Is it possible to dislike cheese? If you cannot eat cheese for dietary reasons (poor you), I get it. But I have no comprehension of how an individual could not enjoy eating the stuff. Personally , I love cheese and can’t get enough. A friend and I recently tried to pinpoint our top cheese picks. It is so difficult to pick one favourite. Brie. But wait, feta is delicious. Ohhhh…havarti. It’s hard to pick one , they are just all so yummy. Everything is better with cheese, isn’t it? If you share this notion, I’ve got a dining experience for you.
Cheesewerks is a family owned and operated restaurant located in downtown Toronto, at Bathurst and Wellington. In their own words, “ Cheesewerks is an experience of artisan grilled cheese, fine cheese selections and charcuterie, mac+cheese, cheese fondue and other ooey gooey grub that you can enjoy with house made sodas, a glass of wine, small-batch artisan brew or take home”. A friend and I headed down to Cheesewerks on a Saturday evening to indulge in some cheesy deliciousness.
Cheesewerks is a fun, casual restaurant that is warm and welcoming. While it wouldn’t be an intimate, romantic date spot, it is fun and unpretentious. There are raised bar style tables as well as more traditional seating. It is also quite small, and parties are seated fairly close together. Browns, oranges and yellows create a cheesy color palette that works well. There is a small area for retail, and the bathrooms are labelled, “Jack” and “Brie”.
The staff was warm and friendly. When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by one of the owners who was wearing a t-shirt with the words “LEGEND. DAIRY.” emblazoned on it. Love that. He introduced himself and the concept of the restaurant. We were impressed to hear that Cheesewerks is 100 % Canadian, utilizing entirely local ingredients and wines. Each course that was presented was explained in detail, I thoroughly appreciated hearing about the ingredients of each dish before tasting it. The meal was well paced and each course arrived in a timely fashion without us feeling rushed. The restaurant staff’s attention to detail and quality resulted in excellent service.
CHEESE! A cheese themed, four course feast of delicious accompanied by a glass of either red, or white wine from Sideroad Twenty Cellars .
1st Course- Cheeswerks’ take on milk and cookies, a glass of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich fit for dipping. The soup was simple and delicious, full of chunky fresh tomatoes. The sandwich was delicious melty balderson aged and double smoked cheddar on some grainy artisan bread that was created by St. Johns Bakery especially for Cheesewerks. Absolutely delicious.
2nd Course- This , for me was the highlight of the tasting menu. Cheese fondue. This incredible dish was crafted with Canadian swiss, wine, roasted garlic and nutmeg. We were given a selection of breads and veggies for dipping, as well as some pickled onions to cut the richness. If this dish alone brings you to Cheesewerks, I promise it is worth it. Please note the empty wine glass at this point. Don’t judge.
3rd Course- Macaroni and Cheese. This course was not a favourite of ours . Cheesewerks features six different varieties of mac and cheese ; all featuring cavatappi ( corkscrew) pasta , cream milk and aged cheddar. On this evening , we were given the Beijing , and we didn’t love it. This mac had green onion, pork and hoisin sauce. The hoisin sauce added a sweetness that I would rather do without. This was strictly a personal taste thing . But given that both my friend and I did not care for it, I’d suggest that Cheesewerks use a more traditional version for their tasting menu. The other five varieties sound fantastic and I look forward to returning to try them.
Dessert- For dessert, we received a trio of Cheesecake. Little squares of raspberry, blueberry and chocolate cheesecake were the perfect size because we were pretty stuffed at that point. I am not a lover of cheesecake, but they were tasty, not overly sweet or dry. My friend later discovered that Costco sold this cake. No biggie, the rest of the meal was certainly the highlight and dessert was merely a bonus.
For our dinner, we used a voucher purchased for $45.00 at Buytopia. The value was fantastic as it was more than enough food and included a glass of wine each. It was nice to know that a drink was also covered as there is no better pairing than wine and cheese. The fondue for two alone is $35.00 on the regular menu, so this was a great value. It also allowed us to taste a number of menu items in one visit. If this ever comes back as a featured deal on Buytopia, or another group buying site, I would highly recommend purchasing.
Cheesewerks is fun and delicious. I felt good about the freshness and quality of the local ingredients utilized to make their yummy cheese dishes. The staff are so kind and fun and the whimsical nature of the resto make you leave with a smile. There are a number of special events regularly scheduled at Cheesewerks, and I hope to return for one of their popular trivia nights. Bottom line- for a cheesy, GOUDA time you can’t go wrong spending your CHEDDAR at Cheesewerks. Hey , you didn’t expect me to complete this whole post with zero cheese puns, did you?
Cheesewerks is located at 56 Bathurst Street in Toronto ( 416-243-3327)