999 Eglinton Avenue West
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $50
We know our readers love the brunch reviews, but after a while it can all get a little tedious. Hollandaise sauce now runs in my veins. So we were delighted to head up to Eglinton Avenue and check out the brunch offerings at Frida.
This upscale Mexican restaurant is run by chef Jose Hadad, and besides a really interesting dinner menu, offers a diverse brunch card full of Mexican favourites.
We start with some of Hadad’s famous guacamole and chips ($10) – both made in house and available for sale to take home. Beautifully presented and drizzled with chili oil, it’s easy to see why Hadad’s Mad Mexican line does so well. Our server also brings us each a small dish full of chunks of melon and pineapple, a fruit amuse bouche, which is a lovely touch.
But starters were a bit of a mistake on our part. Like the old adage about not filling up on bread, filling up on chips is a bad idea when the entrées are so generously portioned.
The main brunch selections are eggy, with huevos rancheros ($12), huevos ahogados ($13) – scrambled eggs with salsa verde – and plenty of omlettes on offer. After a bad experience with chilaquiles a few years back, I’m anxious to try them again. Frida’s chilaquiles ($10) are more of chef’s homemade tortilla chips, basted in salsa verde, topped with chopped onions, sour cream, cilantro and two sunnyside up eggs. I order these with chicken (add $3) but when the dish comes out the chicken is nowhere to be seen. A few minutes later, a heaping bowl of warm shredded chicken meat appears, along with the refried beans that also accompany the dish. Oh yeah, this is definitely too much food.
I feel bad not being able to finish it because it’s a wonderful flavour combination with the brightness of the tomatillos in the salsa. The eggs are slightly overcooked though, and by the time I’m halfway through it, the tortillas are getting soggy. This is a fail on my part for being a greedy guts and insisting on the chips and guacamole to start.
Across the table, the hungry husband has thought to order something smaller from the menu of savoury items and makes short work of the enchiladas de barbacoa ($13), braised lamb enchiladas with cheese coriander and onion, slathered in a spicy borracha sauce. I’m not much for the lamb so I tried only a bit of these but they were nicely executed with generous chunks of lamb balanced by the multi-layered flavours of the sauce.
Funny too, how even though you can’t finish the main, there is somehow room for dessert. Frida’s churros ($7) are considered the best in town. Filled with dulce de leche caramel sauce, they’re pretty darn awesome, but a bit small for the price compared to some other authentic Mexican places around town. But big points for presentation.
Service throughout the meal is friendly and attentive, with coffee (laced with cinnamon) and water refilled regularly. Inexplicably there are only two other tables of guests the whole time we are there, which is a little disappointing – why are the people in Forest Hill not beating a path to Fridas’ door every Sunday morning? This is really good Mexican food, and unique in terms of brunch offerings across the city.