- The Food
- The Atmosphere
CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE!!
If you are a fan of cheese and looking for a dose of some ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness, look no further than Cheesewerks. This independent, family-owned and operated 100% Canadian restaurant is all about cheese at its best.
56 Bathurst St.
“The Big Cheese” Kevin Durkee, generously hosted The Urban Craze team for our big summer wrap meeting. Being that it was a weekday evening, the shop was rather quiet. There were several patrons enjoying their evening meal while passersby popped in inquiring about the variety of goods available to take home.
Cheesewerks works closely with their artisan partners providing staples for the CW menu and an assortment of take-home goodies including a selection of fine cheeses, gourmet pantry items, books, magazines, and foodie gifts perfect for any occasion.
It was our first time at Cheesewerks and what better way to kick it off than with The Big Cheese Experience, a 5-course prix-fixe menu with a focus on 100% Canadian cheese. We actually didn’t get the full cheese experience because we were so wrapped up with the meeting that Kevin provided us with a modified version of only 3-courses.
We started with a Cheese Fondue crafted with an organic and lactose-free Canadian Swiss, Pinot Grigio (white wine), roasted garlic, and nutmeg accompanied by cubes of artisan bread, grilled cauliflower and fingerling potatoes, and slices of fresh Granny Smith apples.
I enjoyed the apples with the cheese fondue as the tart, sweet and savoury combination was the perfect balance of flavours.
It was followed by Cheesewerks’ version of Milk and Cookies, which Santa would certainly approve of! We were served small portions of CW’s Original Grilled Cheese made with Balderson Aged and Double Smoked Cheddars on their signature Cracked Peppercorn Sourdough provided exclusively by St. John`s Bakery. This was paired with the Rustic Herb Tomato Soup Shooter made with oven-roasted tomatoes, garlic, thyme infused with organic vegetable broth topped with croutons.
The double smoked cheddar reminded me of smoked ham and I had to do a double-bite to make sure it was only cheese I was eating. The shooter was exceptional. I was expecting a water-downed soup but was pleasantly surprised to find that there was substance and bits of tomatoes in it. Whether eaten individually or dipping the grilled cheese into the soup like milk and cookies, I enjoyed each item on its own and together.
Glancing through the menu, the grilled cheeses are all named after a city. Kevin explained that each city is accompanied with a story and he shared with us the story behind “Beijing”. Kevin and his partner Tom married four years ago and spent their honeymoon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. They had a great time and enjoyed the food there and the flavours are clearly exemplified in the final offering of the night and so we finished our meal with the Beijing Mac+Cheese house-made with cavatappi, cream, milk, and aged cheddar topped with artisan bread crunch, asiago, BBQ pork, Hoisin sauce, and slivered green onion.
This was a somewhat unusual dish as the flavours were all Eastern but I never imagined it as part of a Western dish especially in a mac n’ cheese. The asiago was subtle and did not overpower the other flavours. The breadcrumbs added a nice crunchy texture that I enjoyed. It was delicious and it was fun to watch the team figure out all the flavours. By the end of the night I was comfortably full and thoroughly thirsty from the thoroughly cheesy meal.
Cheesewerks is not for everyone especially for those on a tight budget. But don’t let the price tag deter you from coming for a visit or a treat to some good ol’ quality artisan comfort foods. You are not only paying for quality but you are helping the local economy! I appreciate the story and heart behind CW, particularly keeping it Canadian and working with local partners while taking what we know and love and putting their own personal and unique spin on it.
All in all, we had a productive meeting and a great cheese experience. Thank you, Kevin!
The Damage: $27 per person after tax (for the Big Cheese Experience – 5 Items)