McGugan’s is your typical Scottish pub and likely the closest place for me if I ever have an inkling to eat Scottish fare. It is a little bit of a nostalgic walk for me heading to McGugan’s, as it is the same route I walked or rode the streetcar to attend high school.
A lot has changed in the area; what was once a cheap eatery that served frozen food and who greeted you as “handsome” or “beautiful girl” in Cantonese as you walk in is now a Starbucks, and many of the once mom and pop shops are now either a burger joint, indie coffee house, etc.
It’s not a nice area per se, even with a regarded academic high school in the area, but these gradual gentrifying changes are making the area a little more livelier.
For McGugan’s, it was once a flower shop. Learning they serve haggis was the reason why my brother wanted to go there, and me tagging along for Sunday brunch.
My brother ordered the eggs haggis, with two eggs poached on haggis fritters, English muffin, hollandaise sauce and home fries.
We’ve never had haggis before, so I was skeptical. Knowing that it is made out of sheep offals boiled in sheep stomach does not scare me, but I’m not fond of the taste of sheep (goat and lamb as well) so I was curious as to how it would taste. It resembles ground meat but with a dried texture perhaps due to the oatmeal. It has a nutty flavour, but even with the herbs, I still tasted that distinct gamey taste that sheep, goat or lamb meat has. While it is interesting to say the least, I don’t think I’ll ever want eat haggis again. It is definitely an acquired taste.
As for the traditional breakfast, there was nothing special as it’s difficult to mess up. However, the home fries tasted like it was cooked in old oil. Not good.
Upon first impression, McGugan’s is warm and inviting, with exposed brick and dark wood furniture. Service was friendly. If I were to return, it’s probably to kick back, and relax with a pint.
Edit: This is a revisit from March 2015:
Last Sunday, a friend and I made plans to have brunch at Brickyard Grounds (hello, fried chicken and waffles), but we were unaware that they were closed due to a fire until we got to the location. Needless to say, we had to find a nearby place to eat.
We ended up at McGugan’s Pub. My first visit was about a year and half ago, and I remember my traditional breakfast was not that great; the home fries tasted as if it was cooked in old oil. I ended up getting the same thing to see if anything has changed.
1058 Gerrard Street E