Foodie Friday: The Fifth Pub House in Toronto

DSC_1423 (800x533)What happens to a nightclub when it gets a makeover?

It becomes a gathering place for enjoying craft beer and classic Canadian comfort food. Over 15 months, the basement of the red brick building on Richmond Street was transformed into The Fifth Pub House – a rustic bar inspired by the British gastropub tradition. The space had once been the site of Fluid nightclub, but had laid empty for almost two years – until the Fifth Pub House opened.

DSC_1418 (800x533)Walking through the doors, the Pub House is riddled with character. It feels like an upscale barn but with modern trimmings, such as televisions broadcasting the hockey game. Red tartan stools, antlers, and an oversized plate and utensils mounted on the wall gives this place a bit of character. There are 14 beers on tap, including a house brew called The Fifth Stock Ale.

DSC_1333 (800x533)But The Fifth is more than a watering hole. Chef Brad Livergant prides himself on serving gourmet grub at a fair price. The menu incorporates local and organic ingredients into traditional pub favourites, and includes a selection of sustainable fish.

 “I wanted to do really good pub food, the right way,” Chef Livergant says.

DSC_1346 (800x533)Every Wednesday, the Pubhouse serves “get shucked” oysters, fresh from Prince Edward Island, for $1.00 each. To put frippery into the dish, the Chef demonstrates how to add a shot of red wine vinaigrette to the oysters.

DSC_1404 (800x533)Chef Livergant experimented with “every variation of burger” before finding the right one (or two) for the menu. For pure indulgence, order the Braised Beef burger ($14) — a slow-roasted brisket, topped with caramelized onions and the Fifth Bourbon BBQ Sauce. Or wrap your mitts around the homemade Canadian AAA beef burger ($15) – served on flaky brioche bun with pickles, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and the Fifth’s special sauce.

“I love the burgers,” says Chef Livergant. “But we also serve a killer Club Sandwich.”

DSC_1395 (800x533)A menu of comfort food wouldn’t be complete without Buffalo Style wings served with a side of fresh-cut fries, blue cheese, carrots and celery ($12/lb).

“It took us awhile to find the right size of wing,” Chef Livergant says.

The wings are meaty monsters, striking the right balance of juicy without too much grease. However, the side of frites steal the show at our table: a creamy mashed potato on the inside with a crisp and salty bite on the outside. Patrons can’t really be blamed for plucking frites from basket faster than you could say “Cavendish potato.”

DSC_1374 (800x533)After a series of deep fried dishes, it was a relief to see some green on the menu. The Chef jokingly dubs this next dish as “kale for the carnivore.”

“We all want to be healthy,” he says. “But we also want flavour!”

Luckily, the Three-Kale Salad ($12) delivers both with a hearty helping of avocado, spinach, tofu, cranberry, lentil, almond, cabbage, beet, pumpkin seeds and lime lemon vinaigrette. It’s filling and tasty enough to convince meat-eaters that they can make friends with salad.

DSC_1353 (800x533)It wouldn’t be a pub without a plate of Fish and Chips ($16). Chef  Livergant’s variation involves battering two pieces of B.C. haddock in the Fifth Stock Ale, with a side of house tartar sauce and malt vinegar. And of course, a heap of chip wagon fries drizzled in malt vinegar just perfects this British classic dish.

DSC_1379 (800x533)Cheese-lovers beware: the Mac n’ Cheese ($11) the old-fashioned way seduces in the best way possible. It’s a rich and decadent bowl- but even more so if you add pulled pork to the mix ($4.50).

DSC_1381 (800x533)The Verdict

The Fifth Pub House offers patrons a warm space for good times and cooking. Order the fish and chips for a taste of jolly old Britain, or the Three Kale Salad for something delicious and healthy.

The Details:

The Fifth Pub House & Café 
225 Richmond Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 1W2
(416) 979-0390

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11:30am to closing.

The writer was a guest of the Fifth Pub House. The restaurant did not review or approve this article.

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