When you walk into The Alice House at Queen’s Park, you might mistakenly assume you’ve walked into the lair of spiderman such is the network of filament lightbulbs and wires dangling from the ceiling. Although you might also be distracted by the hive of activity around the venue. During our visit, they were selling vintage and retro clothing including dresses with beautiful floral patterns. There is always something happening at The Alice House whether it is a display of urban art work or a coffee masterclass.
They have an ever-growing collection of gins and some heavenly cocktail options such as the hip lady with Beefeater gin combined with delectable peach liqueur, lemon, bitters, egg white to make a very smooth tasting, summery cocktail. Even their non-alcoholic options are carefully crafted such as their homemade lemonade.
Seasonality and sustainability might be the buzzwords of most restaurants, but how often do they put this into practise? The Alice House cleverly combines finely sourced grilled cuttlefish with sweet and sour rhubarb with an abundance of healthy land cress. The cuttlefish has been finely cut not just to help cook the meat but it also helped to absorb the tasty sweet and sour rhubarb flavours. I can’t think of many other pubs or restaurants offering this dish.
It is evident that they are proud of where they source their food, one of their signature dish is the Orchard farm pork chop with bubble and squeak and spiced apple. The dish feels meaty and the pork is moist and well complemented with spiced apple; whilst the bubble and squeak ensures that it is a substantial dish. Rhubarb once again makes an appearance on the menu to accentuate the seasonality of the head chef’s dishes.
Unsurprisingly, rhubarb appears on the dessert menu, but by this time, I decided it was time to try another fruit-based dessert: apple fritters, cinnamon and salted caramel. I would still prefer banana over apple for fritters as the crispness of the apple is analogous to the crunchy texture of the batter. Although the version here is superb in its execution, coming piping hot from the kitchen with the right amount of crunch, cinnamon and salted caramel.
The Alice House isn’t the kind of place you need to rush off post-meal, they have an elegant working library where you can borrow the books to read and take them home with you for up to a week. The Alice House is very much a house for the whole community.