that clings to the thick slabs of white toast. Definitely not from a can, the beans are a meal unto themselves, and were complemented nicely by the richness of the stilton. Word to the wise: don't skimp on the stilton.

Apparently, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs because we can't resist a Tikka Masal Pie ($5) for the road--these savoury pies are available for take-out as an addendum to your meal.

the bristol yard torontoThe Bristol Yard is a stand-out option amidst the city's ample options for British fare, with a jovial atmosphere that's perfectly matched to their comfort food. We're already planning to return for dinner.

Photos by Peter Henderson

Discussion

56 Comments

kyle / August 3, 2012 at 09:05 am
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Looks delicious! I wanna check it out for sure
Cyril Sneer / August 3, 2012 at 09:54 am
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Man, I really have to move out to the west end one of these days!
Welshgrrl / August 3, 2012 at 09:57 am
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This place lives up to the hype - authentic, affordable, and well prepared. Had Steak/stilton pie and chips there recently, friend had bangers and mash, we both rated it pretty highly
TH / August 3, 2012 at 10:13 am
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Had the Full Monty Breakfast a week ago, it's exactly what you want in a full english. The guy behind the counter is super nice.
I live a block away so I'm envisioning myself getting very fat soon. Only strike against them is the absence of a Noel Gallagher portrait on the wall.
michelle / August 3, 2012 at 10:43 am
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This place rules! I eat here once a week at least. So yummy. The cheese & onion pie and the cornish pasty are both HIGHLY recommended.
Also stoked there is no Noel Gallagher picture on the wall.
chris hoy / August 3, 2012 at 01:29 pm
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Do you mean Tikka Masala?!
Lindsay / August 3, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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You need a colon (:) in the Facebook page address after the https.
Noel Gallagher / August 3, 2012 at 01:38 pm
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I shouldn't just be on the wall, mate, I should be on the wonderwall.
mayor dodge / August 3, 2012 at 04:24 pm
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Finally. A new place in town to go to that does not believe in microscopic trendy fad food but serves the REAL goods! With great service too! I can barely contain myself. I'm calling a cab right now. JOY.
McRib / August 3, 2012 at 05:55 pm
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that pie looks great, but your description is wrong.

a cornish pasty is a dish all of its own: a baked pastry filled with meat and veg and eaten by hand. It isnt a pie crust.

what you had there was just a pork pie with an egg in the middle. and it looks delicious.

question: does this place serve scotch eggs?
Amy / August 4, 2012 at 08:25 pm
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I have a friend visiting from England in a few months; we'll pop in here for sure!
the lemur / August 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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Is it still cash only, no licence yet?
Chelseagirl / August 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm
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The food was just great- like a dream about English breakfast! I had the breakfast pie and my husband had the Maradona. The sausage in eth pie is fabulous, a blend of beef and pork I think. There was even a perfect grilled tomato on the side. It was a lot of food for not much money, too.

Caveat: It was hot as the hobs of hell in that place, despite the physical presence of an air conditioner. It's also tough to get coffee, first cup or refills. But the guy was so nice nd overworked that you almost forgive that.
whatthehell / August 8, 2012 at 12:04 am
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"...but rather a working class meal that offers the full monty."
whatthehell / August 8, 2012 at 12:05 am
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whoever wrote that has no idea what a full monty is.
josh / August 25, 2012 at 03:33 pm
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Super Excellent. I have been there twice, had the Scottish breakfast one day and the full monty the next. Both meals where excellent, I mean really excellent, perfectly cooked and extraordinary ingredients.

The blond Scottish guy is friendly and nice, it's too bad the place is on the tiny side.
Steve / November 24, 2012 at 03:58 pm
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Best breakfast I've had in Toronto since I moved here a year ago. Almost hate to tell anyone about this place, it so good. Fresh, homemade and local ingredients.

I had the Benny pictured here on the blog, and it was delicious and spicy hot.
And the coffee strong and included, just the way I like it.. Service was friendly and fast. It's tiny, charming, and popular, so I imagine can be very busy, but worth the wait.

They now have a liquor licence as well, UK beer selection.
And looks like a patio for summer.

