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#1 2013-10-05 09:55:19

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

The Bruce

One wonders where the name came from but that aside I stopped by the newest place in town to have a look.

Where is "The Bruce" you ask? Parkview Dr. first driveway on the right when you turn off Ontario St.  Still confused?....yeah so was I but then I recalled the press release related to this new restaurant and it made sense. The Restaurant in he new hotel being built on the site behind the hedge on Ontario St. was scheduled to open before the completion of the hotel itself and it has.

If you can block out of your mind the construction going on literally beside you, once you enter this place things start to make sense. Through the door and into a entry area for the dining room you are greeted by large windows dark hardwood floors, pale warm yellow walls and rich mouldings throughout. The washrooms are to the right as is what will be the hallway into the hotel itself (currently a finished wall which will be removed when the hotel opens). To the left is the entry into the lounge with a large dark wood bar to the left and lounge tables and chairs to the right. The end of the room looking toward the rear court yard of the property has very large French doors that will lead to a patio when landscaping is finished. The space is high ceilinged and has a warm rich ambience about it.

Walking through the lounge you enter the main dining room. It is an expansive space with cathedral style ceiling and an bank of 2 story windows on the end wall. Décor is white linen table clothes, upholstered arm chairs and tableware of a very high caliber. Carpet is a light beige that suites the space and with the large windows keeps it very light and airy. Usually a space like this will come off as cold due to the natural light and light colours but this space does not and given the lighting (I was there at about 5:00pm and it was still sunny out) that is apparent the evening will turn this place positively elegant. Beyond the main dining room is a second somewhat smaller dining area which has large windows on two sides of the room and to the left a small private dinning room.

The menu is priced not unlike say the Church, Rundles or Keystone Alley. The chef is the owner of Bijou which is a favourite of ours and if the food stands up to that establishment then it will be well. They are staying open for the winter (Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings) unlike many places that seem bent on forgetting the sizable local population that will patronize places like this. Obviously it will be open full time when the hotel finally opens.

No chance to eat on my first visit as I did not even know they were open....but we will be back and will report the findings

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#2 2013-10-11 14:10:03

Stratfordian
Member
Registered: 2011-11-11
Posts: 127

Re: The Bruce

Bruce Birmingham is Jennifer Birmingham's father (Jennifer B, a local B&B owner, is the builder/owner of the hotel and restaurant complex).  He was an executive with the Bank of Nova Scotia, a philanthropist who founded the Birmingham Conservatory at the Festival.  Hence "The Bruce" I would surmise.

Sounds lovely to look at, and with Bijou's chef on board it should shine.  Bijou is still "up for sale" but if the chef/owner leaves, what exactly would it be that you were buying?  Tables, chairs and a stove!

Last edited by Stratfordian (2013-10-18 13:17:53)

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#3 2013-10-18 09:06:40

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Re: The Bruce

Thanks for the potential explanation of the name. As for the sale of Bijou...it is true...without the chef...you are just buying sticks and bricks so to speak.

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#4 2014-07-08 13:54:55

Steel
Member
Registered: 2008-02-16
Posts: 2521

Re: The Bruce

Friday we stopped in for drinks and a look around. The majority of the landscaping is now completed so the view of the grounds at the rear of the property is now as planned. There is a lovely terrace area with tables, chairs and umbrellas for both drinks and the bar menu.

The bar and restaurant space itself I reviewed back in October 2013 shortly after it opened. Without the landscape competed back then it was a leap to figure out how everything would tie in. Access to the bar and restaurant itself is through a door off the side parking lot, or preferably through the main lobby and down the hall. Access to the terrace is either from the lobby or from the bar.

Our bar tender was a young man well dressed with a tie and vest. Despite his age he was an extremely knowledgeable mixologist. We sat at the bar and I enjoyed a gin martini (bmbay sapphire with a vermouth I had never seen previously) $10 and GF one of their draft selections $7.50.  Although we did not have time to eat we did look at the bar menu. It offered a good selection of things from small bites to more substantial fare.

We were surprised at the pricing. I suppose we expected $25 burger and $14 soup....not the case. Things were priced well within reason. That said this is not a cheap place....but it also does not feel like your going to get hosed.

Service was excellent with good attention to detail. The waiter manning the dining room (this was late afternoon and we did not expect to see a large crowd... there were perhaps 6 to 8 people in the dining room) was wearing dress pants and a dress shirt. I though that was a bit of a miss as the other staff throughout the property were much better presented.

Back for food this weekend

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