Brunch at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

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Anyone who lives in Toronto knows that brunch in this city is no joke. If you want to secure a seat at one of the coveted brunch destinations in town, you’ll likely have to add your name to a lengthy list, or visit first thing in the morning. These are generally the places that live up to their hype and serve crave-worthy dishes that will keep you coming back for more. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, located in the heart of Liberty Village, is definitely one of those spots!

I had heard of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen a few years ago as one of the places to go for brunch, particularly for their blueberry buttermilk pancakes. I finally had the chance to visit last year, and was thoroughly impressed with the food and atmosphere. Last week, I was excited to be invited to return to enjoy their brunch, along with their Walter Craft Caesar. I arrived early at 10:30 am on Sunday with my boyfriend and the place already had a line out the door. If that isn’t a sign of food that’s worth the wait, I don’t know what is!

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We started the meal with a round of the restaurant’s “Canadian Caesars” which feature Stoli, curly celery, horseradish, and the star of the show, Walter’s Caesar Mix – Canada’s first all-natural, premium Caesar mix. I’ve loved Caesars as long as I’ve been legal, especially as my beverage of choice to pair with a yummy brunch. There’s something about having that spicy, savoury, slightly sour drink with your meal that just makes it that much better, maybe because it almost seems like another dish in itself.

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When the drinks arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the unique presentation, with heaping mounds of curly celery serving as a garnish. The wooden chopsticks were a cute and useful touch to help you pick up the strands while drinking, and you could really taste the difference in the mix. The drink had a bold tomato flavour that I crave from a great Caesar, and didn’t taste diluted at all. The only thing I thought was missing was a strip of the restaurant’s delicious Rosemary Bacon!

As far as the food goes, here’s what we ordered:

  • Veda’s Choice – Mildred’s classic poached eggs on a flakey croissant with your choice of smoked salmon or bacon, topped with Béarnaise sauce & served with mixed greens
  • The Manhandler – sliced flat iron steak on toasted garlic sourdough with arugula, two eggs sunny & a side of MP sauce
  • Mrs. Biederhof’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes – served with a wild blueberry compote, Lanark County organic maple syrup & whipped cream.

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Mildred’s Temple Kitchen specializes in refined comfort food with a focus on locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Everything we had was absolutely delicious, and you could truly taste the quality in the food. Veda’s Choice (which we had with bacon) was luxuriously rich with the eggs cooked to runny perfection. The flat iron steak was tender, well-seasoned and a perfect medium rare. Our favourite however had to be the restaurant’s claim to fame blueberry buttermilk pancakes, which were on another level of fluffy.

The restaurant offers a weekend brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, and a “B’Lunch” menu (which offers a mix of brunch and lunch items) Monday to Friday from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. All of the dishes we had are served on both menus, and I highly recommend them all. I’m also a big fan of the restaurant’s scones and biscuits, which are baked fresh every morning! If you’ve been wondering if the wait it worth it for brunch at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, I can personally vouch that it is. And if you’re planning a visit soon, make sure to wash it all down with a Canadian Caesar – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Brunch at The Carbon Bar

The Carbon Bar Brunch

I was recently invited to try the brunch menu at The Carbon Bar, a hip spot located at 99 Queen Street West that serves up southern-style snacks, plates and platters. I had actually visited the restaurant before for dinner after a recommendation from a friend and was impressed by the food, so I was excited to return to try their brunch selection.

Carbon Bar offers a weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 am – 2:30 pm that features a number of drool-worthy items including Chicken ‘N’ Waffles with citrus crema and Buttermilk Pancakes with wild blueberries and Ennis Farm maple syrup. They also have a beautiful, full-service bar whipping up refreshing mimosas, house Caesars (my personal fave), and other made-to-order cocktails.

My friend and I arrived at 11:30 am on a Sunday for our meal and were greeted by the restaurant’s super friendly staff, who escorted us to our table. I love the decor at Carbon Bar, which features funky red banquet seating, retro lighting fixtures and impressive high ceilings.

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The Carbon Bar Mimosa

We ordered a few different dishes to sample along with the prettiest grapefruit mimosas – the restaurant actually has an awesome promotion running currently, where they’ll give you a free mimosa with your meal if you share your brunch experience on social and tag them @TheCarbonBar.

