Date: Saturday March 13, 2010
Time: 12:15 pm
Location: Lady Marmalade, 898 Queen Street East
Companion: Donna, administrative assistant/student/fashionista, friend of 5 years, prefers bacon over sausage
Weather: Piss-pouring rain. We jumped into Value Village thinking that they would sell umbrellas. They don’t.
Leslieville on the weekends can only mean one thing: breakfast. With more brunch spots than you can shake a stick at, the smell of eggs and roasted beans literally permeates the street corners. It’s weird but true.
Lady Marmalade has a kind of fifties retro vibe going on. A little bit cold but a lot bright. It’s small which helps add some cozy but with most of the seating being in the mid to front of the room you and your bacon are put on display like a puppy in a pet store. Line ups plus dirty looks if you don’t eat fast enough equals no time for lingering. This is commonplace in any Toronto brunch spot worth hitting and it sucks.
They have seven ‘bennies’ to choose from. Cool combos of avocado and brie or roasted veg and aged white cheddar are enticing but we went for the fresh tomato and pesto ($12.95). Crispy muffins were topped with a bright slice of tomato, a smear of fresh basil pesto, a fluffy poached egg and a light smattering of lemony hollandaise. Note the fact that it was light on the sauce which is key as I feel that places that douse your ‘benny’ with sauce are almost trying to hide something. Let’s also note that it was a cool yellow instead of the fluorescent goop you sometimes get.
With Lady’s poached egg BLT ($10.95), I expected a sandwich, the kind you pick up and open wide for but this one was served ‘open faced’. Although I think that ‘open faced’ sandwiches are ridiculous, it reminded me of a ‘benny’ so it was ok. Toasted brown bread, tender baby spinach, a sweet and smoky roasted tomato, salty bacon and big poached eggs with sunny centers and rubbery ends all come together to make a truly dimensional breakfast. The flavours worked really well together including the chipotle mayo that was gingerly spread on top of the eggs. God I love mayonnaise.
The only thing that was not ok was the placement of the bacon. It should have been laid on the bottom, not across the top because when I tried to start at the corner, my knife pushed down on the bacon which in turn pushed down on the egg breaking the yolk. I was not ready to break the yolk. I wanted the little bowl of salad off the plate but was now stuck with it as its’ bottom was covered in yolk.
See, I get that the salad puts the “unch” in brunch but I really don’t care to eat leaves with runny yolks especially for breakfast. In addition to a salad, you get potatoes. Boiled then baked table potatoes get some cayenne and a little oil. Some were burnt but their insides were fluffy.
Misplaced bacon and a few overcooked potatoes aside, Lady Marmalade is thriving. Lucky for those who live in the neighbourhood but not too far to go for those of us that don’t. The good thing about Toronto is that we are a small big city and nothing is more than half an hour away.