Olde Stone Cottage
The Olde Stone Cottage Pub offers classic pub fare and flavourful fusion cuisine, all in a charming 19th century cottage.
Owned and operated by the team behind the Stone Lion, the building has been standing since 1867, making it as old as Canada itself.
Despite the building's age, the food and drinks have a decidedly modern feel. The Olde Stone Cottage has been fine-tuning its menu for more than ten years and now serves an eclectic mix of familiar pub food and inventive international dishes.
Gyoza dumplings ($14) are a new addition to the menu. Six steam-fried veggie dumplings come covered in ginger-sesame sauce and sweet chili drizzle, with a side of Asian-inspired mayo for dipping.
I don't normally enjoy veggie-heavy dishes, but the dumplings turned out to be one of the best bites of the night. In particular, the sauces put a different spin on a flavour that I normally find distasteful.
Fish tacos ($14) are served Baja-style on flour tortillas, and loaded with corn salsa, chili lime crema, shredded lettuce, and pickled onion. If you're a fan of sour notes, worry not: the plate comes with two lime wedges, ripe for the squeezing.
The chicken and goat cheese club ($18) is a souped-up version of a typical club sandwich, substituting grilled chicken breast for turkey and a sliced baguette for toast.
The goat cheese gives the sandwich a sharp, savoury taste, balanced out by a combination of tomato, red onion, garlic aioli, and greens.
The smoked gouda mac and cheese ($18), served in a cast iron skillet, is a pasta lover's dream. Seasoned breadcrumbs and shaved parmesan give the first bite a satisfying crunch, while the melted gouda and aged white cheddar keep the springy corkscrew noodles nice and gooey.
The crumbly top layer reminds me a lot of my dad's macaroni, which was a fixture of family gatherings throughout my childhood. My preference still lies with the family recipe, but this dish makes an acceptable substitute.
You can add bacon for $3, or upgrade to braised beef or buffalo chicken for $5.
The espresso martini ($14) is a strong drink made with Ketel One vodka, Kahlua, simple syrup, and freshly-brewed espresso. Its earthy, bitter flavour reminds me a little of dark chocolate.
It wasn't my favourite cocktail, but I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a shot of caffeine.
For fans of fruity spirits, the blueberry peach lemonade ($13) combines Dixon’s blueberry gin with peach schnapps, lemonade, and soda. The resulting mixture is a sweet, sippable summer cocktail.
By the time we left the pub, I had nearly drained the glass. Maybe it was the lemony undertones, or maybe it was the lack of an overt alcoholic taste. Either way, this drink appealed to me in a way that most cocktails don't.
Like any pub worth their salt, The Olde Stone Cottage offers a wide selection of beers and ciders, as well as a number of Ontario wines.
Niagara's Jackson-Triggs red and Saintly rose top the wine list, while the liquor cabinet includes everything from juicy Space Invader IPA to grainy Stiegl lager.
If you're looking for a particular brew, just ask your bartender: even if they don't have it, odds are good that they'll find something that suits your taste.
The pub is worth visiting even if you're not interested in drinking. With its cobblestone walls, arched windows and white gingerbread trim, The Olde Stone Cottage is utterly unlike any other building in the neighbourhood.
A plaque near the entrance commemorates the building's one hundredth anniversary and mentions its architect — a man called Jeremiah Annis — by name.
Though the general manager didn't have much to say about Mr. Annis, he did inform us that the main dining room has remained mostly unchanged, even after a century of renovations.
A small patio wraps around the front and sides of the cottage, with umbrellas and fire pits dotting the dining area and providing shade and warmth as needed. These modern touches clash with the otherwise rustic decor, but not enough to detract from the building's charm.
On Thursdays, the pub hosts trivia nights, courtesy of Bingpot Trivia. I'm told that sports games are another big draw, with the dining room filling up on nights when the Raptors are playing.
When we came to visit, neither the trivia nor the game held the crowd's attention. Instead, most patrons were engaged in spirited conversation. While it was heartening to see so many people spending time with friends and family, the noise level might have been uncomfortably high for some.
We ended up sitting upstairs where the atmosphere wasn't quite as chaotic. This smaller room can be rented for private events and parties. The pub also uses this space for live music and stand-up comedy.
Overall, the Olde Stone Cottage is a great alternative to more well-known establishments. The food is a little fancier and the environment is unique, but at the end of the day, it's just another place to grab a beer.
This opinion was echoed by the staff, who hope that guests will see the venue not only as a piece of Canadian history, but as a friendly local bar.
The Olde Stone Cottage Pub is located at 3750 Kingston Rd.