THE BEECH TREE STARTED OUT AS SOMETHING RELATIVELY CONCEPTUAL …
It was an idea; a vision of what good honest food should be, dreamt up in the mind of an industry outsider, an office worker— a mere home cook with a bit of enthusiasm. With the introduction of the Toronto Underground Food Market in 2011 an opportunity opened up. The Beech Tree’s birth was atop a formica folding table with a cardboard sign. A group of inexperienced blokes proceeded to assemble s rogue’s gallery of English pub fare turned on its head. Banging out triple-cooked English chips in a tiny four-litre electric fryer for hundreds of revelers is not for the faint of heart. And yet, the experience only made the dream burn brighter.Fast forward to a lucky opportunity in a sleepy eastern Toronto neighbourhood; an old, slightly tired diner that had been painted over a thousand times and seen enough turn-overs that some of the past iterations had long been forgotten. The property was scooped up promptly…if slightly impulsively. What followed was a do-it-yourself restaurant built on a shoe-string budget. No industry insiders were involved, no major investors, no architects nor contractors had a hand in the building of Beech Tree. It was made from scratch by regular people. In the end, a space with a little old-world charm emerged from the ashes.
Following that was the addition of Jamie Newman, former sous chef at an acclaimed fine dining restaurant downtown. The home cook sat down with the newly hired Chef and they proceeded to bang out a menu.
The Beech Tree Kitchen represents an empirical approach to cooking. You’ll find cooking that was originally inspired by traditional English country cooking with a modern and refined edge. Our food ethos is largely influenced by a collection of British chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall, April Bloomfield, Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal and Tom Kerridge (to name a few).
But this starting point has been further developed to include Ontario-centric interpretations of Italian peasant food, the occasional French classic as well as twists on dishes from North Africa, Spain and anywhere that good ingredients might guide us. We started out playing the role of an upscale pub, but those constraints have since been abandoned and now we cook whatever the hell we want. We cure our own bacon, pickle our own onions, clarify our consommés and bake our own burger buns. It is all about scratch cooking. We aim to create un-fussy, tasty food that is accessible and familiar yet created with an eye for precision, flavour and seasonality. We like food that looks beautiful on a plate and provides the diner with an exceptional experience We only source the best ingredients from suppliers that include Sanagan’s Meat Locker, 100 KM Food Ltd, Society Original, Sleger’s Living Greens, Balderson Cheese and Forbes Wild Foods. What started out with four wines has since grown 16. We have a full bar and an extensive cocktail list. The Beech Tree takes great pride in our classic cocktails and martinis which are all made using only fresh citrus, berries and herbs along with our house-made gomme syrups and bitters. We have four craft beers on tap, two bottled beers and a cider. We are looking to further expand our brews to include some amazing local products along with seasonal ales and lagers.