Okay, I know eating out three meals a day is extravagant, but I swear, I’m not a crazed foodie who only eats out while travelling. But, when you’re in place for just one day, you gotta. If you get to spend a month somewhere, I urge …
As I limped along King East, my friend’s voice echoed in my mind.
“Get the waffles, order extra waffles.”
I’d been craving brunch at Le Petit Déjeuner since I heard about their famous Belgian out-of-this-world-amazing waffles and I wasn’t going to let a little foot injury stop me.
Part-diner, part-bistro, this iconic restaurant has been serving up plates of self-described Belgian-Canadian comfort food seven days a week for the past ten years. There is always a line, always. Last Saturday, I dragged Adam out of bed early with the hopes of having a short wait, and as luck would have it, we got a table right away.
The booths are covered in shiny green pleather, an old cigarette dispenser hangs on the brick wall amongst antique street-signs and photographs and festival flags hang from the high ceiling. The clientele is as eclectic as the decor — hipsters, senior citizens and families cram into the snug restaurant as pleasant servers scurry around.
Coffee came immediately, black for Adam, a piping hot cappuccino for me. The beet juice I ordered took it’s sweet time getting to the table but the earthy beet with ginger and apple juice made up for it, and is just one of the house-made juices available daily.
When the food arrived I was happy to see those famous Belgian waffles arranged into a fluffy lean-to on my plate, not underneath my sole egg Benedict.
The hollandaise was creamy and lemony and the bacon abundant. The accompanying coleslaw was fresh and very un-slaw like in the best possible way — the crisp green apple and lightly pickled cucumber were rustically chopped and topped with just the right amount of creamy paprika mayo dressing.
The waffles were…perfect.
Light and airy, crispy but soft on the inside and the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
Adam’s Croque Monsieur came with the slaw and a thin and cripsy potato rosti — the sandwich’s thickly sliced bread housed thick layers of ham and swiss cheese with dijon mustard and gratin.
When we left, the line was stretching down the block, and my aching foot (and full belly) thanked me all the way home for getting out of bed on a Saturday morning.
The early girl gets the waffle.
From the top of the mound you can see the dust of Sadik’s van before the green beast crashes into view — Ayoup’s whistle blows from somewhere and calls of “pidos!” ring throughout the trenches. It’s time. We slowly wind our way down the incline …
Saturday midday in Halifax, Adam and I were doing what everyone seemed to be doing: looking for a good Brunch place to satisfy our hungry bellies and our hungover heads. We rendezvoused with an old friend from our Honours Program, Krysi, and set off in search of excellent food and rejuvenating coffee.
Our first attempt at brunch was on Robie Street at the Coastal Cafe, but the minute we entered we knew the effort to drive up from the South End had been futile. The small place was overflowing with young hip people; not a table was open, and there were at least 15 people standing with menus in front of us. I should not have been surprised as the reason I had chosen this place was that it was ranked the “Best Brunch” in the city by The Coast, and would of course be filled with people. Here lies my first rookie mistake in Haligonian epicuriousity: if it’s popular, it will be busy. Krysi, a local, informed me that it is very difficuly to find places to eat in the city that aren’t overwhelmed with people on a Saturday morning.
In my not-so-epic search for brunch, I had only relied on the ‘Best of’ section in The Coast and naively assumed that a place like The Coastal Cafe, which has won best brunch numerous years in a row, wouldn’t be busy on a Saturday at noon. The Coastal Cafe will have to wait until another day, another blog.
So off we went, driving down Robie in search of another Coast selection: jane’s on the common. Lucky for us, there were just enough parking spots on the side street for Krysi to park and the friendly hostess greeted us warmly, informing us that it would just be a few moments until a table would be available.
After a short wait, we were guided to a secluded table in a little nook at the back of the restaurant, hidden from the throngs of chatty undergraduates and ladies who brunch. The atmosphere was busy, but warm and hectic in the most charming of ways, with a comfortable but stylish decor. Our convivial server spoke to us immediately about the specials and was swift in filling our cups with hot, delicious coffee.
Krysi chose the Maritime Breakfast upon the server’s recommendation and she thoroughly enjoyed the lightly breaded haddock fillet, something which she normally doesn’t eat for breakfast, but loved the change of scenery. I ordred my classic brunch choice, Eggs Benedict with Bacon, which felt like a bit of a cop-out at a new place, but I was pleasantly surprised to cut into a sweet potato biscuit, as opposed to the traditional english muffin. The greens were fresh and added a great lunch attitude to the breakfast classic.
Adam was delighted with his Chorizo Sausage and Potato Scramble, which was labelled ‘GFO’ and confused us for a moment until we realized that the key at the bottom of the menu explained that ‘GFO’ meant “gluten free option.” There were also Vegan Options or ‘VO,’ which I found to be very helpful and accommodating to modern day dietary restrictions. He also ordered a side of Sassy Beans, which he thought were good, but nothing to write home about.
Overall I very much enjoyed my experience at jane’s on the common: The well dressed friendly staff were very efficient, yet you didn’t feel rushed, and I almost stole Adam’s slice of sourdough toast, it looked so delicious. I would recommend this self-proclaimed ‘contemporary diner,’ which serves delicious breakfast and brunch classics with distinctly delightful twists, to anyone who loves to eat brunch. I cannot wait to return for dinner to explore, eat, and repeat at jane’s on the common.
Things worth mentioning…
Cost: 55$ for brunch for two, with coffee and a Mimosa (another brunch must for me!)
Things I loved: A hostess at brunch, which I consider a must when you are as busy as jane’s.
Things I didn’t: The lack of potatoes with my meal and the lack of lunch options…you cannot have brunch without the lunch.
Best place to sit: In the back corner nook en route to the rest rooms (sounds weird, but quieter and cozy).
What to order next time: The Ricotta Pancakes…and come back for dinner…and lunch…and maybe weekday breakfast….