I'll be back for 'the Full Monty Breakfast' and one of the selection of dinner Pies.

jaime / November 25, 2012 at 02:54 pm
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I had a bad experience here. The scottish guy with the glasses is so rude.
Laughing Gnome / November 27, 2012 at 03:11 pm
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What was your bad experience, Jaime...? Were you the rude customer that kept asking for substitutions even though you were told there are NO SUBSTITUTIONS...? I bet you are. John is a great server and incredibly polite and patient.
Holly / December 14, 2012 at 10:05 pm
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Just ate here tonight - it was really nice. The Scottish bloke served us and he was very friendly and helpful. The food was really nice and the atmosphere even better. Will definitely go again.
Steven / December 18, 2012 at 10:20 am
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Hie web page is out of order.
Bob / December 19, 2012 at 01:09 pm
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One thing I notice is that it is hard to find the address of these places within your reviews. Looks good! The breakfast pie looks like a version of a Scotch Egg.
Johnathan / January 11, 2013 at 11:50 am
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Can't say I would recommend or go back. Food is good but greasy. People that work there on phones are rude.
Early Eater / January 14, 2013 at 10:54 am
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Holy crap - a whole review and not one mention of the friggin hours this place operates. Can't find it on their website either.

WTF? I guess I should be thankful they told me the address.
Womblemon replying to a comment from Early Eater / January 28, 2013 at 10:37 am
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Early Eater - same frustration. Not open on Monday mornings (I think) according to the Yelp review page. TBY FB page is also quite unhelpful.

BlogTO I love you, but you're bringing me down. How do you not include the hours of operation? Truth is, without you, I wouldn't have heard of so many of these places, but let's get a couple things straight. Your user reviews are so all over the place, that I have to typically trust the good word of the readers and NOT your 'staff' reviews to tell me whether a place is worth going to or not. Is it really that difficult for your reviewers (or profilers) to include some basic details that might be relevant to the masses? You're lack of consistency in providing what would seem to many as the basics really blows me away. In the meantime, I've looked up the Yelp review of this place and provided a link so your readers can check the hours for themselves. However, please note that upon looking over the FB page of TBY, hours seem to be posted in comments (not About?) and they don't seem to be open consistently. e.g. a comment from January 18th that says, "We are NOT open for dinner tonight (Friday)."

Not to c**p on just BlogTO, THE BRISTOL YARD, this internet thing is a make or break for places like yourself. Maybe attempt to review what your customers are saying/complaining about but in a productive fashion instead of hitting them in the balls. Also, what's with your FB page? No consistent hours of operation? Do you wake up daily from with a hangover and see if you want to go in to work that day? You have a great opportunity here to show you are engaged with your customer. You know the ones who pay your bills. The ones who want to come to your place but won't because they don't know when you are open. Customers want customer service and I'm not sure you DO get that concept. Especially as a couple comments point out some customers are leaving your restaurant unhappy; maybe it is you, hmm? Seems like you'd rather combat them and be the winner then attempt to learn and adapt. Not a great long-term strategy eh? Set the record straight in a collaborative manner, engage, listen and reap the benefits.

I wanted to come, food does look good tbh but I'd rather not have a surly waiter experience, guess when you're open, and then be made fun of for leaving a review which may not have a 100% favorable experience attached to it.

I know DJ's don't like it when people make requests, but, you're not DJ'ing anymore. Booyah!

Enough free advice and bitching. I'm going to change my tequila infused tampon now...
Tim replying to a comment from Womblemon / January 28, 2013 at 01:16 pm
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The reason we don't typically post hours is because many businesses change their hours of operation so frequently (and seasonally) that it's almost impossible to keep the hours current and correct. We're rather not post hours than post hours that are not accurate.
Womblemon replying to a comment from Tim / January 29, 2013 at 03:16 pm
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Thanks Tim - I get that, especially The Bristol Yard where they seem to arbitrarily decide their opening hours from day to day or week to week.

Is there a way that when a restaurant is 'featured/profiled/reviewed', a link is sent out to that establishment where they can update certain prudent pieces of information? Put the onus on the establishment to confirm/verify/update hours as I can understand it's tedious and next to impossible for your staffers to keep things updated.

Apologies on my diatribe, I read BlogTO every day. You offer a great service to me and I just get annoyed when you create an interest but then I have to go off-site to get the basics.

Thanks for explaining your position and I'll consider that next time I read an article.
Tanya / February 10, 2013 at 04:26 pm
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seen rats/roaches in this place and the atmosphere smells like a combination of smoke & grease - barf!
The Bristol Yard replying to a comment from Tanya / February 11, 2013 at 12:26 am
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Okay, Tanya. You sound like a complete moron. Perhaps even a jealous competitor... I don't know. I don't care to know. I do know one thing though. You are full of shit. We have had 4 straight PERFECT health inspections (not even a single minor infraction)from the City of Toronto... and not too many restaurants can claim that. Feel free to check our T.O. DINESAFE record for yourself, folks. We laugh at this kind of slanderous crap.
Granddaughter / February 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm
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Since this place seems to be doing well, I'm sure there's no incentive for them to change their deal with the hours. I (sort of) get it, the changing hours and all, but it's disappointing, I mean, I am TRYING to give them my money, I WANT to spend it at their restaurant, my interest is peaked, and they are making it very difficult for me to give them my business.

