Café Neon

My first brunch of 2016 was at Café Neon, health a restaurant listed by BlogTO as one of the best new brunch places of 2015.

Café Neon is a long, case narrow restaurant on West Queen West that is essentially a coffee shop taking it up a notch and serving food beyond scones and pastries. The interior features cozy tables and tiny booths. There is a large counter located near the front of the restaurant to order various coffees and espresso-based drinks from. The restaurant has a very coffee-house vibe to it: cozy, intimate, with eclectic art and design.

There is actual tableside service which is not always the case with restaurants serving more than coffee. Our server was energetic and excited about their menu which in turn, made us very excited. We hemmed and hawed over the menu and then with prodding from the server I ordered the Eggs Benny.

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IMG_5338The Eggs Benny with two poached eggs and smoked pulled pork on a scone with béarnaise sauce, salad greens and potatoes.

Despite my love of food, I don’t actually know anything about it. Meaning I don’t have any technical or formal knowledge of food or cooking. Because of this, I couldn’t for the life of me, tell you the difference between hollandaise and béarnaise sauce. Until now. In French cooking, béarnaise sauce is considered the child of hollandaise sauce (which is one of the Five French Mother Sauces) . The basic sauce is the same but the difference is where the flavouring comes from: hollandaise sauce is flavoured by lemon juice and white wine while béarnaise sauce is flavored by shallots, chervil, peppercorns and tarragon.

Ok. Now that I understand what I’m eating, I can talk about it. This was a delicious eggs Benedict. The scone was light and airy, giving a different base to the sandwich than your traditional English Muffin. The smoked pulled pork was smoky, caramelized and juicy. The juices soak into the scone’s buttery-ness. The eggs were lightly poached and were bursted and oozed over the delicate mess of the pulled pork. It was nice having the béarnaise on the side as the pulled pork added a sauce-like quality to the dish already. The sauce was a little thick for my liking, having the consistency of mayo rather than a true sauce but it was perfect for slathering on the side of each bite.

The addition of the potatoes and the salad on the side made this a very substantial and filling meal.
GC ordered the Stacked Pancakes.

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The Stacked Pancakes with blueberry buttermilk pancakes, greek yoghurt, maple syrup, bacon, with fresh fruit salad and vanilla bean syrup.

GC ordered these pancakes because our server said someone at the table had to because they were orgasmic. That is quite the praise for a stack of pancakes so GC ordered them. GC liked them but would he describe them as orgasmic? No, but they are a solid stack of fluffy pancakes dotted with tons of fresh blueberries.

The other thing that our server said we had to order were the fish cakes. So because of peer pressure, we did.

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Two smoked trout fish cakes with béarnaise sauce.

These were tasty. The cakes were crispy on the outside, and buttery and flaky on the inside. They were dotted with fresh herbs and green onions, giving a freshness to the smoky flavor of the trout. The béarnaise sauce played up the herb flavours in the cake and rounded out this side nicely.

We enjoyed our brunch at Café Neon as we looked ahead and made plans for 2016. It is a cute spot that is definitely worth checking out if you are in the neighbourhood. Would I go back for more fish cakes and béarnaise? Not likely but that is mostly due to geography. And if I am going to make that kind of trek for brunch, the pancakes better be actually orgasmic.

Happy munching!

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