- The Duke of Kent serves up traditional pub food in a cozy spot at the corner of Yonge and Eglinton. Kent is just one of a series of ‘Duke Pubs’ scattered around Toronto, and judging from the fairly comprehensive website, each has a slightly different décor, but all of them seem to tap into that English corner pub ambience.
After a long week at work, I was on the hunt for a casual space to grab a pint, enjoy some hearty food, and catch up with some friends; the Duke of Kent was a great choice…for the most part.
I snagged a corner booth with my dinner group on a busy Friday night. When we first walked in, it seemed hopeless. We wanted dinner, but there was nary a table to be seen. The staff did everything they could to make a space for us so we weren’t forced back out into the cold to one of the other countless restaurants in the area. That is what service is all about, and we were happy to stay. Many thanks to the serving staff for being so accommodating on a hopping Friday night!
As for the food, it is the expected and welcomed pub spread. They offer up fish & chips (yes, served in a basket on paper), pot roast and potatoes with buttered peas, and even bangers and mash. You will find an array of reasonably priced English pub food on the menu, with entrees coming in at about $12 across the board.
As I’ve said before, I tend to go for the specials, and that night it was Moroccan Stew. Unfortunately, I am sad to say it was disappointing. The dish was somewhere between a curry and a Mexican chili, and I was given a healthy serving for the $12.99 price-point. But, I couldn’t help but become envious of those around me who had gravy-topped pot pies, crispy fish and chips, beefy burgers and gooey quesadillas. I probably would not have been as put-off by the it if it was labelled on the menu, as it was on my bill – just ‘vegetable stew’. It was not as exotic as the name lead me to believe, and with a delicious-looking curry dish on the main menu, I expected more spice and life in my ‘Moroccan’ Stew special.
For a visit to the Duke, I suggest going full-English. I saw enough plates of fish and chips go by to convince me that it is a popular item, and how much more traditional can you get than that? Also, I have the ‘famous’ deep-fried pepperoni targeted – it has to be famous for a reason!
At the end of it all, the Duke of Kent draws in a wonderfully lively crowd, and provides a great atmosphere and service, albeit a bit slow – but hey, it was busy! My food may have only been so-so, but the brew was cold, and my night was great.
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* Lead photo credit to IndieYuppy