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Category Archives: Brunch

SO Much Tequila, Thanks NAFTA! An Intimate Review of Anejo, Calgary’s Newest Mexican Restaurant

Summary: An upscale casual Mexican-themed restaurant in Mission serving up delicious food along side Canada’s largest tequila menu. Prepare to be impressed.

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When I heard the newest kid on the restaurant block was a Mexican-themed restaurant from the owners of The Living Room, I was immediately intrigued. Calgary doesn’t have too many (good) Mexican restaurants in the first place, much less upscale casual ones, so I had to check it out. And it was worth it.

DSC01496Kent and I showed up on a bustling Friday night (Richard bitched out at a work xmas party) to their newly opened Mission location. Even though it was miserable weather, it was pretty hard to miss the only restaurant on the street, nay Calgary, with a huge flower-adorned skull next to the restaurant name.

We had to line up for about 10-15 min. before getting seated as the place was packed, but the restaurant has a pretty wide indoor "staging area" so you don’t have to freeze your ass off in winter. The restaurant itself was a Anejo,  Mission, Calgary, Mexicobit too dimly lit for my liking but maybe they are going for the lounge effect. The wall immediately to the right is adorned with Mexican artwork and the wall on the far back with all kinds of awesome tequila. Overall, the feeling is that of an upscale restaurant for a classy dinner date or a lounge where you can hang out with your mates and get trashed on expensive tequila. Either way, it works.

Kent & I decided to start off with the guacamole and tortilla chips while figuring out what to order from Anejo’s extensive tequila menu, which according to the server, is the largest in Canada (that’s when you know you have kinda made it as a city). The food menu, which was quite extensive, offers a more contemporary twist on traditional Mexican cuisines while still retaining some of the authentic flavours and customs. For instance, the guacamole was served in a lava-rock mortar and prepared table-side as we were watching. It’s also got the only restaurant in Calgary (maybe Western Canada?) that serves cactus in a salad. Awesome.

Anejo, Mexican, Mission, CalgaryWhile waiting for our appetizer, we went through the pretty massive tequila menu. For those who don’t know much about tequila other than the Jose Cuervo crap you shot as a university student, there’s five distinct types: blanco,  joven, reposado, and anejo. Blanco is the clear tequila that most people are familiar with; joven is a mixture of blanco and reposado,  reposado is any tequila that’s been aged for a minimum of 2 months, but less than 12 months in any oak barrel; and anejo is tequila that has been aged for a minimum of one year, but maximum of three in small oak barrels. There’s also the extra-anejo which is aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels, but that tends to be not as common…and way more expensive.

Anejo, Mexican, Living Room, Mission, Calgary The guac is the best we have ever eaten. Made fresh at the table in a lava-rock mortar, the only way to top this is for the staff to fly you to an avocado farm and hand feed it to you. Its fresh.  Never has there been guacamole this good in Calgary – flavoured with nothing but serrano/jalapeno salt, onions, and tomatoes, and lime juice, this was nothing if not finger-licking good. Seriously. I was literally scraping the last bits of guacamole in the mortar with my finger and licking it dry – it was that good! My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough dip for the amount of chips given.

Kiran’s Judgement

Anejo, Tequila, Reposado, Blanco, Mission, Calgary, MexicanAnejo offers three 1 oz. drink flights. I ordered a "Vertical Flight" which means I got to sample one type of tequila (resposado) from three different distilleries (Asombroso, Excellia, and Baluarte). The cost of a flight is the total of each drink minus a $4 discount, so depending on the drinks in your flight, it can get expensive pretty quick.

I loved my flights. My favourite was definitely the Excellia which had a hint of sweetness and went down real smooth. My palate isn’t developed enough to pick up other aromas and flavours, but I am working on it (while writing this article ;D). It’s too bad Excellia isn’t sold at my local Co-op otherwise I would have bought it by now!