I inquired about the hours once, showed up the same day and it was closed. Went back the next day and, although lights were on, nobody answered the door. When I called, someone told me the Facebook hours were wrong. What gives? I mean it's great if you live around the corner or always dine at 8 but I just wanted to pick up some damn pies for my Scottish grandma who was at the bedside of her dying husband of 60 years. Not to seek sob-story sympathy (well, maybe) but pies are powerful. Please, for the sake of grannies everywhere, suck it up and be conformists and post your hours.
Melanie / March 11, 2013 at 05:47 pm
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On a cold winter day, some friends and I arrived at Bristol Yard for Sunday morning brunch. Not only did it not open on time that morning, leaving about 10 people standing out in the cold, but they were out of four of their dishes, wouldn't do substitutions and we were told that soy milk was too "fancy" for them to have on hand. While I don't expect every restaurant to have soy milk for those of us who are lactose intolerant, rather than "fancy", I also don't expect to be treated like an inconvenience when I ask for vegetarian options (after studying their menu in advance to ensure that they would have food I could eat). A friend who was pregnant, but not yet showing was rudely told that they did not have any herbal tea. We left without brunch and went down the street to a place that not only had soy milk, but also had a welcoming atmosphere. I would never go here again and definitely recommend that others avoid this place as well.
North Country Boy replying to a comment from Melanie / March 12, 2013 at 10:39 am
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Wahhh wahhh... no Soy milk... wahhh wahhhh... no herbal tea...you poor, poor thing you. The place is a British Caff, Melanie not moonbeams yoga retreat. Have you ever been to a British Caff? Obviously not, because you surely wouldn't ask for something as stupid as herbal tea or soy milk in a British Caff unless you wanted to be laughed out the door. The Bristol Yard makes damn good food and is pretty clear on their menu that they serve regular coffee or tea... full-stop. Odd that for someone who "studied their menu in advance" you didn't notice the lack of hippie teas and soy milk!!?? I am happy to hear you are not going back as the place is tiny and I don't want to hear you moan and complain while I eat my breakfast.
StarvingMarvin / March 17, 2013 at 03:51 pm
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the most disorganized place in toronto! they don't know if they're coming or going or opening or closing... not to mention fattening food!
The Bristol Yard replying to a comment from StarvingMarvin / March 17, 2013 at 08:59 pm
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Huh? Disorganised? I assure you, StarvingMarvin we know exactly what we are doing. Just because we don't choose to operate on your timetable doesn't mean we are disorganised. I will make it very clear for you: We open when 'WE' want to open. This is why 'WE' opened a restaurant... so 'WE' can do things the way 'WE' want. There are no rules stating restaurant owners must do what everyone else does... and as far as the food being fattening... yeah... and your point is...?
Chris / March 22, 2013 at 10:33 am
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Except *WE* the customer pay your bills, your salaries, your rent, and, oh, for the food we consume at your "restaurant." I was curious about this place, hence my coming to read a review, but the owner's obnoxious, defensive responses have put me off. You do know that the service industry means serving others, right?
The Bristol Yard replying to a comment from Chris / March 22, 2013 at 04:23 pm
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Chris: I think you have 'service' mixed up with 'servant'. I am not your servant, nor are any of our employees. You do not pay my salary. You do not dictate what we do with our business. What you pay for is good food... PERIOD. You are free to go where you like and start your own business if you don't like that. That is not a problem with us. Enjoy.
Michael / March 22, 2013 at 04:29 pm
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I've always wanted to try this place out but of all three times I tried going they were closed despited reading their facebook page that they were open. A costumer lost.
Kay / March 22, 2013 at 06:46 pm
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This place seems to have a pretty bad reputation?! And the owner seems to be ungrateful. I've heard from others that this place has horrible 'servants' lol, and that the food is basic. None of my $'s will be spent in this place. Change your attitude guys, it's a recipe for disaster.
The Bristol Yard / March 22, 2013 at 09:01 pm
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Hey Kay... Ungrateful for what...? being called disorganised? We aren't trying to be like everyone else. We just do our own thing. We are BASIC... yes... that's what we do... basic food. Some people like it and some people don't. We aren't trying to be haute cuisine ass kissers. We just do our thing... and judging by the loyal customers we have I'd say we are doing what we do quite well. Thanks.
Jason / April 4, 2013 at 01:46 pm
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Still reeling over the facebook post. If there is any goodness in this universe, a partner will be found. BY is one of my top 3 places to eat in this city, the kind of place I'd take friends and out of town guests. The two breakfasts and one dinner I have had here have been nothing short of exquisite. I love that it is cash only and "basic"--you go here for true British fare made by somebody that truly loves making true British fare. I wish more restaurants were like this.
Kyle replying to a comment from The Bristol Yard / April 10, 2013 at 03:28 pm
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I was interested in this place before reading the replies made on behalf of The Bristol Yard. Now I could care less if I ever go. If you feel your loyal customer base will grow with such comments, good luck.

