This one has been on my list for quite a while, however I never find myself awake early enough to catch their breakfast/brunch service or up early enough to attempt locating their roaming food truck. It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop anyone from entering the baby blue and pale yellow building. If I had to colour “breakfast” those would be it. 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon and the place was full, or at least appeared to be full, with couples paired off patiently by the door and the delay of clearing tables for new diners to be seated. With nothing else to do but to wait, I couldn’t help but to scrutinize their process. There was no sense of urgency here, there was no system to say who was doing what, and no attempt to maximize the work that needed to be done.
They weren’t working efficiently. It wasn’t like the dining room was slammed, there were no big parties and with four servers floating across 20 or so half seated tables, they weren’t necessarily short staffed. As we stood by the hostess podium we watched these servers. A few spoke to one another in between the dropping off of dishes and the busing of tables. One girl thought it important to sort the cutlery at their drinks bar. Had she only raised her head she would be able to spot the empty tables and the now impatient customers wondering why they couldn’t be seated.
By the time we finally sat down it was with lowered expectations. Yet the place continued to see guest after guest drift in and happy faces leaving well fed. I suspect they came for the food, and like us they would not regret it. Their breakfast fare was certainly worth the annoying wait. Impressive plates walked past us, crossing the black and white checkered floor. Yet the smell that filled the room was less appetizing. A stagnant and dense scent like brewing mould or water from a logged basement. My guest was insistent that what we were smelling was the truffle oil used in one of their hashes. Luckily it seemed only concentrated in the foyer and we were able to escape it when we were led to our table in the second half of the restaurant. There was plenty of seating.
The restaurant felt edgy with its modern crowd, coupled with the works of pop culture lining the walls. Iconic characters and familiar concepts reimagined in neon paint and with punkish renditions. Michelle Pfeiffer’s cat woman with full beard, Robocop’s profile in primary colours, Spock dawning a ninja mask and smile, Adam West’s Batman and Robin with a more feminine flare, a falcon in the Millennium Falcon, and some interesting interpretations of a Cosmo magazine cover featuring a plus size model. Definitely conversation starters, definitely worth capturing on film, and definitely worth taking a second look at. This is my preferred form of art.
My guest already knew she would be getting the “Chicken and waffles”. Their organic fried chicken over a Belgium waffle was her favourite. She orders hers with the Canadian maple syrup and chicken gravy on the side. Doing so prevents her meal from getting soggier quicker and allows her to dictate exactly how much salty to her sweet she actually wants. Otherwise the above gravy and syrup would be drizzled all over. She also dismantles her plate. She un-skewers her chicken from its waffle base, preventing the grease from the fried chicken to pool into the dimples of the waffle. Her method requires work before eating, but the result is crispy bites of both chicken and waffle to the very end. She even insists that what she doesn’t finish make great leftovers. A spin in the microwave and a toasting in the pan works wonders for the next day meal. The idea of powered sugar on sweetened waffles just works with salted chicken and ribbony gravy.
Half of the menu featured poached free range egg sandwiches. It’s alluring format was enough to sway my decision. Your options are presented in the form of a cause and effect chart. You work your way through selections, in order to make your final choice. What type of meat? One egg or two? Hollandaise or a white cheddar sauce? Should it be prepared like an egg sandwich or like eggs Benedict? Or maybe you should skip the bread all together and have all the above over hash instead. I worked my way through the list and ended with the special of the day. As advertised on the chalk board up front. A duck confit Benny with duck confit, fresh spinach, and a ginger marmalade. Topped with crispy crackling. All over an English muffin. The eggs were perfectly poached, runny with the slightest puncture. Definitely egg porn quality. The hollandaise, a luxurious cream that moisten the English muffin whilst maintaining its toasted edges. The marmalade was a game changer, and surprisingly a nice edition. It was a play on the more familiar flavour of duck l’orange. Orange and duck just goes, and it is even better when gently salted and slightly sweeten. The pieces of duck were plentiful and shredded into sizeable chewy chunks. I don’t like soggy greens but the leafs of Spinach added the perfect freshness. And as expected the deep fried crackling added a crunchy texture and a fatty component that brought it all together.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Both our plates were good, we cleared them with ease. Distance and connivence aside, I definitely would not be apposed to returning for more eggs, waffles, or fried chicken. Along with all the breakfast favourites like French toast, pancakes, and oatmeal. And soon to be favourites like their in house made beignets, their truffle lemon hash browns, and their house made honey toasted granola with pumpkin seeds and craisins. Each of the above included its own list of classic and inventive add ons: crispy bacon, fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and even salted caramel. And for those who need a pick me up from the night before they have cocktails to easily transition you from night drinking to day. After all nothing beats a greasy breakfast after a late night, so I can only imagine how good a gourmet one would taste. Don’t deny your cravings.