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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Bellevue & Squirrel Sandwiches :: Kensington

Outside, bar/cash, main dining area

One of the newest members of Kensington, The Bellevue's menu ranges from a simple fried fillet of Rainbow Trout with salad to The Squirrel - a sandwich of sardines, chili, peanut butter, sprouts, and cucumber on rye. Random artwork, an outdoor piano, and a little patio give it fun vibe. Its a nice place to hang out if you have time for a long lunch. Simple, tasty, and homey food with friendly service from both owners, this cafe is a great fit for the neighbourhood.

The Bellevue
Verdict:  Decent lunch, very friendly although slow service, fun but tiny patio. Walk on over for a sammy
Meal: Lunch
Price: $10-14 + tax & tip
Location: 61A Bellevue Ave, Toronto

Sunny Fridays always call for a patio lunch. We took our seats outside by the piano (yes, you read that right) and looked at the list of drinks. As a chocolate addict, I was intrigued by the chocolate-banana-jalapeño juice. Also ordered were the honeydew-avocado-banana and a lemonade made with crushed mint leaves and sugar cane.
Chocolate-banana-jalepeno, Lemonade with crushed mint & sugar cane, Honeydew-avocado-banana ($4)

I liked them all - the lemonade was the most refreshing for the hot day, but I enjoyed the banana-chocolate- jalapeño flavour the most. With a consistency that's more shake-y than juice-y (makes sense given the ingredients), I enjoyed a jalapeño "bite" after each chocolately slurp. I wish they used a darker chocolate instead though - I think that the stronger cacao taste would go really well with the jalapeño.

The honeydew-avocado-banana was light, sweet and also on the thicker side. Next time, I think I will ask for some ice cubes in my drink even though it will dilute it a bit more just to keep it cold.

The Squirrel ($10)
Peanut butter, sardines, hot chili sauce, cucumber, sprouts and white cheddar on dark rye
How could I not order this? The combination of salty, buttery, cheesy, and spicy was pretty darn good. I just wish there was more! At $10 though, it's not bad considering the big bowl of soup that came with it.

I'd love to try this with a few slices of tomato and avocado. My friend disagrees saying that it's just make it too soggy but I think it'd be great. I think I will request that addition next time, if possible. If I could tweak it even further, I think I'd substitute the bread for a really dark rye and more peanut butter or perhaps tahini! Oh!! I think my next food experiment will be just that. Very dark rye, sardines, either chunky peanut butter or tahini, sprinkle of sesame seeds, avocado, cucumber, tomato, and chili. Hmm.

The Beach ($10)
Chick pea salad, roasted coconut, yakinori, sesame, sprouts, and cheddar on dark rye

Not bad, a decent healthy sandwich. The chickpeas were chickpeas, the sprouts were sprouts - I got exactly what I ordered. While tasty, I won't be craving it anytime soon and I'd sooner try something else off of their menu.

The Fish Fry ($14)
Golden fried Ontario Rainbow Trout, with a dandelion & avocado mixed green salad, white vinaigrette.

The Rainbow Trout was well done, although I wish there was more to the salad. I wonder how much it would have cost to upgrade to the Greens with Envy salad? Purple kale, dandelion, cucumber, green onion, sprouts, and broccoli sounds pretty darn good.

The following two items come with sandwiches, or you can order them separately.

Soupe de Soleil ($4)
The butternut squash and was thick, filling, and satisfying. I actually like my squash soups a bit chunky so I was quite happy with this homey bowl. There was also a bit of tomato & scallions and possibly carrot, if I recall correctly. Yum.

Black Beans ($6)

The black bean dip with avocado was also tasty with the red tortilla chips. Dense and chunky, the bowl was spooned clean. I wished there were a few more large chips in the pile, but no biggie - I just scooped some dip with my spoon with the little chip bits. In hindsight, I think I would've liked this in the sandwich too!

Julies' Pies!
Ooh...pie. With Wanda's Pie in the Sky down the street I was surprised to see "Julies' Pie" for dessert. I racked my poor memory for a bakery named Julie's and drawing a blank, I asked where/who Julie('s) is. It turns out that one of the owner's (Ryan) cousin's wife bakes yummy desserts for their cafe. Talk about family love :)  It was a sweltering hot day, but he convinced me that the pie was "reaaaalllly good" with a knowing "omg" look on his face. Not that my sweet tooth ever needs much convincing anyways.

And "reaaaallly good" it was! Totally catering to my not-so-secret love affair with Ontario peaches, the filling was just the right amount of sweet and the crust (which I think is just as important!) was nice and soft. While my friend said he would've preferred more of a "bite" for both the peaches and the crust, I was quite satisfied as I liked the super-soft pieces of fruit. Mmmm. It wasn't syrupy or overloaded with sugar. This pie-lover was satisfied

Patio - a bit small, but it fit the crowd

Overall, I had a good time at The Bellevue. While there were some things that I would like to tweak, everything tasted good and homey. The items are things that I could easily make at home, but the creative combinations certainly stirred my imagination. It won't be long before I start making my own Sardine-Nut Butter-Rye sandwiches...which may or may not be pleasant for The Bellevue to hear!

More pie, please!
I enjoyed the fun little patio, drinks, and The Bellevue sits in a surprisingly decent people-watching spot (I wasn't expecting that as it is not on Augusta). While very small, I don't think that the patio will be expanding anytime soon as the food was quite slow-to-show. My chattyness probably didn't help. Despite a lengthy wait time of around 25 minutes, the relatively healthy & tasty sandwiches, great pie, and pleasant service will prompt me to return!

The Bellevue
Verdict:  Decent lunch, very friendly although slow service, fun but tiny patio. Walk on over for a sammy
Meal: Lunch
Price: $10-14 + tax & tip
Location: 61A Bellevue Ave, Toronto

Bellevue Diner on Urbanspoon


Kristy said...

I had such a BAD EXPERIENCE with this place. I came in with a high expectation (good reviews on BlogTO) and came out with a sour taste in my mouth. Super slow service (1 hour wait to get my food) and mediocre food (probably because I was already pissed from waiting) :(

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