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Restaurants

Weslodge Saloon

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on July 30, 2012 / review policy

weslodge saloon torontoWeslodge Saloon announces its entrance with an illuminated, slab-lettered marquee and electrifying yellow doors. The restaurant, which opened last week at the base of the soon-to-be-complete Victory Condos, occupies the address on King West that was formerly home to the Mini dealership west of Spadina.

weslodge saloon torontoVisually, Weslodge is a knockout. Inside, the space (designed by Munge Leung) is decked out like an old rich uncle's trophy room (if only I had one).

weslodge saloon torontoAntlers mounted floor to (incredibly high) ceilings and brass accents pay homage to the western theme, but its the majestic bar, oversized white cabinetry, and melange of patterns and textures that refreshingly bucks the prevailing trend for sparse, thrift store-chic decor.

weslodge saloon torontoHere, the intent is to create something original and authentic, sophisticated but still casual; a modern saloon. At only a week old it appears that restauranteurs Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth (whose collective portfolios already boast top dining destinations like Kultura, La Société and Cube) have already found success with this concept.

weslodge saloon torontoThe restaurant is bustling and the bar is full. The servers, sporting fun leather holsters, seem unfazed, but they are both gracious and charming as they tend to diners and deliver impeccable service. In the kitchen, executive chef Stuart Cameron and chef de cuisine Kanida Chey show off with food that is heavily technique-driven, but also approachable and easy to eat.

weslodge saloon torontoThe menu offers a modern take on American cuisine at surprising value. The Scotch Egg ($4) seems modestly priced considering it comes wrapped in chorizo with a soft golden centre that could only be the product of some incredibly delicate and arduous process. Sitting atop a bed of sweet tomato jam and topped with freshly shaved black truffle, the two-bite serving is delightful.

weslodge saloon torontoThe Seared Bonito ($12) features albacore tuna crusted in Za Ataar spices and garnished with diced tomatoes, avocado pearls and citrus. It is an inspired plate that is as beautiful as it is delicious. The sous-vide Halibut ($26) arrives topped with crispy fried leeks and studded with clams and house-cured lardons.

weslodge saloon torontoFor dessert, each description is more enticing than the last. The Pannacotta ($8) is artfully plated with a base of pistachio, framing two coconut-dusted pannacotta cubes filled with blood orange gelée.

weslodge saloon torontoLike any good saloon, Weslodge features an extensive bar menu including cocktails by the glass or bottle. Behind the bar, Elan Marks (also from Harji's Kultura and Nyood) crafts updated classics like the Tabacco Manhattan ($17/glass) made with housemade bitters and the Barrel Aged Negroni ($14/glass), garnished with a deep toasted orange peel.

weslodge saloon torontoOpen for lunch on weekdays, dinner seven days a week, and brunch on Sundays, Weslodge Saloon is certainly worth the visit. The exceptional food, service and atmosphere all make this a standout destination – even on an already vibrant stretch of King West.

Photos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

26 Comments

Roi / July 30, 2012 at 05:28 pm
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Hey, hey look over here! We are trying to be NYC...
Michelle / July 30, 2012 at 08:20 pm
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Isn't the Patagonia where Mini once was? This was a parking lot before.
Shawn replying to a comment from Michelle / July 30, 2012 at 11:36 pm
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Yeah, the Mini dealer is now the Patagonia; this is where the parking lot that used to keep the used & demo Minis were kept.
elks / July 31, 2012 at 12:04 am
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Hey, that place looks neat! I'll go there!
TK replying to a comment from Roi / July 31, 2012 at 07:28 am
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Because NYC is the only city in the world with a saloon resto?
Can you say ignorant?
milo / July 31, 2012 at 08:25 am
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hey Roy - if you dont like it stay in Mississauga
Karen / July 31, 2012 at 10:02 am
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the scotch egg is confirmed as amazing. super cute decor & great review!
Richard / July 31, 2012 at 09:00 pm
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Did someone steal a page from the Breslin ( Ace Hotel )
Forks and knives / August 3, 2012 at 02:23 pm
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This place is absolutly inedible. If only you could eat the beautiful tiles and walls....thanks for another disgusting restaurant.
Olivia / August 10, 2012 at 02:10 pm
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I made a reservation here for our usual fortnightly summer office lunch (today, actually). We were all impressed, upon entering, with the decor; obviously high quality and a beautiful contradiction of hard-edged Western gun-slingers' bar and gourmet eatery. Unfortunately, I was told over the phone that they were gluten-free friendly and had plenty on hand for a Coeliac to munch on, but this didn't turn out to be the case. I ended up ordering a salad with a bit of bison added to compensate and was charged a heck of a lot for it...The bison was cooked to perfection, however (I asked for rare and I got rare) and we were served attentively. I would like to come back for drinks on a Friday after work (looks like they'll make me a killer G&T) but the whole table was left a little underwhelmed with the meal as a whole.
Maureen / August 10, 2012 at 04:29 pm
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Place looks terrific, and so do the eats. Can anyone tell us why the bartenders are wearing some kind of holsters?
Luma / August 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm
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Amaaazing food!!!!
Great atmosphere and service!
I love this place and can't wait to come back.
Must try: seared tuna, tartare, hen and halibut!

