We had an opportunity this past Thanksgiving weekend to visit the cute new breakfast and lunch bistro, Le Brunch Café. Open since the spring, this small spot offers breakfast and lunch a few days a week out of the former Breakfast Nook location on Selby Street.
When we arrived, we instantly knew this was not going to be a redux of the Nook. The owners of Le Brunch Café have put a ton of effort into updating the restaurant. The kitchen has been completely renovated and is clean and open, and the dining area has been updated with all new colourful décor and furnishings.
We were welcomed quite warmly when we arrived and luckily did not have to wait for a table. The café is extremely small, so is likely not a good choice for groups of more than four. Even with a small group, consider calling ahead to have a table held.
The food menu is something special. There are a number of breakfast options including a few staples like avocado toast, French toast, and bennies. Vegetarians will find plenty to choose from. You can also order high tea if you’re feeling bougie. Each menu item was creative, and there was clearly a Quebecer/French influence on a number of dishes. For example, the breakfast special that day was a turkey tourtière benny, which was impossible for us to resist.
We ordered a couple of coffees to start us off. For breakfast for him, the aforementioned benny, which came with an apple/cranberry ketchup and a slaw with fennel. For her, the sunrise sandwich, which was a vegetable frittata served on homemade focaccia. This came with a soup or salad option, and we chose the potato and leek soup of the day.
The benny was something special. Attractively presented in its own tiny cast iron pan, the savoury meat pie was topped with a perfectly poached egg, the most umami mushroom gravy, and some sprouts for visual appeal. What a delicious and hearty start to the day. We’re not big slaw fans, but the orange and fennel salad was a good counterpoint to the rich main and served as a palate brightener after the richness of the tourtière.
The frittata sandwich (pictured up above) was also delicious. The focaccia was just right, herby with pleasant sponginess, and the frittata was loaded with veg. The soup was great, with lots of flavour and not too much salt. (Man there are good soups in this town!)
The service we received was excellent, although a quick look online tells us that it was the owners themselves serving that day. One of the challenges the café will have as it becomes successful (and it will) will be to maintain the big smiles and welcoming atmosphere if and when the owners start to reduce their involvement. Time will tell on that one.
The total for our coffees and breakfasts, including taxes and a modest tip, was $61. We consider this fair value. $30 each for breakfast likely puts this into special occasion territory for many. That said, the inventive menu, quality ingredients, great service, and intimate dining make the price worthwhile.
We liked our visit to Le Brunch Café. The owners have really put in a lot of effort to upgrading the dining experience compared to what was there before and the result is something completely new and appealing, and shows a lot of love. This is what you want. You want a quality gastro breakfast, served by some genuine fellas, in the heart of the old city, and you want it at nine a.m. on a Sunday. Next time skip the box restaurant and instead go check them out (maybe call ahead first). Well see you there!