I’d heard a ton about this brunch spot on St. Laurent, but never visited Lawrence before last weekend. From word of mouth, I was expecting lots of Anglo hipsters, English breakfast (I had no idea what this was, but knew they served it), service with ‘tude and a looooong line. And, well… Not everything turned out that way.
First of all, to my pleasant surprise, there was no lineup! NONE. I got there at 10:45 am on Saturday and was greeted (nicely, I might add) right away. Unfortunately, I was only actually seated a half hour later because they wait for your entire party to arrive before assigning a table to you. I didn’t really care though. The sun was out, I had extra bounce in my step and was happy to relax in the sunny sitting area at the front and sip on the first of two fantastic lattes. I never drink two coffees, but these were worth the jitters. They had the perfect coffee to milk ratio and thick, creamy froth.
The décor is cozy, bright and modern with a retro twist. For example, the bathroom wallpaper features old 1800s style portraits in black & white and tiny, black tile flooring. Can you tell I’ve got my mind on decorating our soon-to-be new place? LOL… There is also a beautiful collage of thick white-framed pictures against a dark grey wall that I took a mental picture of for future reference.
Instead of the snobiness I was anticipating, our waiter was cheery and helpful. He took our order of doughnuts to share (what better way to start to brunch?), English Breakfast (finally, I’d get to see what it’s all about!), Baked Eggs, Celery Root and Oyster Mushrooms and Ham, Tomme and Fried Egg on Toast for me.
The doughnuts were absolutely fabulous! They are made to order, so they arrive hot and slightly crispy on the outside with a generous coating of sugar. The dough is slightly chewy and thick enough to sink your teeth into but leaving ample space in the centre for filling. The semi-sweet chocolate was perfectly melted and provided just enough bitter to counter the sweetness of it all. I’m not a big fan of custard, but this one was special. It was silky and had a slight citrus flavor to it – no egginess.
When I asked our waiter what Tomme was, he said it was a type of cheese that tastes like Morbier without the blue line in it. I loved it. I’ll probably buy some from the cheese shop next time I go to the market. It has a semi-soft paste and deep flavour. The dish was simple and rustic, a description fits the entire menu. My only problem with it was the very thick layer of fat around the ham… I generally like a little fat but after a few bites, I was feeling nauseous. I ended up deconstructing the sandwich and cutting off the fat, but the damage was done and I couldn’t stomach any more. Thank God for the crisp watercress salad! It cleansed my palate and, followed by some mint gum, got me back in shape.
There wasn’t much discussion about the food with my fellow brunchers that morning (it’s nice to take a break sometimes!), so unfortunately I can’t tell you about the other dishes. I can tell you however that English Breakfast bears a striking resemblance to Déjeuner du constructeur. Sounds so much more refined in English, doesn’t it?
The bottom line
The +: Lattes and doughnuts. And the surprising fact that there was no lineup at 11 a.m. on a sunny Saturday morning.
The -: I can’t say I was salivating after reading the menu… Some of the options seemed too heavy for what I wanted while others had me thinking I’d still be hungry after.
How much: Affordable. 3 doughnuts for $4.50, mains between 11 $ and 15 $.
Would I go back? Would require convincing… But maybe.