Who doesn’t love Shakshuka and spaghetti? This mash-up egg dish is great for dinner or brunch by adding pasta to the Middle Eastern favourite.
On the weekend Adam and I eloped, we decided to do all the things we always talk about doing in Toronto and never do. Venturing east on the Danforth to visit a restaurant that specializes in my favourite breakfast food was one thing we just had to check off the list.
Hollandaise Diner opened late 2015 and has been on my brunch radar for months. This isn’t any old brunch spot: this diner specializes one of my all time favourite dishes — eggs Benedict. I won’t bore you chattering about my love for hollandaise, take one look at my Instagram and you’ll see the plethora of over-table brunch shots oozing with hollandaise.
Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
This place is a local spot through and through. Even though I travelled from the far depths of the Distillery District, I felt at home right away. It’s bright and cheery with white walls and colourful local art, full of families and regulars. It made I lived close by although this would probably make me very fat: They are open every day, even holidays, 7am-3pm.
Our server was beyond kind, and just the right amount of chatty, and got us coffee right away. The all-day breakfast menu has a variety of options, although I don’t know why anyone would order anything but eggs benny. There’s the classic breakfast, frittatas and pancakes for those not hollandaise-inclined.
What we ate
I went with the build-a-benny option ($11.95). Baked polenta with bacon and classic hollandaise sauce — there are five different types to choose from: classic, coconut, HP infused, cajun and zesty. Served with a pile of homefries, I was happy with my build. The flavour of the hollandaise had the perfect amount of lemon and just creamy enough to coat my medium-poached eggs.
Adam selected from the unique benny concoctions on the menu. He went with the Meatloaf benny ($11.95) with the two slices of meatloaf, mushrooms and topped with HP-infused hollandaise. I wasn’t really on board for the HP-infusedness of this dish, but Adam loved it. To each hollandaise his own.
What will I try next time?
The Croque Madame eggs benedict ($11.95) boasting grilled cheese as the base, topped with fried ham and classic hollandaise.
The coffee? Pretty good, hot and bottomless at a buck-ninety-nine, which is always a major plus for brunch, especially at that price! If you love eggs benedict even as half as much as I do, head to Hollandaise Diner. Super reasonably priced for brunch in Toronto, a variety of hollandaise, and neighbourly service.
Go forth hollandaise addicts!
2231 Danforth Avenue (nearest subway is Woodbine) | Toronto, ON | (647) 344-7466
In my lifetime, the dull grey cinderblock building on the corner of Water and Becks Cove has been home to a bank and two restaurants sequestered to the dim ‘vaultish’ basement. Now, the Jeremys of Raymond’s have reestablished this downtown cornerstone with a modern yet verdant …
I haven’t done a review of Starving Artist even though I’ve been there many times, but to be honest, I know you’re all sick of hearing me talk about my love for Eggs Benedict. So for now, just a snappy paragraph or two to save face and make you wish it was Sunday again.
Starving Artist has three locations in Toronto: The original is at Landsdowne just above Bloor and blocked all the time; the College Street location is equally as cool, small, and busy, while their newest location on St.Clair West boasts a shiny new (and larger) space for hungry brunch-goers. They only sell waffle-based dishes and espresso. What else does one need?
On Saturday, my little sister Maggie who was visiting and her best friend Julia decided to meet at the College Street concession for waffles before a day of shopping. We waited in line for 40-minutes (or, I should say brunch-hero-forever Julia waited in line while the Peyton sisters slogged west via streetcar), but it was totally worth it. The Waffle Benny ($10) — Two delightfully buttery mini-waffles, almost-candied-sweet bacon, and poached eggs smothered in hollandaise (there was actually enough).
We all ordered it. We all loved it. Brunch perfection. Enough said.
810 College Street | Toronto, ON | (647) 348-1133 | starvingartistbar.com
This is utterly and truly a first world problem. But it happens, I just can’t help myself. I hate-hate-hate when someone order’s something more delicious than me at a restaurant — order envy strikes when I least expect it. Last Saturday, I met up with Kelly, …
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 …
Last weekend while I was home in St. John’s I was lucky enough to finally visit Mallard Cottage, the much anticipated restaurant that opened last summer in Quidi Vidi, a small fishing inlet nestled in the east end of the city. The facade of the restaurant is demure and nondescript, a typical cottage that would be seen in any outport of the island. Any unsuspecting mainlander would probably pass this place right by, but on weekends locals are thronging to Mallard Cottage to enjoy the brunch fare.