For the main course, I went with veggie tacos and chills rellenos. The former came with six, SIX different types of salsas and hot sauces. I was too wasted by the time the food came out to remember the names…all I remember is I couldn’t have enough of the hot sauces and the salsas. I rolled my eyes when the server was emphatic about the salsas packing a punch, but I take it back. I was pretty impressed by the amount of heat AND flavour each salsa or hot sauce packed. If that wasn’t enough, Anejo’s Executive Chef also has a house GHOST PEPPER hot sauce which I was super-impressed with – it wasn’t crazy hot like the store-bought ones and at the same time, packed lots of flavour. Hats off, sir.

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The chills rellenos was also pretty fantastic. I have never had one with rice before, so it was an interesting take on it. The rice had too much bite for my liking, but apart from that, it was a tasty and well-made dish. I have now had chills rellenos from every Mexican restaurant I have been too, and this one, IMHO, is the best out there. Well done.

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Kent’s 2 Cents

I’m not much of a tequila drinker and was hesitant to try their high-end selection. I tried the "Horizontal Flight" where I got to try blanco, reposado, and anejo varieties from one distillery (Centinella). Although I couldn’t tell much of a difference between reposado and anejo, I can definitely confirm that its better tasting than the nightclub tequila shots, which I’m pretty sure is just low-octane gasoline. I’m moving up in the world.

I was very impressed with the selection of sauces for the tacos – all made in house and there was something for everyone. A few forgiving ones, but mostly very hot and enjoyable. The ghost pepper sauce was incredibly spicy, but in a way that still had flavor and didn’t burn your digestive tract.

The tequila mac & cheese came out in a very large portion. I unfortunately was not hungry anymore after having the guacamole and tacos. The cheese was rich and creamy, but it was a bit salty for my taste. The panko sprinkled on the top was a nice touch, I think it should be used on everything. I wanted to finish it, but just couldn’t by this point.

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Summary

I think I have my new favourite restaurant in town. From classy drinks to good comfort food, Anejo has it all. Even though it was a packed house, the service was top notch and on par with the food. The fact that they are doing something different from other typical ethnic eateries always excites me. Anejo is going to do to Mexican what Mango Shiva did to Indian – upscale, trendy, and the place to be. A definite must-see!

-Kiran

RANKING

Kiran

Kent

Ambiance 4/5 5/5
Service 5/5 4.5/5
Taste 4.5/5 4.5/5
Originality 4/5 4.5/5
Value 3.5/5 3.5/5
TOTAL 21/25 = 84% 22/25 = 88%

Anejo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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No Monkeying Around – A Review Of MONKI Breakfast Club & Bistro

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There’s no such thing as too many brunch places. You can say that about pizzerias. You can say that about schwarma joints. And you can say that about Vietnamese restaurants, but most people would universally agree that there is no such thing as too many brunch places. At least in Calgary anyways.

So A. and I woke up early one Saturday morning to check out the newest kid on the brunch block – Monki Bistro. They are located just opposite off the Community Natural Foods and occupy a pretty cozy spot at the corner of 10th Ave and 12th St SW. We got there at 10ish and it was already packed, but luckily for us, there was room at the kitchen counter which was fine by me as I love open-concept kitchens that open up to the entire restaurant – it’s like getting a front row seat to your favourite band. We got there in good time too, cause as soon as we were seated, a huge line-up started, most of whom didn’t get seated until we left…two hours later.

"Cozy" would be an understatement when describing this place. I don’t think I have ever been to a tinier restaurant. Shit-hole Korean restaurant Don Day, by comparison, is palatial. Nonetheless, the cozy atmosphere coupled with primate-art adorning walls and large windows that let in plenty of natural light gave this place a kind of a "happening" buzz. Not quite the same happening vibe you get from OEB or Una, but somewhere halfway in between. It’s getting there.

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One of the main reasons I wanted to check out Monki was for their Banana and Frangelico cream cheese-stuffed French toast topped with Nutella and condensed milk (yes, you read that right). Who wouldn’t want to try that? However, I don’t like sweet breakfast options, so I convinced A. to order it (with empty promises of sharing my order) whereas I went with a burrata, vine ripe tomato, arugula, pesto olive oil  & balsamic panini. As soon as the server left, an absolutely mouth-watering eggs benedict dish of some sort went past us, making me instantly regret my order. Oh well, I guess I have an excuse to go back again.

