I had the pleasure of visiting The Church Key Bistro Pub for lunch during my visit to London for the 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit. It was my last stop on a whirlwind luncheon tour of the cities downtown culinary core. I started the adventure at The Early Bird followed by a tasting at The River Room. For my last stop I waddled into the Church Key shortly after 1pm and was greeted by the owner and his wife.
I slumped myself onto a bar stool and sort of laughed in pain as I recounted the many dishes I had consumed over the past few hours. The owner had been following my culinary adventures on twitter and appreciated the energy and zeal it takes to feed oneself so excessively.
The restaurant is located in a prominent heritage building across from the Grand Theatre on Richmond Row and features an intimate outdoor courtyard which has been labeled by locals as the best patio in the city. The Church Key follows in the British tradition of the gastro pub by specializing in classic dishes with an elevated and thoughtful flair.
The owners both sat with me as I sipped and nibbled. I started with the Quinoa Pear Salad, a simple and satisfying starter best paired with a wedge of stilton. I had asked my followers on twitter what their favorite dishes at the restaurant were and heard from a fan from Guelph that I had to try the Irish Enchilada’s (which offer a piping hot heat and crispy crunch) and a local chef who raved about the Salmon Wrapped Scallops.
Londoners can rejoice as The Church Key Bistro offers an elevated traditional pub experience through its thoughtful menu and relaxed yet refined ambiance.
Hop City Barking Squirrel
Quinoa Pear Salad
roasted hazelnuts, stilton
guiness braised lamb and melted cheese baked in flour tortilla, minted whiskey creme fraiche, spicy chili lime
Salmon Wrapped Scallops
grapefruit and rice wine syrup, togarashi aioli