Town Crier's Liz Campbell takes a seat and a bite at a Leslieville cafe
When did Leslieville become Brunch Central?
I’ve never seen so many spots featuring breakfast and brunch in a matter of a few blocks. The good news is that the line-ups at one spot needn’t deter one from finding another, which is how we stumble onto Sophie, Mon P’tit Café.
We’ve no sooner been seated than the mother at the table next to us, takes her toddler by the hand and informs the restaurant at large of her intentions, “C’mon honey, let’s go pee!”
Yup, this is definitely a family spot.
The coffee, however, is definitely adult strength and comes with a jug of cream – not those ridiculous little plastic containers ($2).
It’s strong and the aroma will knock your socks off. We’re off to a great start.
The menu offers all the usual breakfast and lunch options: scrambled eggs on a St. Urbain bagel, waffles with fresh fruit (at the next table, these look yummy), chicken and roasted vegetables with pesto sandwich in olive boule, ratatouille and what appears to be one of their signatures – quiche.
After a quick perusal of the menu and specials board, my guest asks for one of several quiches of the day – smoked salmon and asparagus ($5.95) and a salad ($2.95).
I choose the day’s frittata – roasted vegetables with goat cheese – which comes with a salad ($9.95).
The waitress appears with my frittata and apologies to my guest – the quiche “got dropped” in the kitchen and it was the last slice of smoked salmon and asparagus.
Could he choose another? The others included broccoli and Swiss cheese; arugula, black olives and goat cheese; and his second choice – cauliflower, caramelized onions and Swiss cheese.
I am halfway through my brunch before it appears. However, I suppose some eateries might have dusted off the first one and served it. Full marks for honesty!
My frittata is fat and fluffy, the eggs perfectly cooked. But alas, there aren’t as many roasted vegetables as I might have expected.
There is plenty of chevre but only a few diced eggplant, zucchini and peppers repose in the centre; I would have appreciated a more lavish serving of veggies, especially as these are really beautifully roasted.
The salad of leaf lettuce and grape tomatoes is excellent, its dressing light enough not to overpower the eggs.
My guest’s quiche is likewise light and tasty. Perhaps because of the problem and subsequent attempt to heat and serve it as quickly as possible, it isn’t as hot as he would like in the centre, but he pronounces it, “Delicious!”
The blend of cauliflower and caramelized onions scrumptious and it isn’t long before he has forgiven the loss of his first choice.
By the time we’re done, it’s past noon, so officially we can treat this as lunch, we decide, and have dessert! The tart of the day is maple so we order this ($4.95).
It arrives on a plate – a wedge of pale brown tart without garnish of any kind. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by restaurants who take presentation to the next level, but even a berry would have offered some contrast on the plate.
But looks aren’t everything. The tart is delectable – rich in maple flavour but not devastatingly sweet like Quebec tarte au sucre. And the pastry is light enough to flake on the fork.
Once more, all is forgiven.
Like the presentations on the plate, Sophie is minimalist in decor – the tables are bare but the cups are colourfully orange, yellow, and blue.
The refrigerated case at the counter is enough to tempt the most determined dieter. And this is undoubtedly a great spot for a light lunch or brunch.
The business card quotes Curmonsky, “Good cooking is when things taste of what they are.”
I couldn’t have said it better.
Sophie, Mon P’tit Café, 889 Queen St. East (near Logan), 416-461-0505.
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