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The dishes were well plated, but the stuffed French toast in particular looked like a thick piece of steak. I don’t know if others would find that comparison tasty, but that’s the first thing that came to my mind. Interestingly, based on what my eyes saw and what I had read about that dish, my mind was expecting something super-rich and sweet. However, kinda like eating dark chocolate, my taste buds were deceived and disappointed. It’s a bit of a mind-fuck, but a delicious, well-balanced piece of mind-fuck. Otherwise, you would have a hard time finishing the dish. Eating a whole jar of Nutella sounds delicious, until about your 10th spoonful. After that, you are just shitting out Nutella. A thick, gooey, dark-brown Nutella.

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Next up was the panini and this dish definitely grew on me so much so that I really enjoyed it by the last bite. The panini was a much mellower and earthier dish compared to the stuffed French-toast. Furthermore, I made the mistake of eating the side salad that came with a balsamic dressing. The latter was way too overpowering for the panini. The panini was pretty much toast after the first bite of salad – all I tasted was the texture of the bread and cheese. However, the panini gradually began replacing the taste of the balsamic vinaigrette towards the end and I really started enjoying the earthy taste of the cheese, arugula, and pesto.

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The food was good and delicious, but it lacked the "wow" factor for some reason. A. made the very insightful observation that the dishes weren’t balanced properly. So, for instance, the stuffed French-toast was delicious, but it was too much of a good thing. It could have used some hash browns or toast on the side. Same with the panini – the balsamic vinaigrette was simply too overwhelming thus upsetting the balance of the dish. If Monki gets this balance right, my gut feel is that it will become a solid hit.

When you show up to a new restaurant with a camera, the staff pay attention, no matter how inconspicuous you try to be. The main chef chatted me up during a brief lull and we got talking. Monki is run by a pair of chefs/owners/brothers who previously used to run the Italian-joint Gnocchi’s Ristorante (which has a 90% "Like" rating on UrbanSpoon.com). Apparently, one of their reasons for wanting to start a bistro was having a more stable 9-5 pm schedule in addition to cooking a different type and style of food. It also explains the heavily Italian-influenced menu.

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One major thing to note: it took us two hours from time we got seated to when we got out. Unfortunately, the food did take a while to come out. The kitchen was working pretty deftly, but they are still working out their timings and rhythm, especially in that tiny, tiny kitchen (think food truck tiny). Typically, in most brunch places, the line-ups are much longer than how long it takes the food to come out, but either way, you are looking at around 1.5-2 hours before you have paid your bill and are on your way out. Monki is no different, except here, the food takes much longer to come out.DSC00707

No one’s really heard about Monki yet, but I suspect as the word of mouth spreads and they get even busier, they will have to do a better job with getting the food out faster. Also, like most brunch places, you have to wait in line again at the end of your meal to pay before you are on your way out. This is extremely frustrating, but only Vendome has managed to find a solution for this. Either way, I am definitely looking forward to going back there to try their eggs benedict.

Ranking

Ambiance 4/5
Service 4/5
Originality 4/5
Taste 3.5/5
Value 3/5
TOTAL 19.5/25 = 76%

Until next time. PO, b.

-Kiran

MONKI Breakfastclub & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Review of ABC Restaurant (HK-style breakfast & brunch)

Summary: A cheap, quick, efficient restaurant in Chinatown that will satisfy your hunger without breaking your bank account

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I randomly stumbled upon ABC on Urbanspoon.com and was instantly enamoured by it;s apparently HK-style breakfast & brunch theme. Any place that serves instant noodles for breakfast gets instantly booted to the top of my priority list.

We got there on a busy Sunday morning in Chinatown to find this pretty packed place . I didn’t have to hang around too long before being seated. It felt a bit awkward initially being the only unshaven brown guy in a Chinese restaurant, but in general, no one stared too much – now I know how white people feel in ethnic restaurants…haha.