This website is chock full of shitty comments, it takes a proper business to leave them aside and let people with good judgement to take value, when added, from the posts made.
Beth / May 10, 2013 at 08:18 pm
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Just came back from the Bristol Yard and while the food and service were great, our meals took OVER an hour!! And we got our food before two other tables, who were there before us, got their food.

Like I said, the food is great but the back kitchen doesn't seem like they know how to run a restaurant. With only a handful of tables, there is no way a couple of pies and fries should take that long (and I've worked in the restaurant industry for years).

I live just down the block and have been a couple of times and I must say, they are so disorganized! Too bad because the food is good. Just don't come hungry!
Gordon / May 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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Really liked the food last night, the fish and chips were great, the Winston Churchill was wonderful, and the Shepherd's Pie was sweet.
While the wait was a little longer than normal the food was great. Maybe add some nibbles on the table next time. The service was very good otherwise. Looking forward to going again.

Waited almost an hour for food. Need to speed up the service for food.

I also really hope that the commenter "The Bristol Yard" isn't actually the person running the restaurant, because the replies are turning me off of ever going there again.
Gongadin / May 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm
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My wife and I had brunch at BY this morning. Disorganized? Not likely! They had service down to a science. The food was incredible, the service was extremely friendly and attentive...they gave me extra homemade hot sauce for my Glasgow...all in all a wonderfully positive experience. Can't say that about a lot of restaurants in this town.
We will be back to BY as soon as possible!
sandra / July 20, 2013 at 02:22 pm
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Oh Torontonians are a bunch of whiners and Annex types the worst, the owners shouldn't take their reviews so seriously though, this is typical of people in this city, they will never be straight forward so the internet has provided a place for their spiteful trolling.
I will most def try your greasy food once more....
Grant / August 4, 2013 at 03:53 pm
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I feel the need to chime in here with my own experience at the Bristol Yard.

I've been for brunch about a half dozen times since last fall. Each and every time has been a great brunch experience, even when it was filled to bursting on a cold January Sunday morning.

The food is delicious. The coffee is good and, even better, bottomless.

The staff - well, the front of house server - are friendly and attentive without being imposing (not easy in such a confined space).

Keep it up, Bristol!
Kathleen / August 8, 2013 at 06:07 pm
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I was here two or three weeks ago. It was on my list of places to try when I next visited Toronto. Made the trek through backed up highway traffic to get there on a Sunday morning... waited 20 minutes for a table... then sat with a tea for 60 minutes before I asked when our food would be ready. We were told it would be "soon", so we waited 15 more minutes. The refill on my tea still hadn't come. At 1 hr 15 mins, we were told it would be "3 more minutes". 10 minutes later, we walked out and never looked back. No explanations, no drink refills. 10 tables must be hard to manage.
Politeness / August 31, 2013 at 04:08 pm
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As Bristol Yard's own comments above prove, their understanding of the term "customer service" is rather lacking.

I called early this morning during their brunch hours to ask if I could make a table reservation for dinner. On their web page, they have a phone number just for dinner reservations. So I called it. No one answered, even though they were open for brunch at the time. Fine, I'm sure they were busy. The voice mail said to leave a message for reservation requests. Great. I left a message, with all the details, and asked if they could call me back to let me know if my request could be accommodated.

After about four hours with no response, I was getting a little antsy about the dinner situation. I really really wanted to take my British friend out for some good pie. If they don't have space for us tonight, that's fine, I would understand. It's a same-day reservation, so it's a bit of a risk. I just wanted to know.

So I called the number again. This time, a grumpy fellow answered. I mentioned that I left a message earlier about dinner. He said, "Yes, I heard that. We don't have dinners again until September." Huh? Okay fine, but why couldn't he call me back on the number I left him to let me know that?? I specifically asked for someone to call me back to let me know. Furthermore, they say on their web page that the phone number is expressly for dinner reservations. So why couldn't they update their voice mail to let people know that dinner will not return until September?