J / August 17, 2012 at 01:15 pm
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Phone number listed is incorrect, should be 416-274-8766
wali replying to a comment from Roi / August 26, 2012 at 01:48 pm
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I had a disastrous experience at weslodge! I went with my daughter and 11 month old grandaughter the other day. Because it was rather late for lunch, we asked the hostess if they were still serving and she said yes, seated us, and gave us menus.
After staring at our menus for over 20 mins settling the baby in (which is a daunting task when dealing with a fussy 11 month old!), we had to go back to hostess to ask her to send someone to take our order or at least have someone serve water to our table. After she slowly shuffled to the kitchen-she wasn't very amused with our request- still cant figure out why!- she returned and rather unapologetically informed us that the kitchen was closed and that she had made a mistake.
I understand that mistakes happen (I have not encountered to date a mistake such as this, where the hostess doesn't know the timings of the kitchen, seats you down, makes you wait for a good 20 mins and then are informed that you need to leave- but oh well!?) , however what really bothered us was the hostess's attitude. When she saw our frustration when we were told the kitchen was closed, she dismissively smirked and responded with fakest apology!
weslodge looked great, the menu had some great things on it that i would have loved to try, but after that experience- No way am i going back! There is no way that i would pay money for rude condescending attitudes!
Tori replying to a comment from wali / September 21, 2012 at 10:55 am
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Holy Christ, get over yourself.
I have seen your review on Urbanspoon and as someone who goes to Weslodge atleast once ia week and knows all of the hostesses by name I can guarantee you, either you gave them a reason to act this way or you are blowing something out of proportion. Everyone has off days. Weslodge is a fabulous restaurant! Maybe try going again during normal lunch hours or make a reservation for dinner.
Im sure you will enjoy it.
Shooter / October 4, 2012 at 02:44 pm
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Wali - Your first mistake is taking an 11 year old to a restaurant like this. Second mistake is waiting until 3 pm to feed an 11 year old and being 'surprised' that she is fussy.

Stick to Dennys, and on special occasions Swiss Chalet.
I too have tight jeans, a vest, dozens of tattoos, designer stubble, and really cool coke bottle gla / October 10, 2012 at 06:55 pm
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This place is nice and hipstery. Therefore, it is amazing!
GK / October 15, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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I haven't been there yet, but I have read across multiple sites otherwise glowing reviews that highlight poor hostessing.
Bee replying to a comment from Shooter / October 31, 2012 at 01:30 pm
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Learn to read, Shooter. The review was based on two WOMEN going out for lunch, and one of them had the audacity to have a baby - an 11 month-old. I know it's an atrocity that breeders will want to dine at nice restaurants with their spawn in tow but I guess we can just passive aggressively thumb our noses over the Internet at people like that.
Alex / November 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm
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Did Bee just drop the 'B' word in a restaurant review? Damn...
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Westcoast Nom-Nomer / May 20, 2013 at 10:42 am
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I LOVED Weslodge!
I had to entertain out-of-town friends and was looking for a restaurant that had a load of character and one that wasn't pretentious. I had done my research and read the reviews here and on a few other sites. I had narrowed it down to one other restaurant and this one. The price point of this restaurant made me a little hesitant but we decided to try it after another restaurant didn't have room for us. I am so glad we went to Weslodge instead! Right off the bat, the hostess was incredibly sweet and seated me right away and led my friends over once they arrived. The decor is reminiscent of many wonderful restaurants in Portland and in Vancouver. I am always homesick for the westcoast and this restaurant had many great reminders of home.

At 730pm the restaurant was bustling lively. We had a great server. He was knowledgeable about everything on their menu and was incredibly attentive to a party of three even after his section became incredibly busy. He ensured I was taken care of when I told him I had an almond allergy and went back and forth with the kitchen to check ingredients with everything I ordered.

I had a scotch egg (AMAZING), the bison ribeye (PHENOMENAL) and then the sticky toffee cake (DELICIOUS). I had a glass of malbec and then a well-made latte with dessert. We never felt rushed and my glass of water was always filled by the server. My friend was very impressed with the regular old fashioned that he ordered. He found the featured orange spiced old fashioned a little on the sweet side for his taste.

Even though it was a bit on the pricier side, by the end of our meal, we felt it was very deserving of every penny! Great meal, wonderful ambience, and phenomenal staff! I will definitely be back!
Marina / January 11, 2014 at 10:10 am
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AHHH-mazing!!! Weslodge is fantastic. Would go again in s heartbeat! I finally know whats behind the big yellow doors!!! :)
Cassandra / February 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm
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Went here on Valentine's with my boyfriend, and our server told us we should order at least six dishes between the two of us. Since Weslodge is one of those shared plate restaurants, we assumed the portions would be small and similar to that of Origin or Daisho. We were so wrong. Portions were huuuuuge, which is definitely a good thing (especially in Toronto), but not what we were expecting seeing as how we were pushed to order so much food. A lot of it went to waste or we ended up eating way too much. Not necessarily a bad review of the place (I loved everything we ordered), but just keep in mind that they may tell you to order way more food than you actually need. If I were to go back I would only order max. 3 plates to share between two people.

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