The girls and I headed down on Sunday morning for brunch, and we were all excited about our first visit to Mallard Cottage. Upon entering the warm and cozy entrance, we were greeted by a myriad of staff. Someone hung up our coats, someone took us to our table, and someone else got us coffee and tea right away; I felt at home immediately. Just a heads up: you will not get a table on Saturday or Sunday without a reservation, and you will be lucky to get a spot any other day of the week. This place is hot right now!
All in the details
Mallard Cottage was built in the 18th century and is one of the oldest wooden structures in North America. Owners Chef Todd Perrin and Stephen Lee have spent years restoring this place and turning it into the hottest new restaurant in Newfoundland. The inside of the restaurant is a beautiful showcase of their efforts. The exposed beams house jars of preserves, the large windows cast a lovely light into the open kitchen, and the wooden spoked chairs are traditional and comfortable.
Every detail of Mallard Cottage is a charming juxtaposition of comfort and high-end; the cappuccinos are delicious, while the sugar bowl is a broken china dish from your grandma’s cupboard. The cutlery is mismatched and the beautiful pottery dish ware solidifies the traditional roots of this place and is reminiscent of the building’s recent past as an antique shop. It is lovely.
The Brakey Special
We decided to share a few of the day’s offerings choosing from the charming handwritten menu that changes daily. The Brakey Special, an off menu option, was our first pick. The large plate of food (more than enough for two) honours the regular patron and local restauranteur Jason Brake. The piping hot skillet contained a plethora of brunch goodies: cranberry pancakes, fried eggs, beans, cod with the most delicious curry sauce, and a variety of breakfast meats. What a special indeed!
The Frittata was also scrumptious. The beets added a really interesting texture and a nice flavour to the dish. It was rich but light and fluffy at the same time, yum. I love how they used local ingredients like the beet (which is bottled by the truck load in Newfoundland) and showcase it in a unique way.
Usually when you go to brunch, the potatoes are always mediocre, a plate filler to accompany your breakfast sandwich or eggs. Not at Mallard Cottage, no sir. The potatoes are transcendent. They are crispy, hot, and just the perfect amount of greasy to satisfy the need on an early Sunday morning. The potatoes may have been my favourite part of the whole meal.
Speaking of breakfast sandwiches, the one at this place is great. The huge homemade biscuit is home to a perfectly fried egg, delicious back bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese. What more could you ask for in a breakfast sandwich? Nothing.
The famous Mallard Cottage Cake table
As if all of this awesome food wouldn’t fill you up, Mallard Cottage has the most delicious dessert option. By choosing the ‘Coffee & Cake‘ option off the chalkboard, patrons get a steaming cup of Anchored Coffee (yay Darmouth!) and a selection from the most delicious looking dessert table full of pastries! Wow!
The food at Mallard Cottage is local, fresh, and just plain delicious. The flavours are comforting and rich, and there is a lot of love on every plate. The service was impeccable; there is such attention to detail and the comfort of patrons that I know this restaurant will go far.
Being a Newfoundlander I couldn’t be more excited about this restaurant. Mallard Cottage is lovely: the decor, the food, and the people are all awesome. To me, this restaurant embodies traditional Newfoundland fare in the most progressive way. By embracing Newfoundland’s past, Mallard Cottage shines a bright light on the future of the culinary scene in St. John’s and it couldn’t be more delicious. Bravo.
Things Worth Mentioning…
Cost: For brunch for four people, including tons of food and numerous cappuccinos and tea, it was only $65 before tip – a great price for the amount and quality of the food.
Things I liked: The potatoes, the coffee, and the amazing service.
Things I didn’t: That there was no live music as there was rumoured to be for brunch, maybe next week?
Best Place to Sit: Sidle up to the bar to have a great view of the kitchen, or at a table by the window for a view of the hills.
What To Order Next Time: Dinner! I cannot wait to head back home to St. John’s for an evening meal at Mallard Cottage.
As if it hasn’t already been deliciously obvious to readers of The Food Girl in Town, I really love brunch. In fact, I have written numerous articles about my love for the midday delight, and discussed at length the rise in popularity of the filling …
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….