O&B Canteen

Posted on August 5, 2011


I used to visit King St West all the time about four years ago.  But not always for the obvious reason of watching a Broadway show or see an orchestra play, but to visit my favorite outdoors/sports store Mountain Equipment Coop.  There was a phase in my early Canadian years that I was addicted to dragonboating and this store has everything imaginable to get you as active as you could be.  Back then, I used to stretch my paddling until late fall/early winter and having good gear was of utmost importance to avoid frostbite.  I often visited the store to keep an eye of better deals.  During those trips, I often wished that there were something midway between a fast food chain/hotdog stand and the fining dining restaurant choices in the area.  I wished for a place with reasonably good food with a good price.  I think I finally got my wish, four years later.


On a recent trip to King St West with my visiting cousin, Dexter,  I showed him my favorite store as he has taken on running as his current sport.  Shopping can really build up an appetite, so when we finished I have selected to walk a few blocks up east to get to a restaurant that is participating with the city’s Summerlicious event.  We never made it there because as soon as I saw the rustle and bustle of the O & B Canteen as we passed by the Bell Lightbox, I threw my original plan out the window.

Walking in, it is clear that the restaurant caters to both people on-the-go or people who wish to stay.  Prepacked food were lined up on a display window, cafeteria-style, ready to be picked up.  There is also a big area of spacious booths and tables for those discerning to stay.  If this place was here years ago, this would have been my place of comfort over the countless choices at King St. West.

The wait for tables did not take long.  Looking at the menu, I settled for a Frat tau pizza.  Laden with white sauce, pancetta, potatoes, slivers of pecorino and rosemary, the smell wafting to me was such a comfort.  Reminds me of the smells I get when I open the oven after roasting a big tray of potatoes bathe in good olive oil, aromatics and woodsy rosemary.  My cousin was equally happy of his lunch which was the house burger and really good fries sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.  That tiny detail in the fries made it over the top.  Perfectly crisp and seasoned on the outside and soft in the inside, my heart melts with each fry I stole from Dexter’s plate.  He didn’t seem to mind as the burger was a handful, moist and tender and brimming with delicious dollop of sautéed mushrooms.  For the price we paid for the food, the meal was a really good deal.  Such good food I say.  Maybe from now on, I should find another reason than dragonboating to go to King St. West.  Or it can simply be my main reason.  I vote for going simple!

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