Descendant is a Detroit-style deep dish pizzeria located at 1168 Queen St E (Queen and Jones) in Leslieville that opened up in August of 2015. Ever since it opened, I’d been hearing enormous hype about how great the pizza was, but due to their hours at the time I wasn’t able to make it out there. Now they’re open for lunch, so it was time to strike!
The façade is simple, sleek and industrial looking. I love the font and colour choices. It stands out, even amongst Leslieville’s quirky shops. Inside it’s even better as they hired an artist to do the entirety of the restaurant’s wall art and paint jobs. I was told they even switch it up every so often, which is incredible because as you can see, the canvas pieces and wall splotches complement each other beautifully; one would think it would be painful to take it down! That being said, the canvas pieces are up for sale (price tags are affixed) and I think that’s great that they can have a collaboration like this and have both the restaurant and local artist benefit! As far as seating goes, it’s a pretty small but cozy spot with enough chairs to seat 22 (16 at tables, and 6 by the front on stools).
Gat Daddy ($18 for small — 8×10) — Merguez sausage, sweetie drop Peruvian peppers, raita, torn mint, crispy rosemary, lemon zest
This pizza is a collaboration with another Leslieville restaurant just down the street, Skin + Bones (980 Queen St E). I always say this but I LOVE when local restaurants work with each other. It’s so cool to see camaraderie among peers. The first thing to note is the thickness of the pizza (I took a picture with my thumb beside it for reference). It’s about one inch thick, which is pretty deep! The next thing to note is the first bite. The exterior is nice and crisp, while the dough is incredibly soft and chewy. The toppings all work to provide you with something savoury and delicious, and dare I say it, close to perfection! Between the tanginess of the Merguez mutton sausage, the pinch of sweetness from the sweetie drop peppers, the sharp yogurt tartness with the raita, the refreshing mint flavour and the absolutely unmistakable flavour of rosemary… this pizza is a hit.
Another thing to note is that it’s not a thin crust pizza with a gigantic portion of toppings, this is a deep-dish pizza with a large portion of it being the dough, but in my opinion that’s not a negative. I really think the portions have been done to perfection and the dough’s softness is simply magnificent.
Jaffna ($16 for small — 8×10) — kothu roti, mango chutney, cilantro cream, green onion, Calabrian chilies, fresh cilantro [vegetarian]
As soon as I saw “kothu roti” on the menu, I think I squee’d a little inside. I knew I had to order it. A little secret about me: I love ordering the oddest things on any menu. Not that kothu roti is odd… for information on kothu roti or my love for it, check out my review of last year’s Kothu Fest. I just never thought I’d see kothu roti as a topping on pizza… there must be Sri Lankans in the kitchen staff, because this I didn’t see coming. Can I just say that I’m SO glad kothu roti has gotten to the point that we can have a food festival for it AND see it as a topping on pizza! Yay!
How did it taste? GOOD! The first bite was kinda weird, mostly because I didn’t realize mango chutney was on it. It gave it a sweet tanginess, not unlike what pineapple is like on a Hawaiian Pizza (fun fact: did you know that Hawaiian Pizza originated in Chatham, Ontario???). I thought the ingredients paired together well, though I have to admit that the kothu roti is pretty understated in this pizza. It might be because I’m used to lamb kothu roti AND used to it being pretty darn spicy, but in this case it’s very mild. That being said, the Calabrian chilies were tasty, along with the cilantro cream and green onions, I thought this ended up being a very very good pizza.
Lemon Thyme Posset ($4.50) — olive oil, crumbled ginger cookie
…and now time for my favourite part of any meal: DESSERT!
What is a posset? Not gonna lie, I had to look it up. Apparently it used to be an old curdled (is there a more gross word than curdled? Maybe moist) milk drink based in Britain but nowadays it refers to a buttery cream-based dessert. The presentation is nice, a classic small mason jar houses this beauty with some crumbled ginger cookie on top and a hint of olive oil. As I scooped my spoon into it, I notice it has a butter-like texture, and I notice it even more so as it lands on my tongue. I believe my mouth is now watering just thinking about it again. Sooooooo good. It was like eating lemon yogurt with the texture of butter. Simply to die for. The ginger cookie was strong in flavour too, which added a nice contrast to the lemon posset. Easily one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.
In closing, you really need to stop by Descendant to try out their pizza. I have heard evenings and weekends are CRAZY for them, which makes sense considering the quality of the food and the limited seating. That being said, you could order takeout OR go for lunch on a weekday as I did! Detroit-style pizza: not something I had heard of prior to Descendant, but better late than never. Don’t miss it.