Eff it is cold. Weekends like this are meant for hiding and blankets, and I mean,
thick THICK blankets and many seasons of Shameless, which is my wonderful new addition. I am pretty sure I was going to hide in my unsocial hole until Monday and work forced itself on me, but then I remembered that JH and I had to attend a baby shower today, and then move de-cluttering boxes tomorrow, and subsequently see family. Then my dreams of hiding in a blanket and resting my head from everything and everyone ended. It basically exploded.
Given that, I was not going to waste an opportunity to finally head over to Pray Tell Bar after the shower. Pray Tell is a cute, BEAUTIFUL little cocktail and snack bar (sister to Track and Field Bar in the same neighbourhood) located on 838 College Street, right at College and Ossington. Because it was a little after 5 (and yes, we were not the only ones having dinner like really old people, there was another couple), JH and I got the window seat with all the beautiful, grey natural light.
- Mood – Wistful all day for some time away from the outside and everything. Right now is perfect – I am writing, watching Shameless, and under a blanket.
- Focus – Random 5PM snack-dinners.
- Craving – Pray Tell’s delicious comfort food snacks.
- Feedback from the husband – He loved the fact that the bill was so cheap in comparison to our regular dining out bills. We collectively loved the food, and the vibe of the restaurant.
The restaurant is not huge. There are two rows of tables (high-tops and booths) and then the bar at the back. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with an abundance of plants (notably, succulents), contemporary light fixtures, and a lot of neutral white and brown decor. I just loved the vibe of the restaurant. Everything about being there just felt comfortable – the atmosphere, table, music, food and overall vibe. It also felt trendy without being obnoxious.
The menu is split into cocktails and drinks on one side, and then snacks on the other. Food-wise, there are smaller, larger and then shareable snacks. It was a very attractive menu, and JH and I both truthfully wanted to try everything. We however covered some of each section.
We ended up choosing:
- The Cast Iron Cheese Bread ($6) – at the recommendation of our server, who was really friendly and nice. She commented that it was just really hot and cheesy, and would be the perfect comfort food for the cold day outside. We were instantly sold. It came with a roasted jalapeño crema, which had a nice bite and tang. The bread was tasty (cheese and garlicky), but I spent a lot of time photographing (because all the dishes came at once and quickly), so my share of the bread was not as hot as I would have liked, but this was my fault.
- The Pocket Pizza Supreme ($9) – Based on social media, this is their signature dish. It was certainly delicious and perfect to share between two people. I wish it was slightly cheesier. When JH cut it in two portions, I expected a bunch of filling to just ooze out, but the filling kind of stayed intact. It reminded JH that he hadn’t had a panzerotti in awhile. I don’t think I have had one since I was really young. I just kept on thinking of Pillsbury Pizza Pops or McCain Pizza Pockets, but this was of course much better.
- Braised Short Rib & Mash ($14) – This was served with charred green onion mashed potatoes, pickled ginger and five spice jus, and was one of the more substantial dishes (main versus snack). The charred green onion tasted heavily of tarragon to me, so I was a bit confused by the menu description. I also did not taste any five spice in the dish (now that I am thinking about it, five-spice tastes like licorice candy and so does tarragon -slightly, so that may have been where my head was mixed up). That being said, the short rib was really tender, and we both loved the pieces of ginger with the dish. Everything ate really well in spoonfuls altogether, and the dish was seasoned well and prettily presented.
- Chicken Parm Sammy ($8) – My goodness I wish this was so much bigger, but it was the size of a slider. This was one of my favourite bites with the hot peppers and garlic butter. I always love a spicy kick. The bun also felt really freshly baked.
- Crispy Pork Dumplings ($8) – This was probably my least favourite dish, and I never seem to learn my lesson with ordering dumplings at non-Asian restaurants. I get the fusion attempt but I didn’t really taste sauerkraut, or spice in the jus. Also, I can get a billion dumplings for cheaper -homemade – or at a Chinese restaurant.
JH ended up ordering a beer with the meal, and savouring it quietly after we finished eating the snacks. We were both full, so the five snacks ate well as a substantial enough dinner. At the end of the day, we just really enjoyed the relaxed vibe and were not in our usual rush to get in and out. When I can drink like a normal person again, I would be fairly interested in going back to try their cocktails in more of a social setting. In the meantime, all I can say is that this is a definite recommend for a cheap and cheery dinner. Given the chance, we would go back, but my restaurant list never seems to stop growing, so a second visit will probably need to wait for a bit.
Other little details:
- Parking – there is Green P parking located along College. There is also the College streetcar if coming without a car.
- The logo of the restaurant is in really skinny lettering, so it’s not so obvious when driving by, but the address is right on College, right by College and Ossington.
- There is no dress code, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is casual and warm. I think this would be a great place for a casual ‘drinks’ date, and drinks/snacks with friends.
- Music was playing – felt like funk and soul (with a little bit of rock), and it just really went great with the overall vibe of the restaurant.
- We went early but by the time we left at 6, the restaurant was slowly starting to fill up.
- We just walked in, but noted from their website that they do not take reservations.
- Try to get the window seat if the sun has not set. The natural light is just wonderful, and they shielded the table enough so you do not feel any wind when other customers enter from the near-by entrance.
- Social Media – Instagram