124 Danforth Avenue
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $60
So here’s a conundrum… where to take visitors who are into eating locally for brunch? There are lots of dinner options out there, but brunch, if the restaurant is even serving it, seems to be a lot of the same old, same old.
Fortunately Globe Bistro fit the bill, and our friends from Buffalo were on board as soon as we started reading the locally-sourced menu to them over the phone.
Upon arrival, we immediately start off with coffee and The Baker’s Basket ($10); an overly generous basket of scones, cornbread and cinnamon loaf with strawberry and pepper preserves. The value for money theme of the warm and flaky pastries is one that runs throughout the meal. Despite using local products, which can cost more, Chef Kevin McKenna manages to offer up hearty servings at a reasonable price. We’re impressed with both the quality and quantity of the pastries – the basket is enough for four of us to split.
We also can’t resist the Creemore smoked trout ($12); two lightly smoked fillet sections atop celery root rosti, lamb’s lettuce and poppyseed crème fraiche. This dish I wish I had all to myself.
The swine and dine ($14) is what we used to lure our friends to brunch in the first place, but when it’s placed in front of our pal Rudy, he balks at the sheer quantity of food. The menu description actually doesn’t do it justice; “three eggs, Pingue sausage, double-smoked bacon, Globe’s piglet ham, creton, maple scratchings, roast mushrooms and tomatoes, lots of toast, no salad,” fills a platter, and despite being in hog heaven, he can’t finish the thing, passing around the spicy sausage and pork scratching to share.
I’ve ordered the deep dish quiche ($12), made in a proper quiche shape (cake pan versus pie pan) and full of light fluffy eggy custard and mushrooms, spring onions and cheese. It’s beautiful and expertly prepared, accompanied by a huge pile of greens in a Saskatoon berry vinaigrette, but is vaguely boring compared to what everyone else is having. How can I compare to all that meat on the plate next to me?
Rudy’s wife Ange opts for the Bacon and Egger sandwich ($13) and while the combination of Cumbrae’s smoked peameal, eggs over easy, Québec brie, and baby arugula on Globe’s housemade sourdough is well-balanced, she’s distracted (and vaguely terrified) by the mounds and mounds of Yukon gold frites that accompany it, and barely puts a dent into them. The sandwich is a wonderful flavour combination; eggs and brie nicely oozy, arugula holding its own against the smoked ham, but we keep coming back to the piles of fries.
It’s not brunch without someone ordering the eggs benedict ($13) and Greg is happy to do the honours. The eggs are served atop fried bread and sweet piglet ham. The blood orange hollandaise gets oohs from us all; citrusy, but sharp. The fingerling potato “hash” is actually roasted fingerling potato coins, and while they’re not quite as plentiful as the frites, there’s still plenty leftover, even though they’re full of awesome.
After all that, who would have room for dessert? Well, people who have saved room – knowing full well that Globe makes some really interesting ones, and we order a couple to share. Green eggs and ham ($8) is a puff pastry tart filled with pistachio custard and topped with a large wedge of Globe’s famous bacon brittle. Essentially caramelized sugar with tiny bits of smoky bacon, it’s even better than it sounds. We also share a plate of Little Ones ($8), a selection of small desserts that include an ice cream sandwich filled with house made strawberry and pepper ice cream; a meringue with cherry cream filling; a peanut butter and bacon truffle, and a pretty chocolate layer cake. All are little flavour explosions, and we all have a different favourite.
Service throughout is smooth and attentive. Coffee and water gets refilled regularly. And when the deluge of rain starts coming down outdoors, threatening to flood the usually bright front room, staff are on hand to shut the wide patio doors and make sure we’re all dry and happy.
Honestly, I can’t think of a single misstep, and we all leave delightfully happy, with both the meal and the final bill, which rings in at about $70 per couple. If I had to come up with a complaint, it would be that portions are maybe a bit too generous, even for someone not doing all three courses. Globe Bistro’s brunch is a meal that we’d be happy to go back to – which is quite possibly the best critique I can give.