Round two in Toronto is coming to an end for Adam and I, but I feel like there’s a lot more to eat. After two years in this city, I’ve eaten out many times. Many times. The checklist on my iPhone is still growing and eating at …
Afternoon Tea has so much going for it. Where else do you get to indulge in copious amounts of tea, sweets, scones and Prosecco for hours on end? And who doesn’t love miniature sandwiches? No one, that’s who. The first afternoon tea was held by Anna, the …
I’m so freaking happy the first restaurant in the “up-and-coming” Canary District is finally open. Souk Tabule — the little sister of Toronto’s Middle Eastern restaurant mogul Tabule — is a fast-casual spot I fell in love with in a hurry. If you read my post about Halifax’s Lion & Bright a few years ago, you understand my affinity for places that are both cafes and bars.
I love a place where I can go have coffee and do work in the afternoon, until it’s time for dinner and drinks. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
Open since September, Souk Tabule is only a few minutes’ walk from my house, which basically means it’s becoming my second home. I know for a fact other work-from-home individuals who live in my building head there on a regular basis, thankful for a spot to work outside the confines of the Distillery. The hip space is bright and airy, with white washed walls, turquoise accents and modern metallic light fixtures. Saj pita is made on a large domed griddle right up front adjacent to the counter and there are antiques highlighting the nooks and crannies of the dining room.
Fast casual and casually cool
A more relaxed spot than its delicious predecessors, Souk Tabule presents a fast casual concept: you’ve got to order up front and the server will bring food and drinks to the table. Patrons can help themselves to both cold and tepid water on tap.
Souk Tabule lends itself to afternoon coffee dates as much as it does to dinner. You can hang out with friends over honey cardamon lattes ($4.75) or Lebanese coffee paired with saj pita oozing with labni and honey ($5). A myriad of cold drinks are also on offer, from craft sodas to Tabule’s signature fresh juices and ayran, a popular Middle Eastern drink made with yoghurt and salt (it tastes way better than it sounds). There’s a small assortment of craft beer and cider, three types of wine by the can, as well as Lebanese mimosas ($9) and Harissa Caesars ($12) for brunch.
Don’t mezza with me
You need not worry, owners Diana Sideris and Rony Goraichy haven’t forgotten about the regulars and their love of falafel. Souk offers most of Tabule’s bread and butter — or in this case falafel and labni — keeping customers crowding their restaurants. There’s hot and cold mezzas and beef shawarma, but new and exciting dishes are the showcase here. Try the Saj pita with za’aatar ($4.50) or a pulled chicken wrap ($9), making for great lunches on the go. There’s also an assortment of all-day brunch options like shakshuka ($11). The full souk ($14) is piled high with falalfel, labaneh, hard boiled egg, veggies and foule.
The first time Adam and I ate there we both ordered the plates: I went with the falafel plate ($11) and Adam the beef shawarma ($12). Both are served with rice, pickled turnip and cabbage salad. My falafel were smothered in tahini and the perfect amount of crispy on the outside.
Last week I went for lunch/working afternoon with my friend Erin. She ordered a few smaller items including Phoenician fries ($4.50) which are tossed in za’aatar and enhanced by a more-than-generous drizzle of tahini. I got the Beirut falafel in a wrap ($7). It was huge, came with a little pickled turnip salad, and was totally money well spent.
Want to take some classic Tabule flavours home with you? There’s takeout (which is popular apparently, as there are big paper bags flying out of there every time I visit), and a market stocked with housemade spice-cupboard essentials like za’aatar, and tea blends with ripe cherries and rose petals.
You should go eat/drink/hangout at Souk Tabule. You’ll probably see me there.
494 Front Street East | 416-583-5914 | tabule.ca (online menu coming soon)
Last night at the Taste Canada Awards Gala, Seema Jethalal, Regional Director of General Ontario at Canadian Heritage, said: “Food is at the heart of Canadian heritage.” I couldn’t agree more! In its 19th year, Taste Canada honours the best culinary writers in Canada and once …
Growing up in Newfoundland there was a very small Jewish community, and my years in Halifax were spent eating at a pseudo-Jewish deli serving mediocre matzoh ball soup. Needless to say, I don’t know much about Jewish culinary culture. So, when I was invited to attend …
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