He explained to me that, somewhere on their Facebook page, it mentions that dinner is off for the summer. I checked this out after the phone call ended, but this information appears way down the page, as a status update from a while ago. At the top of the page, it has their usual hours with dinner hours listed and the reservations number.

Even if I should have gone to their Facebook and found this status update, why couldn't he do me the courtesy of just calling me back?

At the end of our phone call, he finished with, "Is that it?". When I said "Yeah, I guess", the phone just clicked off on his end and that was it.

I'm sure the food is great, but my favourite starter to a good meal out is customer service. In the comments above, the Bristol Yard people say something about not being people's "servants", in response to the various complaints about their customer service. I don't think replying directly to my inquiry and being polite have anything to do with being a "servant". It's just common sense.

All this being said, I wish them the best of luck, and hope they keep winning people over with their culinary triumphs. It's great looking food, and I'm sure it's even better in person.

Cheers.
Carlos / September 28, 2013 at 07:54 am
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I went there on a Sunday as part of my weekend brunch explorations and really enjoyed the place. The guy there runs almost an one man show, but does an amazing job at it and it's very pleasant and nice to chat with The potatoes ang eggs are really good there! There is easy parking just across the street and even though coffee is just filtered (no espressos or lattes), it was still good and hot. I was happy to not see Noel Gallagher on the wall (unlike some people that commented here) but saw Robert Smith there, smilling. What I really missed was Ian Curtis and Ian McCulloch, but I guess there's only so much space on the wall to hang stuff. Regardless, I recommend the place highly!
paolo / November 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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How did these guys win The Best Brunch in Now Magazine's 'Best of Toronto' when all I read is how terrible their customer service is AND I've never even heard of this place before. Seems like a scam.
Lorry replying to a comment from paolo / November 8, 2013 at 09:49 am
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I don't think it's a scam. It's just the British effect.

I remember being at a business meeting a few years ago (here in Canada). During the meeting, someone had made a point that was readily dismissed as absurd. A little bit later, a fellow with a British accent made the same exact point, almost word for word, and it was applauded.

The point of this little story is that, as the Bristol Yard is a very British pub with English rock stars on the wall and such and such, it tends to get praised and lauded despite having faults that would sink a more colonial restaurant.
Danielle / January 26, 2014 at 08:23 am
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I've been here a couple times with my British (ex)boyfriend, and we both absolutely loved it. We had great service, the food was superb and very filling, and it is a great atmosphere to eat in.
Karen / January 28, 2014 at 02:44 pm
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Came here on the weekend and it pains me to write this because I was really wanted to like it but I got SOOO sick almost immediately after eating here that I was out of commission for the whole weekend. My friend that I was with wasn't feeling well either. Needless to say I will not be going here again for another meal in fear of getting sick again.
The Bristol Yard replying to a comment from Karen / January 28, 2014 at 04:27 pm
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Though I am sorry to hear you were, ill... I find it quite hard to believe that you got sick from eating here, Karen. We pride ourselves on our food handling and food safety here... which can be backed up with our Dinesafe record. Sometimes you can get ill from food you ate up to 28 days before becoming sick... blaming the last thing you ate isn't always the right way to go. It is also flu season, and more than a few people I know have been ill recently... and none of them ate here. What did you eat here on the weekend if you don't mind me asking...? I would be very interested to hear. If you wish to continue this conversation you can email me here: thebristolyard@gmail.com Thanks, and again... sorry you were ill... but I think your public blaming us is perhaps a little premature.
28 Days Later replying to a comment from The Bristol Yard / March 7, 2014 at 09:36 am
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28 days? Oh c'mon, give me a break. She's talking about common food poisoning, not hepatitis or helicobacter pylori. She's also obviously not speaking about the flu. Man, the things people say and write....
Eat there and like it replying to a comment from Tim / April 12, 2014 at 11:14 am
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Tim, let's drop the bullcrap. It is NOT difficult to plan ahead a few days and keep your hours of operation up to date on your Facebook page, unless you just wing it hourly as you go along. I had sent you messages asking hours of operation which you didn't bother to even answer. You may say you don't want customers who get pissed off, which is okay when you are busy, but if the day comes things slow down you may have time to reflect on this. A bit of friendly advice; put the brakes on your over-bearing Queen West attitude; this is a different hood.

Having said all that your meals are the BEST, and the only thing I would tweak is the black pudding which tends to be on the dry side. Everything else is perfect.

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