Nigel greeted us at the door when Jon and I, and our good friend Martin Howard, popped around the corner to the newly opened Melange at 172 Main Street, just north of Gerrard. Nigel told us that Melange had just opened in the first week of January, so the fact that there weren’t many other diners in the place was because of its newness (after tasting the food, I can predict that it will soon be filled!).
Melange is owned by the same people who own the extremely popular Cool Runnings just down the street. The building, which once housed Phillip’s Lighting, a fascinating store that specialized in antique and unique lighting and supplies, remained vacant for several years. Melange now offers those of us in the area another option for lunch instead of going down the hill to Kingston Rd, or over the bridge to Danforth.
The restaurant is much more spacious inside than it would appear from its facade. There are at least a dozen tables in the front area, with plenty of space around them so you aren’t hearing your neighbour’s conversations. The décor is mid-century tap room so far, but again it’s a work in progress. There’s a large back room as well which Nigel explained he hoped would soon be converted to a more casual pub-like space where patrons can watch the game on TV while enjoying a drink with friends.
“We might also be able to close it off for private parties,” he said.
As we perused the menu, Jon, Martin and I caught up. Martin was telling us about a recent acquisition: a rare 1895 Ford…… typewriter, that is. Martin is still avidly collecting antique typewriters. You can see some of his pieces at ww.antiquetypewriters.com.
Then Nigel was there asking about our food.
Jon chose a 6 oz. homemade burger ($5.95), served with fries and a choice of soup or salad (Jon picked the roasted red pepper soup). He reported that the burger tasted obviously homemade; no frozen store-bought patty here. To wash that down he had a Stella Artois at $4.90.
Both Martin and I would have liked to have had the Grilled Cod ($8.95), but Nigel said he was unable to get fresh cod that day from his supplier. This is a good sign that the fish is fresh not frozen.
Martin elected to have the Grilled Grouper from the Entreé menu ($15.95). It was actually pan-fried, and very tasty, served on a bed of rice with some veggies on the side. Martin chose a bottle of Guinness ($4.90) to go with, and then later has a glass of Jackson Triggs Chardonnay ($7.00).
As mentioned, I had also wanted the cod, but instead opted for a Veggie & Cheese Sandwich wrap ($6.99) with a choice of soup , salad or fries (I had the Beef & Barley soup – deliciously thick with barley and just spicy enough to hint at its Cool Runnings origins). The wrap itself was like a pair of softballs on the plate, held together with toothpicks to keep all the filling from tumbling out at first bite. The crumbled cheddar eventually was squished into a thick chewy chunk again….. yum! There was certainly no room left in the inn for dessert after this sandwich. There were other options in the sandwich wrap, including Cajun Chicken, Schnitzel and Roast Beef, something to go back to try. I had a glass of Jackson Triggs Sauvignon Blanc ($7.00), thinking I was having the fish.
Melange, which means mixture, has quite an extensive dinner menu that includes such varied offerings as New Zealand Lamb Chops ($15.95), Weiner Schnitzel ($14.95), Salmon Steak ($16.95), Jambalaya ($15.95), and Fettuccine Primavera ($12.95) with weekly specials that include a Tuesday Pasta night, Wednesday Wings, Friday Prime Rib & Fish, and Sunday Slow Cooked Roast Beef; and a Kid’s Menu with Chicken Fingers, Spaghetti, Burgers and Wings (with fries and a drink @ $6.99).
Being so close to the office, Melange is definitely one of those places I will probably frequent, especially now that Nigel explained he’s hosting jazz groups every Thursday night.
172 Main Street
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Check out the restaurant’s new site and menu at http://www.themelangerestaurant.com/