Here’s what we feasted on:

  • Chicken ‘N’ Waffles – buttermilk fried chicken, citrus crema, chili + honey + garlic sauce
  • Buttermilk Pancakes – wild‎ blueberries, Ennis Farm maple syrup, lemon yogurt hangop + house smoked bacon
  • Smoked Brisket Benny – high rise biscuit, two poached eggs, red cabbage slaw, Anaheim chili, dill pickle, hollandaise
  • Smashed & Fried Potatoes – kimchi,‎ parmesan, green onions

The restaurant was also kind enough to serve us a few fresh baked pastries to start. When the food arrived (very promptly I might add), I was blown away by how delicious everything looked – you eat with your eyes first, after all. All of the dishes were also served piping hot, a factor greatly appreciated by someone who can’t consume her meal before documenting it excessively, lol!

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The Carbon Bar Buttermilk Pancakes

Once we were finally able to dig in, it’s safe to say we were both thoroughly impressed by the quality of the food. The pancakes were fluffy as clouds, the benny was bursting with flavour thanks to the chili and pickle, and the chicken was crunchy on the outside and succulent on the inside. I love that the menu puts a spin on the classics, infusing them with southern flair and unexpected asian influence (like the kimchi in the potatoes). And when I say we feasted – I mean we had a feast. The portions were more than generous and way more than the two of us could eat! We had the leftovers packed to-go, which were left at the hostess stand for us to collect on the way out – a nice touch on the restuarant’s part.

If you’re looking for a new go-to brunch spot with a delicious selection of savoury and sweet dishes in a cool, relaxed atmosphere – I highly recommend a visit to The Carbon Bar. It’s perfect for both groups (large or small) and couples, and is soon to be on the top of everyone’s radar, in my opinion. I’ll definitely be returning to try some of their Texas BBQ soon, and in the meantime will be dreaming of the mouthwatering brunch spread we had!

Souk Tabule

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A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of brunching with a group of awesome Toronto bloggers at a popular spot in the Canary District, Souk Tabule. Souk Tabule is a fast casual location under the Tabule family of restaurants, serving up delicious Middle Eastern and Lebanese dishes. Of the huge selection of places to brunch in Toronto, this was a refreshingly unique option, and definitely worth the visit!

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We arrived bright and early at 10:30 am to beat the crowd, and basically had the restaurant to ourselves, which was lovely. I loved the decor of the restaurant, which was a beautiful mix of modern design, blue and white accents, and the most gorgeous wall art!

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Guests order and pay for their food off the extensive menu at the front counter, and then have seat where the meal is served to them. Souk Tabule offers a regular menu along with all-day brunch. We ended up ordering a wide selection off the menu, including the Chef’s Sampler to share. This included a variety of vibrant and flavourful Middle Eastern dips and starters: babaganouj, labni, muhamara, beet mutable, quinoa tabule and arabic slaw. This was served with the restaurant’s house-made saj bread.

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Amongst our table we had a mouthwatering spread of the Shakshuka, Hallum on a Brioche, Canary Salad, Phoenician Fries and the Akkawi and Roasted Tomato Omelette. The restaurant also has a great drink menu, including the refreshing mint lemonade that I tried.

I had the Shakshuka, a dish of eggs baked with roasted tomato and red pepper sauce. This is one of my favourite things to eat at brunch, and Souk Tabule’s version did not disappoint. It was tangy, filling, and luscious from all the egg yolk and the dollop of labni (a creamy yogurt dip) it included.

I also have to mention this one of the first times I’ve gotten to hang out with other Toronto bloggers – and it was such a blast! There’s nothing like being with like-minded people (who are just as serious about taking pictures of their food as you are). It was an amazing feeling to take a million shots of my meal without being judged, lol!

Check out some of the awesome ladies I brunched with and send them some love:

 

The Best Brunch Spots in Toronto

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If I had to choose my favourite meal, it would hands down be brunch. It’s the perfect time to indulge in something sweet, something savoury, or a little bit of both. It’s also socially acceptable to have an alcoholic beverage before 2pm, which is okay in my books!

There was a period of time where you would find me brunching every weekend – and I mean every weekend. I’ve since cut back, after realizing a weekly eggs benny isn’t the most practical for your wallet (or your waistline)! However I did determine a few of my favourite brunch spots in Toronto after trying many of the popular restaurants in the city.

Here are my favourite spots for brunch in Toronto:

Wish 3 Charles St E

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Wish wins the award for the most instagramable and aesthetically pleasing brunch spot in the city. Make sure to book a reservation (and cross your fingers that you’ll land a spot on the adorable patio), because this place gets slam packed on weekends. The service can be hit or miss, and the crowd can be snooty, but the food is definitely tasty. I recommend the classic eggs benny, angus burger, or avocado toast!