Service was pretty quick and efficient. To avoid confusion, you write your order down on a piece of paper a la sushi restaurants. Every order comes with a choice of two toppings. A hot drink is included in the total price; you pay an extra $1 if you want to upgrade to a cold drink. James and I ended up getting the Yin and Yang which is a 50/50 combo of coffee and tea:

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I have never had a coffee/tea mix before so was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. There was some definite hints of chicory (roasted endive roots) as far as I could tell, as that’s what Indian coffee tastes like. My parents pooh-pooh any coffee without chicory as that is what most coffee grinds in India are cut with. This is pure irony cause originally chicory was added to make up for the coffee shortage during the French Civil War – it was found to add body and flavour to the coffee.

Food wise, there weren’t too many vegetarian options (as expected) so I went with the instant noodles in a spicy szechuan soup base with mushrooms. The noodle soup looked pretty enticing with the veggies, noodles, spices, and oil all floating in a delicious turmeric-tinged harmony:

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Alas, the noodle soup wasn’t as flavourful as I would have liked it or expected it to be. I had to top it up with sambal and salt to bring more “oompf” to the the dish. I would expect a szechuan soup base to have packed more flavour and oompf.

I also got congee for no real reason except that I felt like having some and it was $2.95. It’s tough being a high-roller with so many options in front of you:

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The congee, although really plain (there were no options for vegetarian toppings), was actually pretty delicious. It was the right texture, consistency and saltiness. And for $2.95, it was large enough to fill an entire developing nation…so pretty good value for your money.

James decided to get the Malaysian-style Beef Brisket Curry, which was a simple dish cooked in authentic Malaysian style.

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Like my own dishes, ABC didn’t skimp out on the portion sizes or the meat. He also found it less spicier than the one he had in Singapore, and even though it was a bit on the oilier side, all the spices were well balanced and the meat was tender and moist. His only complaint was that it was on the pricier side for Chinatown. At first, I found this comment odd, but then I realized James is brown, so anything > $0 is “a bit on the pricey-side” for him…hahahaha

I was pretty disappointed though with the lack of HK-style buns or toast. That was the one thing I was looking forward to after reading about it over at For the Love Of. Maybe I didn’t know how to order, but it seems like a lot of menu items that For the Love Of or Elsie Hui talked about are no longer offered. I confirmed this with our server who mentioned that the menu had changed from the previous iteration a while ago. It appears that there has been a change in ownership, and with that, some of the more HK-themed items are no longer available.

Summary

Although ABC didn’t quite have all the items I was looking for, it was nonetheless a cost-efficient and quick meal. With the change in ownership, I don’t think it’s quite the beloved restaurant it used to be and doesn’t offer the baked goods that it was known for. Other than that, it was a pretty decent meal for the price paid!

Ranking

Kiran

Ambiance 3.5/5
Service 4.5/5
Taste 3/5
Originality 3/5
Value 5/5
TOTAL 19/25 = 76%

ABC Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

[Hidden Gems] Vendome Cafe: Not Your Average Hipster Breakfast

Summary: Situated in the historic Vendome Block in Sunnyside, this deceptively spacious cafe is a visual feast on the inside and the outside. Oh, and the food is fucking delicious too.

The past two months have been a process of “discovering” some of the best hidden gems Calgary has to offer. Whilst Vendome might not necessarily be unknown, it is definitely “hidden.” For one, when I showed up at 10 am to meet Shane and his soon bride-to-be, Tara, there was hardly a line-up. We were through ordering our food within 7 min. of getting there and were seated within 10 min. This was refreshing compared to the epic wait times one experiences at the more well-known joints in Bridgeland like OEB, Blue Star, or Diner Deluxe that are over-crowded with dirty hipsters. It could also be that we went on the May-long weekend, but I am choosing to believe otherwise.

Walking in, you are immediately greeted with a long spacious hallway that serves as the kitchen and the ordering area. There’s also tons of space to line up so you aren’t standing out in the cold if it is a busy weekend. The large blackboard is neatly broken down into four different categories depending on the mood you are in. You pay for your food right after ordering, which is brilliant, cause then you aren’t stuck in another line after your meal or waiting for your extremely busy server to take payment.

