At Fiesta Farms, we’re not really about restaurant or pub reviews, but we are always intrigued by artisans and entrepreneurs in the food scene, whether it be local farmers, or farmers markets, or chefs with something new and exciting to say. And we’re more than willing to give a shout out to folks that think outside the box and provide a venue for something that promotes local talent and offers a venue for showcasing their vision. So it is with The Monarch Tavern, the little neighbourhood pub that could.
The Monarch Tavern is one of the city’s oldest licensed establishments, it has been a beloved, unpretentious and honest destination since 1927.
In recent years, this Little Italy/Portugal Village landmark has worn many hats as a centre of activity in a thriving food, cultural and entertainment scene, and these days it is as worth checking out as it has ever been.
Many of us know the Monarch as the venue for Zane Caplansky’s Deli, before he moved to his own digs on College Street. Similarly, the small second story kitchen on Clinton Street was home to Lou Dawg’s sandwiches.
Now new owners Michael Dorbyk and Evan Giorgiades are keeping the community vibe going, welcoming an assortment of up and coming chefs into the historic digs to wow us, re-inventing the tavern as a home for its “Pop –Up Kitchens”
It works like this: every two weeks, The Monarch will welcome a new restaurant team to strut their stuff and feature their own menus, perhaps something that would fit in with the inimitable vibe of the place and go with the Monarch’s famous assortment of beers and bourbons.
“The first team “up to the plate” will be the notorious group of food truck femmes fatales affectionately known as “The Gourmet Bitches”. Founders Shontelle Pinch and Bianka Matchett have turned their passion for cooking and entertaining into a veritable food truck phenomenon, developing a loyal legion of followers in just a few short weeks. Now, in their patently sweet, sassy and decidedly scrumptious way, The Gourmet Bitches are going to put those talents to the ultimate test and give The Monarch’s hungry regulars a taste of what they have to offer.”
Where we come in, as guests, is we get to choose our favourites! By eating, drinking and voting we get to determine who gets invited back. There is even the possibility that the newly crowned Pop Up Kings or Queens will be invited to make the Monarch their fixed address.
In this era of Spotted Dicks, Feckless Firkins and Shoeless Roadhouses, who add little to the local community other than setting the table for a second serving of bland ubiquity, it is lovely and refreshing to see the Monarch keep the faith by inspiring a new order of chefs, cooks and creative minds, providing a venue for them and motivating the locals to get off their duffs and support something delicious, daring and real. Bravo.
Here is a sample of what’s on the slab:
POP-UP KITCHEN MENU
Feature Menu by The Gourmet Bitches. Please Note: Everything is gluten-free!
SPICY KALE & ARUGULA SALAD with cherry tomatoes and garlic chips 7
TORTILLA CHIPS and tomato salsa 6
Add guacamole 2.50
CUBAN PULLED PORK TACO plum salsa and kale 9
WHITE FISH TACO coconut & banana chip crusted, kale, avocado, habanero, pickled pear, carrot slaw 10
TAMARIND KIWI BEEF TACO kiwi salsa and kale 9
DRY RUBBED ASIAN/CUBAN CHICKEN WINGS 10
GRILLED CHEESE with spicy banana mayo 7
Add hand cut fries 3