Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Date: Saturday April 17, 2010
Location: The Hoof Cafe, 923 Dundas Street West
Time: Arrived at 11:10 am, Jen (part owner and mixologist) put our name and phone number on the list and said it would be about 45, we sipped coffee at The Communal Mule while waiting, got sat at 12:50 pm, was compensated for the ridiculously long wait with mini jelly filled doughnuts
Companions: Annette and Katia, friends of over 11 years, we call ourselves “The Triad” and are often either acting like thirteen year old boys or thirty year old men
Why they make a great brunch date: a mutual love and interest in pork and vodka is one of the foundations of our relationship, we can agree that a package of bacon for three people is not absurd, they love bread and I love cheese; sometimes it just works
My love and respect of The Black Hoof could only suggest that I had to try its’ little sister, The Hoof Cafe. My obsession with meat and offal lead me there like a horse to water. Jen’s house made bloody ceaser didn’t hurt either. It’s got to be five o’clock somewhere.
I take pride in the fact that I always give it to you straight. No B.S and this review is going to be no different although I have to say that this one hurts a little. See, I think Grant Van Gameran (the other owner and charcuterie master) is a cool guy. He’s a culinary genius and does fantastically creative things with animal parts. The bad news is, (insert wince) is that our brunch was no bouquet of awesome. It was mediocre at best. Do not believe the hype. It was not worth the wait.
The first problem is the space; I have seen bigger walk in closets. Diners are jammed in like chickens in a factory. It is just too small.
The second problem is the suckling pig eggs Benedict. Small eggs, flavourless hollandaise and mushy pulled pork on top of a biscuit that was as dense as particle board. Everything except the side arugula salad with a couple of pork rinds was tasteless. Where was the salt? The lemony zip in the sauce? The blue hairs on high blood pressure meds would have loved it.
Another indiscretion was the greasy tongue grilled cheese sandwich that was stuffed with a young, soft cheese - rind and all. I hate the rind. It made the sandwich taste stinky. The oily toast and oozing cheese did absolutely nothing to highlight the meat.
Thank god for the pork belly pastrami and sour cherry and marrow jelly filled doughnuts. The belly, so juicy with strips of fat had a nice drizzle of sweet maple. The really mini doughnuts were crispy with gooey pink centers and dusted with grainy sugar. The idea to incorporate a little unctuous marrow into the filling was sheer brilliance.
Add a fried egg into the mix and that would have made for a much better brunch.