Beast: A Meat Lover’s Dream
King West, 96 Tecumseth Street, Toronto, ON
Beast is tucked away in King West, it’s in the most unsuspecting location, blending right in with all the old Toronto apartment houses. The building has a long culinary history, Susur Lee and his family used to live upstairs and his first Toronto restaurant was in the same space as Beast. Our server told us that Susur Lee’s kids still stop by for brunch. Yet, that’s not even Beast’s biggest claim to fame. In a recent episode of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain stopped by.
With a name like Beast, you can count on the menu being chock full of delicious meats, which I loved. I come from Vancouver, the land of skinny vegans and yoga pant-wearing hipsters, it’s so refreshing to find a restaurant that serves more than raw pie and lima beans. Beast hasn’t dodged the hipster bullet though, most weekends, it’s nearly impossible to get a table as the line up of plaid shirt clad thick-rimmed glasses wearing crowd rounds the corner. We were lucky.
I was amused by the digital timer clipped onto the top of our French press. What a clever and efficient way to let us know when the tea was ready.
We ordered the beastwich because it reminded us of the Reggie from Pine State Biscuits. And it actually measured up: bursting out of a fluffy buttermilk biscuit was a juicy fried chicken thigh, slathered in melted cheese, covered in a landslide of gravy, under all that was a fried egg. It was amazing. The chicken was moist, perfectly seasoned and the skin was crispy and salty. The biscuit was light, flaky and delicious, soaking up all that gravy like a sponge of scrumptiousness.
We also ordered the crispy pork hocks. We were disappointed that there were only a few pieces of pork on the plate, but boy, were they tasty. Just like the description, the pork hocks were crispy and crunchy on the outside and fatty and moist on the inside. It was actually the first time I’ve seen pork hocks on a brunch menu anywhere. Beast really lives up to its name.
Another unique and delicious item on Beast’s brunch menu is beef cheeks smothered in melted cheddar cheese. The meat was incredibly tender and juicy. And that gooey, rich Canadian cheese just brought the whole dish together. I would totally order this again.
The house potatoes served with each dish were completely addictive: fluffy on the inside with a nice crispy crust.
Beast’s head chef and owner, Scott Vivian is part of Toronto’s infamous Group of Seven Chefs, a group of talented and innovative culinary masterminds that feature local Ontario meat and produce in their food.
The menu at Beast changes weekly, featuring the freshest seasonal ingredients. I can’t wait to try out their spring menu when there will be more fruits and berries available.