The Good Fork2432 Bloor St W

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This is my pick for the most delicious, all-around menu. While I’m more of a savoury than sweet girl myself, there’s a great selection here and something for everybody. I can personally vouch for the ‘Daisy’ Benny and their take on Huevos Rancheros, but have also heard amazing things about their Red Velvet Pancakes. This is another spot that gets super packed on weekends, but unfortunately they don’t take reservations. I recommend visiting during off-peak hours so you’re not waiting around forever – however they do text you when your table is ready, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit out of the way in the West end, but definitely worth the journey!

The Starving Artist multiple locations

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If eggs benny is your brunch go-to, you’ll love this hip spot with three locations in the city. The ‘B. Benny’ is my spirit animal in benny form – poached eggs and caramalized bacon served on potato waffles. Yes, savoury waffles made from potatoes – my dream vehicle for receiving egg-y, bacon-y, deliciousness. I’ve visited their St Clair location which is a big, bright space with artwork from local artists hung on the walls. The music was a bit too intense the day I visited, but it was still an enjoyable experience. The Starving Artist is cash only, so come prepared!

Smith553 Church St

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Smith is a super cool spot in the Village with upper and lower dining rooms, as well as a patio space. The brunch rush is always hopping, which is a great sign when it comes to food. They serve up generous portions of delicious dishes (the brisket hash is my pick!), and the atmosphere is trendy and inviting. I have yet to be seated on their cute little patio, but will definitely be making it a priority this summer once the weather warms up!

Cafe Neon1024 Queen St W

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The Queen West outfit of this hip eatery (its other location in the Junction) is somewhat unassuming – the first time I walked by, it blended in with the local coffee shops. However upon closer inspection, I realized that the cafe actually had a larger dining room towards the back and I stopped in for brunch. Though the menu is quite small, it definitely hits all the brunch classics – pancakes, omelettes, and the usual fare. I was pleasantly surprised by their version of eggs benny, which included succulent pulled pork. The portions were large and everything was super yummy!

Barque Smokehouse299 Roncesvalles Ave

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Smoked. Duck. Pancakes. This is what first drew me to Barque – and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. If you’re into barbeque, you’ll love this restaurant. They offer a unique take on traditional brunch staples, all featuring their delicious barbeque – pulled pork, ribs, brisket and more. Their smoked duck panacakes come in a heaping portion smothered with a sweet blueberry compote and rich whipped goat cheese. I’m still dreaming about this meal. Barque is another place that gets super busy, but they do take reservations. Book ahead to avoid the wait!

I know what you’re thinking – where’s Mildred’s Temple Kitchen? Where’s Portland Variety? Sadly I haven’t yet made it out to some of the city’s most talked about brunch spots – simply because of the lines! It’s definitely on my bucket list for the next year to try out more places so I can fully assess and nail down my list of top spots. For now, these are my tried and true recommendations for some tasty brunch eats.

Let me know where your favourite place to brunch is in the comments below!

Baddies Toronto

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Baddies is a hip little eatery located at 679 Lansdowne Ave in Toronto, serving up breakfast, brunch and lunch items Monday through Sunday. After seeing swoon-worthy snaps of this cafe on Instagram, I had to go check it out for myself!

When I first arrived at Baddies, I was surprised by how small the space actually was. The cafe runs on a “seat yourself” concept, with tables for around eight parties set up. If the restaurant is full when you arrive, you can choose to sit on the “bleachers” located at the back of the cafe until a table frees up, or you can even order your food to eat there. Food is ordered at the main counter where you pay ahead, and a server will bring it out to you when it’s ready.

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The atmosphere is quite casual and noisy (since the space is so small), but beautifully decorated with exposed white brick, marble accents, surf-themed wallpaper, and hints of greenery. I also loved how much natural light came into the cafe!

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I had the smashed avocado (with heirloom beet labneh, seasonal greens, sunflower seed, pickled beet, roasted persimmons on Prairie Boy sourdough) and added a fried egg as well as a side of bacon. For avotoast to really be a “wow” dish, it has to be executed well – and this version was delicious. The meal was filling and full of bold flavours and interesting textures.

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I paired my smashed avo with a matcha latte, which was equally tasty!

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My friend got the brekky roll (with cumbraes dbl smoked bacon, sunny egg, chimmichurri, tomato relish, and blood brothers IPA BBQ sauce), which she also enjoyed!

The menu offered some yummy sounding sweet options as well, but my friend and I both lean towards more savoury dishes. We laughed about how we wished one of us liked sweets so we could get a better picture! Overall I enjoyed my experience at Baddies and would return – just be prepared to wait for a table if you’re visiting on a busy Saturday like I did.