Gryphon D'Or is a homey place, particularly for those who crave a touch of the British Isles
A genteel, older clientele, plus random youngsters, settle in at the wood tables, warmed by the orange walls as much as by the fresh scones and informal atmosphere. I felt conspicuous as the only customer not known by the staff. "Coffee and tea’s on the shelf, help yourself" I’m told as I order at the cash in the back. Peruse the shelf of magazines, word games and writer’s books while waiting.
Lunch deals include coffee or tea, salad, plus a dessert. I chose quiche over the eggplant gratinée or chicken noodle soup and loved every mouthful of the caramelized onion and cheesy filling. Though owner Peggy Regan is half Scots and half Irish, and makes a mean Guinness stew, she looks beyond the fare of Burns and Yeats to the likes of matzoh ball soup or pasta.
The side salad was simple and welcome, the accompanying signature scone was lightly sweet and just-right crumbly. I listened to staff chatting with those about to start university, and older men fretting over whether school costs balance against school benefits. Indeed there are complicated choices in this world. Happily, Gryphon D’Or simplifies life with a slow pace and community feel.
The resto has also just started brunch on Sundays, with lemon curd, Gryphon cream and fresh jams (a take-away jar of peach Scotch marmalade is a smoky ode to the summer drupe). There’s French toast using challah, eggs any way, baked-mashed potatoes and apple crepes for dessert. Their take on Welsh rarebit sounds heavenly – beery cheese and egg on a scone beats a McMuffin any day.
The first Tuesday of the month is music night. And on afternoons they’ll provide high tea, providing you remember to reserve a day in advance. Plenty of loose teas are available any time, such as the Celtic Comfort, a home blend of Darjeeling and passion fruit.
A well-suited gent at the end of the room was going to refuse his dessert, but ended up more than appreciative of the small flaky peach gallette. Can’t blame him – Peggy’s cool hands and warm heart turn out perfect pastry. If you need proof, pick up some flaky shortbread to go, then let it crunch and dissolve like crystals in the mouth. I was told ingredients were as follows: flour (all-purpose, plus a bit of rice), butter, some sugar. "And love… mustn’t forget the love."
5968 Monkland; 514-485-7377
Meal for two, tax included: $22-$30