The exterior of the building was restored to its historic appearance in 1989 and I loved the contrast between the old and the new. It is also much more spacious than it looks from outside. There wasn’t a table for 4 in the main hallway, but there was plenty of room around the corner with a table for 4 just waiting for us. This section of the cafe was even cooler as it had the look and feel of a contemporary modern art gallery with large mirrors and paintings on the white facade. There was also plenty of natural light let in by the large windows that further enhanced the bright and airy feel of the place. I later found out that Teatro and Vendome have the same management and that this wing was added at a later stage – which helps explain the “contemporary” feel to this side of the cafe.

I ordered the vegetarian eggs benny which came on a toasted ciabatta (or sourdough, I can’t remember) bun with olives, red peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes, served with a side of home-style potatoes. The presentation was absolutely gorgeous, and if we still had the “Plating” category, this would have gotten 4.5/5.

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I also ordered an additional side of toast that came with mango chutney:

Shane ordered the gorgeous-looking French toast with caramelized bananas and cream:

And Tara ordered eggs sunny side up:

To say that I was blown away with the first bite I took would be an understatement. The combination of the roasted veggies with the hollandaise sauce and eggs was mind-blowing. I love it when all the flavours come together in your mouth to create this indescribable (for me anyways) cornucopia of tastes and flavours. Amazing. The hollandaise sauce was light and airy, but I could have used a bit more tang: it wasn’t necessarily as memorable on its own. The home-style fries, however, didn’t deliver the same impact as the main dish. While not bad, there was nothing really memorable about them that stuck in my head.

The side of toast with mango chutney was interesting. It was sweet yet tangy and reminded of mango nectar boiled down to a thicker consistency. I didn’t ask Shane and Tara to type up what they thought of their food, but I am pretty sure they enjoyed their food just as much as I did.

Summary

I had a great time at Vendome. Of all the breakfast/brunch places I have checked out, this my favourite of them all. You can’t beat/find ambiance like this elsewhere in Calgary and the combination of delicious food and quick service put it ahead of the rest of the pack. A definite MUST try!

Ranking

Kiran

Ambiance 5/5
Service 4.5/5
Taste 4/5
Originality 4.5/5
Value 4/5
Overall 22/25 = 88%

Vendome Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chasing Free-range Chickens at Over Easy Breakfast

Summary: if you can suffer through the wait times, OEB is worth the long line-up and chaotic billing system.

I don’t really understand why Bridgeland is turning into a mecca for breakfast/brunch joints, but every other week I find myself in another long line-up waiting for (what I hope to be) a delicious start to my weekend. As such, I ended up finding myself in Bridgeland once again on a sunny Sunday with Richard.

The insides are pretty tiny and it shows. It was bustling by the time we got to OEB. There isn’t enough room for patrons to line up near the entrance, so we were split up into two groups: one that just got there and the other for those who got there 15 min earlier than you…at the other end of the restaurant by the kitchen.

I really liked the ambiance of the place. Unfortunately, due to a technical snafu, I seem to have accidentally deleted all my photos, so a written description is the best we can do. There’s a very “cafe” vibe to OEB, with large floor-to-ceiling windows facing the street that let plenty of natural light in. There’s a large centre table to share between multiple parties and side tables for those lucky enough to have come early. The kitchen is partially exposed to the seating area so you can kinda see what the cooks are up to…which is always pretty cool in my opinion.

Kiran’s 2 Cents

The coolest thing for me is the fact that OEB’s eggs from free range chickens that they own on the Sparks egg farm (I couldn’t help but think of this sketch when I heard that –Richard). With that in mind, I got the eggs over easy on a toasted bagel with cherry tomatoes and avocado. I also got home-style fries on the side to carbo-load my busy day consisting of sitting on the couch watching TV.

