18 King Street East
Three course brunch for two with all taxes and tip: $90
There’s an old cliché about the difference between night and day, but I’ve actually found a good example for which to apply it. I guess you could say I’m one of those “sensitive types”, or maybe my hearing is shot from too many industrial concerts in the 90s, but I hate, hate, hate loud restaurants. All that clinking of cutlery and loud music and raucous laughter. When you’re out for a quiet dinner or actually want to talk to the people you’re with, many restaurants are just not conducive to that situation.
Thus, I’ve become a bruncher. Even though I know how kitchen staff across the city, yea, around the world, hate the concept of getting up early after a night of busy service to poach eggs for those too intimidated to do it themselves, I really do prefer the usually quiet solitude of brunch over dinner.
So when the husband pointed out that beerbistro had started serving brunch, and that one of the offerings was a Lobster Benedict, there was no need to ask me a second time.
beerbistro during the day is a completely different creature from the same space during the evening. Sunshine pours through the high windows and warms the buttery walls. Water glasses and cutlery sparkle alluringly. The cobalt ceiling (was that ceiling always blue? It’s gorgeous!) fills in for blue sky, and the hop vines twined around fixtures make the room feel organic and rustic.
Unlike dinner service when the place is packed and very loud, it is quiet, with only a few tables filled with patrons. The brunch offerings are relatively new and many people don’t know about it yet. Walk-by traffic in the area in minimal on a Sunday morning, but with food like this, I don’t suspect this relaxing quiet will last for long.
The fresh juice creation of the day ($4) is a mixture of orange, grapefruit, cranberry and pineapple juices. We pair it with the Pilsner Maki Roll ($10.50) from the regular menu, a blue crab roll dipped in tempura. The portion is a hearty 8 pieces.
The husband orders Mac and Cheese off the regular menu ($12.50), a massive plate of hand-cut spaetzle mixed with a variety of cheeses and topped with many, many slices of house-smoked Berkshire pork bacon. Me, I’m all about the Lobster Benedict ($15.75) – it is as wonderful as I had imagined. Two fluffy russet potato latkes come topped with poached eggs and a Hollandaise loaded with sweet chunks of lobster, sweet peas and smoked cheddar. It is mind-blowingly wonderful, even if the eggs are slightly overcooked.
Other options on the brunch menu include Blueberry Raspberry Buttermilk Pancakes ($9.75), fruit and berries ($6), and Mini Chocolate Stout Donuts ($5) – hey wait, how did I miss those? There are also a number of items off the lunch menu available, and of course a selection of sides that include those famous frites ($5) and a Wild Boar and Breakfast Ale Sausage ($3).
Besides the sweet appetizer offerings, the full dessert menu is also available, with desserts ranging from $7 to $9. The Chef’s Choice dessert plate for two at $14 is still the best deal, as there’s a little bit of everything, including some of the beer-flavoured ice creams.
The only real disappointment is the coffee which is just regular carafe brew and not great-tasting at that. For $3.25 a cup, coffee should at least be a fresh-pulled Americano-style cup of Joe and not something that could have been made in an office kitchenette.
Service is warm and friendly throughout, and our server answers our many questions about the pasta with a helpful interest.
There’s no guarantee the quiet idyllic charm will last, however. Once more people get wind that brunch is being served, the place is sure to fill up and may not be quite so subdued.
So for anyone looking for a sophisticated, grown-up brunch with quality ingredients and personable service, where there is no need to line up at a buffet, or endure another patron’s refusal to control their children, beerbistro should be high on the list. The fact that no one will blink an eye if there’s beer ordered with the meal is just a bonus.