I used to visit Toronto pretty often to see my grandparents or catch up with my good friend, Silly Sally. But ever since she chased her dreams and moved to New York City, my trips to Toronto have simmered down. There are thousands of restaurants out there and I’m not sure if I’ll ever try them all. It’s so hard to pick a restaurant to dine at because both Sally and I cannot make fast decisions. It usually takes us a couple of days to research and decide on a place to stuff our faces. She was back in the city, so of course we met up for brunch. We booked a reservation since Torontonians LOVE their brunch and most places are insanely packed.
The restaurant is in the beautiful Roncesvalles neighbourhood and it’s also across from La Cubana. Inside, you’ll find white walls, a brick wall behind the bar, vintage furnishings and a casual yet classy vibe. It had a down-to-earth atmosphere with a touch of sophistication – a perfect place to catch up and have a nice meal. The space is intimate but not crowded, something like a French bistro. Natural lighting floods the front dining area while mood lighting is set at the back. A long bar lines the left wall with a mix of ornate and modern chandeliers, and a marble counter top. The colour palette consists of whites, blacks, and dark browns. I admire the atmosphere they’ve created for the space but I admire their food even more.
Sally and I have an understanding when it comes to ordering food. We never order the same dish. Why? Because we want to explore the menu and try as many dishes as we can! I was eyeing the Montreal Smoked Brisket Hash ($14) even before I walked into the restaurant. Surprisingly, Sally wanted that too! So I scanned over the menu and went with the Gravlax Latkes ($13). Our plates came out at a reasonable time, I think. We had so much to talk about, time just flew by.
We split out plates and we still ended up taking home leftovers. The Montreal Smoked Brisket Hash consisted of brisket bits, cubes of potatoes, mushrooms, caramelized onions, jus, hollandaise, two poached eggs, and toast. It was a savoury and hardy hash. The brisket bits were full of flavour and the vegetables soaked up the delicious juices. It was such a satisfying brunch dish with eggs and everything.
Not knowing what latkes were, I just took a chance with this one because our waiter said it’s topped with salmon. To be honest, I also had no idea what gravlax was too. I thought it was just smoked salmon but there’s a difference! Gravlax is raw salmon cured with salt, sugar, and dill and latkes are potatoes pancakes. When my plate arrived, my face probably lit up like a kid seeing a massive birthday cake. The latkes were perfectly browned, thick, and pudgy. They also sat beside a fresh salad tossed in a light vinaigrette. Having the salmon and latkes in my mouth was so exciting, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes back and sighing, “mmmmmmmmmmmm”. The potatoes pancakes were slightly crunchy and seasoned nicely with a bit of a bite. I couldn’t tell what was in the seasoning but all I know is that it was magnificent and memorable. Maybe there were green onions and garlic in there somewhere. The cured salmon added a good punch in flavour and texture, and the dill creme fraiche brought everything together. Oh man, I can’t stop thinking about how great our meal was.
The staff were fantastic as well. They checked on us at the right times and refilled our drinks quietly and quickly. Our brunch experience was calm and insanely delicious. Everything flowed really well in the restaurant and we left in a great mood. I’ll definitely come back to check out the other items on the menu. It’s an awesome little restaurant for an intimate dinner with family and friends, you’d love the atmosphere and the food.