The fries were the highlight of my dish. Perfectly salted and herbed with oregano, I can honestly say these were the best tasting fries I have had in a while. The guacamole was clearly made from fresh avocados and had a great citrus-y tang. Adding a little bit of hot sauce to the whole ensemble really brought out the flavours.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t really taste any difference between OEB’s free-run, grain-fed eggs vs. regular store bought organic eggs. I suppose they are one and the same thing though.

My only problem with the whole experience was the payment process. For some strange reason, OEB doesn’t believe in wireless payment terminals that have become ubiquitous in every restaurant around town. Instead, you have to pay at the counter where there’s an overflow of people a) waiting to be seated, b) waiting in line to pay, and c) trying to get to the washrooms through a) and b). This whole process pissed me off, especially cause it doesn’t need to be that way. All the proprietor needs to do is build a heated overflow area outside and the problem would be solved (though to be honest, the sidewalk out front is pretty tiny too –Richard).

Richard’s Ruminations

Between Diner Deluxe, Blue Star and Over Easy (or the OEB as they seem to want to be branded as now), Bridgeland is surely the mecca for hipster breakfasts in Calgary.  Waiting times at all of these places are almost guaranteed to top an hour during peak times on weekends these days, so be sure to show up early and put your name on the waiting list!  Despite the cramped interior, waiting isn’t really that bad at OEB – you can get your coffee along with complimentary banana bread to munch on while you wait.  I agree with Kiran that they probably shouldn’t direct people to wait at the back though, as not only is that the cashier’s area, but that’s also where the “condiment bar” is located.  Not a bad place to hang out if you want to get cozy with some strangers, though!

I too liked the clean, simple interior with retro styling, though I wonder if they ever change the “menu” that seems to be scrawled in chalk on the roof.  They manage to squeeze around 10 tables into the place, along with what I like to call the “community bench.”  The staff was super-friendly, which definitely brightened my morning.  Oh yeah, the place is also fully licenced, which means you can order your coffee liquored up or try their very limited selection of beer and wine.

The menu is pretty straightforward, though with a nice amount of customization – pancakes, french toast, and waffles are fully interchangeable!  I went with the threesome of waffles, thinly-sliced ham and their much-touted eggs (ordered over-medium, which is the best way to identify a quality short-order cook in my opinion).  The waitress was eager to point out that the eggs are enhanced with keratin supplements, though amusingly she didn’t know exactly what that meant (we could hear the wait staff talking to the kitchen staff about it later).  No doubt though, the eggs are a thing of beauty, with extremely rich, brightly-colour yolks.  The waffles and ham were decent, but nothing mindblowing.

Prices are comparable to the other breakfast places in Bridgeland – that is to say, not that cheap, but you can probably get your money’s worth in free banana bread if you are feeling especially avaricious.  Between the cheery atmosphere, stellar service and quality food, I think it’s well worth both the price and the wait!

Summary

I had a good time at OEB. If you discount the horrible payment ordeal, the friendly staff, the trust-fund hipster ambiance, and the great food more than make up for the wait times. I would highly encourage everyone to check it out…with one caveat: get there early! If you want to read up on other reviews on OEB, check out Eat Your City’s review.

Ranking

Kiran Richard
Ambiance 4/5 4/5
Service 3.5/5 4.5/5
Taste 4/5 4/5
Originality 4/5 4/5
Value 4/5 4.5/5
Overall 19.5/25 = 78% 21/25 = 84%

OEB Breakfast Co. on Urbanspoon

Review of Jacqueline Suzanne’s Weekend Brunch

Summary: a mediocre brunch experience that left me wanting for more.

IMG-20111217-00054I love Inglewood, especially all the boutique restaurants, art galleries, and stores that have opened up in that area of the last 2-3 years. I always knew Inglewood was cool, but it wasn’t until my field assignment – where I would rotate in and out of Calgary on a two on, two off basis – that I truly got to explore one of our oldest neighbourhoods. Having finally gotten the chance to explore that community in greater depth, I “discovered” all the cool restaurants like Nectar (now Without Papers), Sugo, Bite Groceteria, and of course, the subject of the current blog post, Jacqueline Suzanne’s.

