1278 Queen Street West
brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $30
I am, admittedly, one of those people who go out for brunch specifically because I hate making eggs benedict at home. It’s not that I can’t, but the endeavour inevitably leaves me cranky, covered in hollandaise and left with piles of pots and pans to wash.
But the dish is a favourite of mine, especially from places like Rustic Cosmo where an order of eggs benny comes with options. For out of this tiny open kitchen, customers are offered eggs benny ($9.95) with 6 different toppings, and are allowed to mix and match. Along with the traditional peameal bacon, spinach or smoked salmon, café owner Nicole Crowe also offers mixed grilled vegetables with brie, portobello mushrooms or grilled asparagus. On our most recent visit, I opted for oozing brie atop grilled peppers, eggplant and broccoli, along with lovely green asparagus, grilled al dente.
Eggs are poached to a perfect liquid gold and the smooth, buttery hollandaise gets a kick in the pants with a titch of cayenne pepper. The accompanying homefries are soft and spicy, almost like a potato masala, with bits of spices and garlic. Some people might find them odd, not being crisp as they are at other brunch joints, but their uniqueness is part of the draw.
Across the table, the hungry husband mulls over the options, settling on a breakfast burrito ($6.95) stuffed with beans, avocado, garlic aioli, vegetables, cheddar and sausage. We disagree on whether the sausage really goes, but he likes the spiciness paired with the more typical fixings. And the hearty size doesn’t hurt either.
Although I almost always opt for the benedict, Rustic Cosmo also offers a range of breakfast bagels ($3.95 – $5.95), pancakes or French toast ($6.95 each), a selection of omlettes ($6.75 – $8.95) and a plate o’ stuff known as the cowboy’s breakfast ($9.95) with eggs, toast, homefries, pancake and beans. A tofu scramble ($7.95) is available for vegan customers.
Most weekday traffic centres around the coffee and baked goods to go, of which there’s always a great selection, but we opt for a bottomless cup of the house blend ($1.57) that Crowe keeps topped up.
Service is always friendly and quick (Crowe is one of the most cheerful servers I know, with a smile for every customer), although things can get backed up when it gets busy because the kitchen is so small, and they can really only put out one table at a time. Also, while the warm wood floors, exposed brick wall and breath-taking tin ceiling all give the space a glorious atmosphere, when it gets busy, the room can get loud as all the voices bounce off the hard surfaces of the room.
To experience Rustic Cosmo at its best, we always make a point of arriving early, before the room gets packed and the kitchen gets backlogged. Nevertheless, this Parkdale landmark will continue to be a favourite, whether it’s to grab a quick coffee or for the multitude of benedict options, none of which I have to cook myself.