Totally biased product review by me — EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace

Billionaire Shepherd’s Pie = Wagyu beef, potato purée, crispy shallots, summer truffles

“At Epoch, we nod to the food and beverage trends of the past and re-imagine them. We are inspired by the gastropub movement that shook the culinary world in the 90s. Our concept re-defines pub culture and pays homage to traditional British dining.”

How could we refuse that description? If “paying homage to traditional British dining” includes a Billionaire Shepherd’s Pie made with Wagyu beef, potato purée, crispy shallots, summer truffles … then we’re in and definitely going to check it out.

The above item at EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace (in the Ritz-Carlton Toronto) is listed on the menu as a “snacketizer” but don’t be fooled — it’s a good portion and a large one to be included on the starters. But it is extremely delicious, decadent and rich.

Blue Crab Lettuce Cups

Maybe a more apt starter is the Blue Crab Lettuce Cups? These are two (generous) bite-sized gem lettuce cups with blue crab, pickled apple and fennel pollen. The crab is very juicy and the pickled apple cuts nicely into the richness of the seafood. It wouldn’t be a stretch to go for four of these and have a smaller main course. Again, very tasty.

Yellowtail Fish Collar

For a main dish we had the Yellowtail Fish Collar with Scottish Cullen Skink, smoked haddock, potatoes, cream and skinny fries. This was easily the star of the show. The fish just fell off the collarbone and was as smooth as butter. Throw in the crispy skinny fries and the tart arugula and fennel salad and you have a flavour explosion happening in every bite. This dish is a definite “must have again at some point, maybe tomorrow?” kind of happening.

Duck Fat Potatoes

Why not a side of duck fat potatoes (roasted three times) with caraway and Espelette pepper? Why not indeed. Another star of the show and you’d be hard-pressed to find potatoes this good somewhere else. (But please ping us if you feel there’s a candidate in Toronto …)

Scottish Cullen Skink

Remember that Scottish Cullen Skink on the earlier dish? We loved it so much they gave the Brits in Toronto crew an extra bowl of it with some crispy bread (almost tasted like a fried slice).

It wasn’t the same authentic experience as eating it and looking out the window at seagulls and a Scottish sea scene … but very close to the taste. Seemed a little more creamier than what we recalled from trips to Scotland. But could still bathe in it.

We rounded off the meal with profiteroles (not pictured as they went too quick!) = cream puffs stuffed with milk chocolate ice cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Quite filling too.

Apart from the excellent food, the drinks were great too. Bear in mind draught Guinness lovers it’s not a full pint (at $10) but comes in a tall, skinny glass and looked about 2/3 of a pint.

Our server Ashley was amazing, had time to chat and also invited over the bar manager, Jason Griffin, to explain how one of the cocktails we particularly liked was prepared and made over days to get all the balanced flavours. Takes a LOT of work!

This was one of the best Brit menu-inspired meals we’ve had in a while and definitely rates as a “date night” or other special occasion where you want to treat yourself.

Ashley mentioned there’s a revised menu coming November 10 so we’re keen to see that too. Apparently oysters may be on there.

So, if you haven’t guessed yet, EPOCH Bar & Kitchen Terrace is brilliant and worthy of a Brits in Toronto 5/5 stars.

Update November 12, 2021
Oysters made it to the new menu. Sad to see the Yellowtail Fish Collar and Duck Fat Potatoes disappear though.

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