The latest venture from Grant Van Gameren and friends of the famed Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, is El Rey Mezcal Bar – a 30 seat Mexican style saloon, at 2A Kensington Avenue, Toroto. In good weather, it more than doubles in size with their outdoor patio.
This spot doesn’t come close to the calibre of the aforementioned spots, but that doesn’t stop the hoards from coming. Firstly, there is a well-curated list of Mezcals, small batch spirits, beers, tequilas and craft cocktails. They serve what I call bar snacks on these ridiculously small plates that they do not change throughout your meal. So for instance, after you order your ceviche dish, the juices run into everything else you place on your plate. There are no tacos on this menu, just a handful of items, such as a couple of snacks, Like shosito peppers, or popcorn. There is a choice of 6 tostadas, made with freshly ground maize, which range in price from $6-11.50. There is also a quesadilla, an empanada, an anticuchos and a ceviche. My favourite thing is the summer vegetable tostada, with guacamole and seasonal vegetables. For dessert there is one choice, a daily special. We had a rich chocolate brownie with banana and caramel sauce.
The food is above average for Mexican fare in Toronto. But, what is fun is sitting outside on a wooden bench and watching the parade of characters walk by. I can say this literally happened, because, on the last Sunday of every month, the street becomes a pedestrian zone with bands, parades and all sorts of interesting sightings. The place is ultra casual which fits right into the bohemian vibe of the area. They could use more staff, as we were left waiting for everything. But, though the place had a limited menu, it did have a fun atmosphere.
Cheap and cheerful.