In late 2012 the world, maybe it was mostly me, was transfixed by the viral pictures of the Chinese Highway House (LINK http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2236746/Road-built-building-couple-refuse-China.html)
Luo Baogen and his wife, unhappy with the compensation offered by the Chinese government, decided they would stay in their home while a massive highway was built all around them. It's safe to say a trip to the store entailed looking both ways, doing so again and bravely dodging high speed vehicles!
The Kingston Taphouse & Grille is a survivor in a similar, albeit less contentious, fashion. Telus Garden, a grotesquely gigantic, 1,000,000 square foot, commercial and residential development boasts "the entire block" between Robson and Georgia Street and Richards and Seymour Streets. That would be true were it not for the Chinese Highway Hou... I mean the Kingston! One can only imagine the back and forth between Westbank Corp, an omnipresent and powerful real estate developer, and the fine folks at the Kingston. Ahhhh to be a fly on that wall... In the end an accord was not reached and the Kingston gallantly occupies its turf surrounded on 3 sides by Telus Garden with its tall towers towering, for lack of a better term, over them. It truly is a charming space with lovely staff!
We sat in a large, comfortable booth at the Kingston and ordered from their famous brunch menu. I ordered the Basic Breakfast: 3 eggs, hash browns and toast with a side of bacon and their house made sausages. The best, hands down, hash browns I have had! Thinly sliced, crisp and with a unique flavour. Generally I push the carbs to the side to be consumed when and if space allows, but these were eaten first and were the main event! The bacon was lovely, fresh and smoky and the sausages had a fiery, peppery flavour to them which made them delicious.
My counterpart had the Corned Beef Hash. Their house cured beef, are we seeing a theme here, went well with their house made Hollandaise sauce. I glanced up, for what seemed like only a minute, at Game 7 of the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat and when I looked back it was gone! I didn't even get to try it, but suffice it to say it was well received.
The bar area is the kind of place where you can go by yourself, as several patrons had during our visit, and strike up a conversation over beer and sports. The dining area was large and comfortable and overlooks the kitchen where the skilled staff's create their wares and the patio is quaint with its palm trees and tranquil fountain. Construction is underway on a second, rooftop patio with a roof and heating for year round enjoyment. I bet you $1,000,000 if you pop by on a sunny Saturday afternoon you have a good chance of seeing me; I will be back!
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan