Bier Markt King West
600 King Street West
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $46
Our plan on arriving at the King West Bier Market location was obviously to have a breakfast of champions and drink beer with our bacon and eggs. Unfavourably cold weather thwarted that plan and we entered the basement brassiere shivering, trying to form the word “coffee” through chattering teeth.
The neighbourhood of condo towers has not yet discovered that the Bier Markt is offering brunch and the Sunday morning no-man’s land of King West was relatively still and quiet, as was the restaurant as we sat down. A weak bit of November sunshine trickled in through a front window, but the space remains a dark but welcoming grotto with stone walls and marble tables.
Coffee ($2.50) arrived quickly and warmed up icy hands but was a basic run of the mill drip filter style. It was accompanied by the Le Panier ($6) – an assorted basket of rolls and croissants that arrived warm, paired with a dish of rhubarb compote and sweet crème butter lightly spiced with cardamom. We dubbed this our “little basket of happy” as we tore into fresh croissants, and devoured the compote with a spoon. I suspect that Bier Markt’s parent company Prime Restaurants probably makes these in an off-site kitchen and brings them in, but I adore the option of bread before a meal, even if there’s a charge for it.
We had not even made it halfway through the bread basket when our mains arrived. The omelette à la Forestiere ($12) was made up of wild and cultivated mushrooms, asparagus, and Mapledale Farms aged white cheddar. The filling was a nice combination with the flavours working well together, but the egg portion was huge (seriously, there must have been four eggs in this omelette) and was not as light and fluffy as it could have been, verging more on dense and rubbery. The dish came with a small bowl of mixed melon, which was wet and sweet and a nice contrast to the savoury omelette, but I’d liked to have seen something a bit more seasonal.
Across the table, the Belgian Breakfast ($12) was another huge plateful of food with two organic eggs, Berkshire bacon and smoked Bavarian sausage, frites, toasted baguette, and more of that yummy rhubarb compote. This was a satisfying selection of typical breakfast fare, and the frites have improved since the location first opened, when they used to be undercooked and soggy. These were crisp and hardly greasy and there were none left when the plates got taken away.
And while we didn’t opt to pair beer with our brunch, the Bier Markt menu offers suggestions for each dish, just as they do on the lunch and dinner menus. I’m not sure I’d enjoy beer with a chocolate croissant, but for dishes like the Eggs Benedict ($12) or one of the sandwiches ($14), they probably work well.
As for those croissants we didn’t finish, our lovely server boxed them up for us, along with a container of the rhubarb compote so we could take them home; a testament to the friendly cheerful service the Bier Markt offers.
The place filled up a bit more before we left, but people in the neighbourhood need to know there’s a place in this otherwise mostly barren stretch of King that serves up a decent Sunday brunch full of big baskets of happy.