I made my way over here last month. Below you can find my BA/RB review. IMHO this place does not get the attention it deserves.
A- / 4.1
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 - $$
This unassuming local is slightly off the beaten path from Toronto's other beer bars and restaurants, about a 10 minute drive east of downtown and well past Mill Street Brewpub in the city's distillery district. But the trip is certainly worth it as my girlfriend and I had a blissful experience here in November 2010.
We visited in the afternoon when things were a bit quiet. The atmosphere is unlike anything I've encountered in Ontario. A warming waft of smoked peat greets you at the door and invites you to relax inside the bar's rustic, comfortable interior. We sat by the window overlooking the patio, where the chalkboard of draught and cask offerings could still be seen. Authentic Celtic music provides the perfect backdrop for pondering the pictures of various Irish landmarks that hang on the walls. A ManU game was playing on the single flatscreen, and with only one other patron in the bar, we enjoyed a quiet conversation while marveling at the delicious food in front of us.
I had the bangers and mash with onion gravy after being told that the mutton stew was not available. My girl went with the local greens and roast tomato soup. Everything was ridiculously fresh and flavourful - the homemade sausages were tender and juicy, the greens had the perfect amount of vinaigrette on them, and the sticky toffee pudding was absolutely sumptuous. As we indulged in our desert, I remarked that I never wanted to leave. My girlfriend nodded in agreement. Between the calming music, the gentle chatter among staff and patrons, the endearing aromas of the cottage, and the stellar pub fare on offer, both of us were convinced that we could eat and drink here all day without ever tiring of the place.
For beer I chose the Durham Black Eye on cask as well as a pint of Hop Addict. I also spotted Scotch Irish Stuart's Session Ale, Church Key Lift Lock Lager, McAuslan Cream Ale, and Murphy's Irish Stout on tap. The cask was in great form and I was very pleased to find a Durham beer that I hadn't sampled before. The small selection will likely keep über beer geeks and tickers from visiting, but with a focus on premium imports, Ontario craft brews, and cask ales, the quality makes this a destination in my books.
On our way out we got a chance to speak with owner Patrick McMurray. I told him we had a lovely time and that we plan to return on future trips to Toronto. He said he was turning the patio into an ice rink for kids in the neighbourhood to play on. Clearly this man is dedicated not only to good food and drink, but also the community surrounding the restaurant. If you haven't been here yet, don't waste any more time: get down to The Ceili Cottage and take in one of the best pub experiences around.
Last edited by cratez
on Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.