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Restaurant review: Belfast Love

Making their first venture on the east coast, pub kingpins the Donnelly Group give the punters of King West a taste of the real deal with new opening Belfast Love

belfast-love

What's the vibe?

When it comes to authentic pub culture, the Vancouver-based Donnelly Group know exactly what they’re talking about. Belfast Love marks the group’s first location away from the west coast and is a prime example of their expertise. This self-professed "proper pub" features a games room, huge wrap-around patio and a 280 seat indoor space designed by Toronto's Mason Studio. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, with the staff following suit. Don’t be fooled by the name though, Belfast Love isn’t actually an Irish pub, but more of a salute to the pubs of Northern Ireland. In a nutshell, it does exactly what it says on the tin: good pub grub, plenty of booze and an unpretentious environment.

What to drink?

Belfast Love doesn’t just have a drinks menu; it has a 27 page book boasting 40 beers on tap, 50 different whiskey varieties and an array of spirits, wines and cocktails from all over the world. The cocktail menu is broken down into three sections: those designed exclusively for Belfast Love by beverage director Trevor Kallies, classic cocktails and recipes from experts around the world. The P.S. I Love You is the pub’s signature cocktail (minus Gerard Butler) and is a refreshing mix of Belfast Gin, Pimm’s No.1 Cup, strawberry puree, lemon juice, ginger beer and cucumber. For patio sips, there are plenty of craft beers from local brewers.

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What to eat?

If you’re going to a pub for dinner you mean business, and luckily these guys serve up some serious comfort food. Executive chef Alvin Pillay (The Blackbird) led the development of the menu with input from Vancouver’s Chef of the Year David Gunawan (Royal Dinette and Farmer’s Apprentice). The menu features a list of pub staples including pressed sandwiches, steak frites and burgers, along with a mix of their own specialities, like the rotisserie chicken, served as a quarter, half or whole with all the fixings. For those looking for a pub snack the hearty starters like the chicken pot pie sliders, poutine and Sanagan’s local sausages can also double up as mains.

Dinner and drinks for two: Around $100

548 King Street West; 416-363-2223, donnellygroup.ca/belfast-love

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