I had the pleasure of visiting The Early Bird for lunch during my visit to London for the 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit. I was delivered by Chris McDonell, Publisher at Eat Drink Mag after getting a quick 50 cent whirlwind tour of the city. He waved goodbye as I slid into my window seat overlooking Talbot Street. I stared down at the menu in front of me and reminded myself, “Andrew it is only 11am. Don’t order too much, you have two more restaurants to review by 3pm.”
The manager on duty was a great help with the menu as I was time crunched. I smiled up at her as I whispered, “I only have an hour to eat the very best the chef had to offer.” She suggested a few signature dishes and crowd favorites. I said yes, yes and yes and with a smile she whisked herself away to place my order. While I was waiting for the food to arrive I hopped out of my seat and spent the next few minutes taking snap shots of the interior.
The space provides a distinct 1950′s era diner ambiance with pink walls, zebra skin wrapped chairs and a wild and wonderful collection of Elvis, Frankenstein and glam rock memorabilia. The back of the restuarnat features a Tikka inspired bar with a sun set which helps one escape just a little bit easier while shooting down coconut flavoured rum.
The restaurant dubs itself as “A Fine Diner,” which is a playful and accurate way of describing its food philosophy. The menu is filled with accessible diner classics that have been tweaked and elevated in a thoughtful way. It is clear the food is fresh and prepared with love and care in house.
Highlights of my meal included bacon fried pickles (omg) and “The Popper,” a grilled cheese inspired by the Jalapeño Popper (an often unavoidable junk food craving for moi). I was encouraged to order the restaurants famous Turducken Sandwich when I first arrived but reviewing three restaurants for lunch does not really permit me to eat such girth. I was fortunate enough to gaze upon the beast as my neighbour ordered a plate with his girlfriend. I hopped out of my seat, crouched by this strangers table and with great enthusiasm took a few pictures of this massive ode to smoked turkey, Italian breaded chicken and duck breast bacon. I double dare you!
Bacon Fried Pickles
Slider Sampler: Braised Duck, Smoked Meat, Pulled Pork
Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad
Grilled Cheese “The Popper”
mozzarella, pickled jalapeno, sweet pepper jelly, cream cheese, tortilla chips
#392 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.