The Burnt Tongue is a local Hamilton restaurant that I have wanted to try for ages, but am never in the area when hungry. The past weekend was chilly and we were shopping downtown which was a little stressful so I jumped at the chance to warm up with a bowl of soup at The Burnt Tongue.
A Little About The Burnt Tongue:
The Burnt Tongue doesn’t have a real menu. Each day, they make different soups plus have some everyday favourites like frites and grilled cheese – the kind of things you expect with your soup. According to past interviews, they don’t even plan their menu ahead of time, they just see what the weather is like, what is fresh at their suppliers and what they feel like making and make it.
Despite never visiting before, I often stalk their social media feeds just before lunch to see what the daily soups will be (and am clearly not the only one as you see people replying soon after). Rather than print the options each day, they display their menu on chalkboards near the open plan kitchen. I looked, it was clean and the staff seemed to enjoy working there.
The Burnt Tongue try to have options for non meat eaters – easier for a soup place than most restaurants. The large letter beside the soup shows you the price option (from $5 to $9) and includes your choice of fresh bread, fresh veggies or fruit – our choices were a large bun, veggie sticks or an apple. The smaller letters below make it super easy for people to tell if the soup is suitable for them. Choose from vegetarian, vegan, celiac friendly and diary free options, but do check daily as they are not always offered. A small basic soup is $5 including your sides and a large more complex/expensive ingredient soup will cost up to $9.
You can also choose from their other menu options
- Frites which come with some delicious condiments – $4+
- Burgers starting at $4
- Grilled cheese just $3 (or upgrade to French onion grilled cheese – $5)
- Spicy cucumber or kale ceasar salads $4+
They also have Rudy’s Paletas and vegan ice cream if you do burn your tongue on a delicious soup and want to cool down.
The Burnt Tongue itself is cute. It is small with just a handful of tables and some seating at the window but service is quick and many people take their soup to go so you won’t have to wait long if you want a table. It is lit with mason jars which gives it a great ambiance and the staff are young and very friendly – not at all like the Soup Nazi (sorry, had to be done).
Admittedly, it is not in the best area of the city, but James North has changed a lot in recent years and is now associated more with artists than its darker past. It is close to downtown, so parking is limited but there are parking lots nearby. The vendors in the area are typically quite friendly and many are willing to help each other out. This is evident on the huge cork board of business cards and flyers for upcoming events.
We went for the chipotle ham & broccoli soup and a order of frites with Dutch mayo. The soup was delicious, full of flavour and generous with the ingredients including the handful of cheddar on top. The soup had some heat but not so much that it was overpowering, and he loved it despite usually prefering very bland food. The frites were not at all greasy, crisp and slightly salted. The mayo is creamy and rich – not just some Miracle Whip dumped in a cup like some places.
We will definitely be visiting again – winter just makes me want a warming soup and The Burnt Tongue is close to the GO Train station so I can grab something on my way home from work.
The Burnt Tongue: 10 Cannon St E, Hamilton
Logo and pricing chart (c) The Burnt Tongue. Pricing is current as of December 2014 and subject to change