Sparrow Restaurant, the latest venture from Michael Derbyshire (of the The Kennedy Public House , just next door) has replaced Dr. Generosity on Bloor West, near Runnymede.
Vintage naval tattoos inspired the name, and the motif subtly runs throughout the space, emblematized in stained glass and a collection of bird cages. The downstairs accommodates 80 seats, while the yet-to-open upper floor will double that, and offer an additional 50-seat patio.
In the kitchen, chef Matthew Ness (formerly of Patria and Mercatto ) oversees seasonally-driven menus made entirely from scratch, from house-cured bacon to condiments - even the breads are baked in house.
I visit during brunch, which is offered seven days a week until 3pm. The brunch menu includes composed plates like a Spanish omelette ($12) served as an eggy slab specked with soft potato, spinach and layers of shaved duck confit. Shards of crispy duck skin finish the plate, along with dots of pea puree and creme fraiche.
The Sammy ($15) is essentially a charcuterie plate on a bun and will change with the selection of meats, cheeses and chutneys du jour. Today the sandwich is stacked onto a house-baked Vienna bun with sopressata, porchetta di testa, carrot apple chutney, goat cheese and pickles.
Thick-cut challah is the foundation for ultra-indulgent French toast ($13) that's stuffed with banana mascarpone and topped with pecan caramel, fresh berries and chocolate shavings.
For me the most compelling brunch option is the pulled pork hash ($13) - and it doesn't disappoint. Served in a skillet, it's a bed of chunky home fries topped with sweet chili-soy braised pork, kimchi, a runny egg and a drizzle of lime aioli.
The bar focuses mainly on old world Italian and new world California wines, along with a lineup of local craft beer, including seasonal taps from Amsterdam and Junction brewers. Two cocktail lists are tailored for daytime and evening drinking; the day options focus on Caesars as well as smoothies (spiked on request).
Sparrow Restaurant is open daily from 9am for brunch. Dinner starts at 5pm and advertises small plates and shareable features like oysters, charcuterie boards and whole branzino. Better still, the kitchen is open right until last call for late night snacking.
Photos by Jesse Milns