I confess, I had no idea what the word “gastropub” meant when my boyfriend and I went to try Malt & Mortar, the self-proclaimed “gastropub” which joined the growing dining trend in October. And, I confess, that after we left, I still had no idea what the word meant. So, I turned to Google. I love Google.
Malt & Mortar, which opened in October, is located in the heart of Whyte Avenue (10416 82 Ave). The inside is a modern take on a classic pub-style restaurant with high-ceilings, lots of brick and vintage photographs. The large central bar is surrounded with multiple seating options and no shortage of TV’s, which interestingly enough were playing everything from hockey to curling to Indiana Jones. They have made a modest attempt to differentiate themselves from the usual pub suspects, which I think is a prerequisite of calling yourself a “gastropub” (versus just a pub). Of all the dining trends, this is hardly a trend, when you think about it – it is pretty ubiquitous. Essentially, is it not much more than a bar with a kitchen in the back. Or front.
The menu is diverse, there is something for everyone. Selection ranges from beer snacks to entrees, desserts and everything in between. What’s more impressive is the drink selection, we a large beer selection (also a prerequisite of a gastropub, I’m guessing), wine selection and specialty cocktails, including the house “special teas”. We tried two of the more popular menu items for brunch.
Grilled Cheese – Four layers of cheese on toasted texas bread served with fries
Smoked Duck Benny – self-explanatory, served with a Maltese hollandaise
Shakshuka – Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce with feta (a Middle Eastern version of eggs in purgatory)
Fish & Chips – Beer-battered, cajun rubbed snapper, served with crispy lemon fries and house made tartar