I had managed to secure a brunch-for-two groupon a couple of months ago, so figured a lazy Saturday morning after the company Christmas party would be a great time to check out Jacqueline Suzanne’s brunch offerings. The usual deal is a three course brunch for $25 that you can get anytime, but in this case, the offer was $25 brunch for two people.

IMG-20111217-00055JS is a bistro, but the ambiance inside is quite different from all the bistros I have been to in my life. Most bistros have a light and airy feel, with plenty of windows to let natural light in. However, JS was quite dark; the interior is perhaps more suited to a romantic evening dinner than a weekend brunch. It was a cloudy but bright day outside, so the contrast was even more jarring. Honestly, I personally felt that I had inadvertently walked into a gypsy fortune teller’s lair. My gf better described it as “charmingly antiquated”…

Nevertheless, we were here for the food, not the ambiance. Although we didn’t have any reservations, we were seated pretty quickly and without much fuss. As we had a groupon, we had to choose from a pre-set three course breakfast menu. M. and I got the “Breakfast Martini” for our first “course”, which ended up being a delicious choice. I am a big fan of boozy starts to the day…something I picked up in NYC this year where bottomless mimosas seem to be de rigeur during weekend brunch.

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We then headed straight to the main course, which consisted of typical fair such as eggs benny, crepes and/or French toast. Our server seemed pretty new/inexperienced, so he had a hard time time with the menu – he either didn’t know or wasn’t sure about what was in the dishes. We just ended up ordering the vegetarian eggs benedict with hash-browns on the side. Our plates came out without much delay and looked pretty tantalizing. I have never eaten eggs benny before, esp with Hollandaise sauce, so I was looking forward to it.

The dish was adequately plated. It also tasted quite adequate; to be honest, I don’t remember much about it. It came with a slice of watermelon, which in retrospect, was out of place and AND season. All in all, it was tasty, but nothing overtly memorable.

At about this time, the place began started filling up rapidly, and subsequently, the service level started dropping rapidly. After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time, I finally managed to wave down our server to ask about their dessert offerings. M. got crème brulee and whereas I went with a chocolate cheesecake. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos in my excitement as this was probably the best tasting part of the meal. It was positively heavenly. I had a taste of M’s brulee: silky, smooth, and just the right amount of sweetness. The cheesecake was also pretty delicious, but once again, unmemorable.  

At right about this time, we made the executive decision to pay our bill and get the hell out as we didn’t want to get stuck at brunch rush. I had to pay $10 for both our coffees in addition to the groupon – I guess that’s pretty standard nowadays for unlimited refills. It just hurts when it’s mediocre coffee.

Summary

I had been meaning to check out JS for a long time but was left a bit disappointed. I had had high hopes for this place but was left unsatisfied, especially with the food. It was a pretty great deal IF you had a groupon, but otherwise, $50 for brunch for two is a bit pricey in my opinion. To be fair, the ambiance and decor is a personal preference, so you can’t really fault them for that. F-log-for-thought, for instance, really seemed to have enjoyed and appreciated the space as well as the food. Anh Chu, over at icameforthefood.com seemed to have similar thoughts as myself regarding the food, although she was more apologetic in her tone for having knocked on a local, independent restaurant. Vincci over at Ceci nést pas un food blog has much better photos than my shitty smartphone ones and a much more intelligent critique of the eggs benny. At the end of the day though, the proof is in the pudding, and in this case, the pudding was only mediocre at best…

The only caveat is that my opinion is relegated to the brunch menu – the lunch and dinner offerings could be much better, but based on other bloggers’ reviews, I wouldn’t expect anything drastically different from what’s been said before. However, I don’t really plan on visiting this place again, so if you have eaten there for lunch or dinner, feel free to comment below!

Ranking

Kiran
Ambiance 3/6
Service 4/6
Plating 3.5/6
Taste 4/6
Originality 4/6
Value 3.5/6
Overall 22.5/36 = 61%

Jacqueline Suzanne's Bistro & Antiquities on Urbanspoon