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Monday, November 19, 2007

The Abbot on the Hill: Toronto, ON


I have read good things about The Abbot on the Hill before so I thought that since I was in the area it would be a good time to visit. Located just north of the Summerhill subway station and LCBO, the pub has been serving delicious food and quality beer for 3 1/2years. It is also the sister pub of the original Abbot, which is still operating a little further north on Yonge Street.

Owner Melissa Curcmelli-Rodostamo and her partner decided just over a year ago, that they were going to shake things up. Instead of offering customers the likes of Stella, Rickards and Becks, the duo introduced a new line up that consisted of beers from England, Ireland, Belgium, Germany and Scotland. Along with the new beer selections, the pair started preparing new food dishes propelling the Abbot on the Hill to gastropub status. "We wanted to create a more upscale food and beer selection while maintaining the cozy atmosphere of the pub," claims Melissa. And indeed they have. The Abbot on the Hill is a very intimate, peaceful and inviting pub that caters to both the young and old.

The small, intimate pub, has hardwood floors throughout the lower and upper levels with mahogany stained tables and chairs with a couple of wrap-around booths for comfortable seating. The dimpled tin ceiling has been painted a lovely red and candles are situated around the perimeter of the pub. There are low laying light fixtures providing a dull amber glow which sets the mood perfectly. The carpeted stair case leads upstairs to another dining area which is great for larger groups. The lower level features a large window over looking Yonge street.

The bar is very attractive. 10 bar stools surround the 'L' shaped bar and a beautiful shelving unit sits behind holding beer steins, mugs, glasses and a wide assortment of vintage wines. There are two chalk boards that inform drinkers whats on tap or in the bottle. Each beer is poured into their corresponding glass which is very professional and makes the drink so much more appealing. The Belgian's wouldn't have it any other way so why shouldn't we.

As mentioned, the draught and bottled beer selection is great. You can choose between draught beers like: Fuller's Esb, Fuller's Special, Bass, Old speckled hen, Warsteiner Dunkel Lager, Hacker Pschorr Pilsner, Warsteiner Lager, Belhaven Best Cream, Fruli Strawberry Weisse, Guinness, Tuborg Gold, Hacker Pschorr Dunkel Weisse, Konig Ludwig Weisse, De Koninck and Affligem Blonde. Like I said, a great beer line up.

The bottled selection is just as good. St.Peter's Ale, Abbot ale, Fuller's Vintage, Thomas Hardys, Baltica 3, Fischer Traditional, Chimay Red, Chimay White, Duvel, Innis and Gunn, Innis and Gunn Vintage and Tuborg Pilsner.

I settled for the Hacker Pschorr Dunkel Weisse and the mushroom, oyster and stilton soup. What a great combination. The soup was simply delicious and the beer matched it perfectly.

The Abbot on the Hill has also created a niche for themselves as they have started offering beer and food matching dinners every Monday night. For anywhere between $50-$65 depending on the menu, you are treated to a five course meal with a new beer pairing at each course. The chef prepares a new menu each week and 20 tables are reserved just for people interested in taking part. All servers are trained before they are hired in beer education and also learn about how beer can positively affect the outcome of food. Melissa wants all her servers to be able to tell uneducated consumers about each beer if they inquire and help them make a good choice based on their preference.

The Abbot on the Hill faces a busy Friday crowd from the lunch time hours until closing. They also have a Pint Club that meets every Wednesday evening with select proceeds supporting two Canadian Olympic teams.

This is a great little pub on a quieter part of Toronto's busy Yonge street where you get the best of both worlds. It is very cozy, very pubish, yet it has a touch of modern decor. As we were drinking, many people stopped to look in the window and 80% decided to come in. I think it had to do with the look of the place. I had a great visit and I'll be sure to visit again. It's worth a trip.

1276 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
416.920.9074


1 comment:

blankboy said...

Hey, just curious, in the tap list you mention "Fuller's Special". Are you sure that's what it was? The only Fullers Special I can find is the following:

http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/fullers-anniversary-ale---special-edition-esb/40228/

There are only 30 ratings in the world for this and none from Canada. If it is indeed that then it is quite a coup for this pub! Thanks.

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