Sadly, there is a lot of uneducated restaurant owners and managers who somehow believe that brunch is just a fancy breakfast.
When people go for brunch, they are looking for breakfast and lunch at the same time.
BReakfast. lUNCH. BR + UNCH = BRUNCH.
A restaurant that respects its clientèle should not advertise a brunch menu if said brunch menu offers only breakfast items and variations on the same theme. A restaurant that respects its clientèle understands that a normally constituted person cannot sustain themself until dinner with an 11 am yogurt and granola.
Fortunately for me, we ended up at a location that understands: the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill.
Set in a splendid old bank building built in the 1800s located in the heart of the Financial District, and only minutes away from the Rogers Centre, the Irish Embassy is usually very busy with business crowds during the work week. I have had lunch there a couple of times, and it was always buzzing.
Not so much at brunch hour. The place opens only at 11 am, so we waited not-so-patiently for them to open their doors. First in, we sat comfortably in a corner and ordered a couple of brunch drinks. Cider for me.
We looked at their brunch menu, which is a real one:
Some classic breakfast items, like pancakes, eggs Benedict and of course the classic Irish Breakfast.
You could also find, randomly, salads, a burger, a wrap, a curry, crab cakes, quiches, and a stew.
I decided to open the hostilities with their soup of the day: A Corn Chowder. I love corn, and when nicely done, this soup is very smooth, creamy, a sunny concoction with a zing.
This was a pretty good chow-daaah. There were nice chunks of corn, bits of red pepper, the zing was provided by fresh herbs and a generous helping of cracked black pepper. The portion, however, was a bit small, especially considering the 5 bucks I had to cough up for it.
I was hoping the portion would be better with my main course – the classic Steak and Eggs.
And it was sufficient. I got my eggs scrambled, which is the only decent way to eat eggs. Made with three fresh eggs, they were pretty good, not too dry. They could have used more butter, but no real complaint. The home fries were delicious – huge chunks, crispy outside, tender inside. The steak was a AAA Angus 6oz NY striploin, grilled medium rare as I had asked. It was very lightly seasonned, which is the thing to do when you serve it beside eggs. The fruits were not super fresh and were kind of irrelevant.
Jean-Charles, always classy, decided to go with the Fish and Chips. Two huge filets of Haddock arrived.
The Kilkenny battered fish were flaky, steamy, chunky. All around well done. The homemade tartar sauce that came with it was an excellent complement to the deep fried delicacy.
Dominic decided to go for something sweet – he ordered the Blueberry pancakes with a side of sausage.
Now, Dominic had to return his pancakes. Why? What went wrong? I can hear you eagerly ask.
You were not as eager to find out as the staff when we waived at them.
I’ll let you read the transcript:
11:23:12 The waitress: “Don’t worry, it’s an honest mistake. It happens.”
11:23:17 The Waffle: “No, it doesn’t happen.”
11:23:21 The waitress: “Yes, you are right, it never happened.”
Hillarity ensued. Still clueless? Let me rewind the tape further:
11:22:44 Dominic: “I’m really sorry, I made a mistake. I thought this was Maple Syrup and I’ve put it on my pancakes.”
What? Still confused? Let me rewind the tape further:
11:18:23 Dominic: “What is in the bottle?”
11:18:26 The Waffle: ”It’s vinegar.”
11:18:28 Dominic: ”Ah.”
Hillarity soon ensued when Dominic received his pancakes and just assumed that The Waffle was either lying or simply dead wrong. In the bottle, it must not be vinegar, he thought, but additional maple syrup for his pancakes. Which he then happily splashed on his Blueberry pancakes.
And this is how Dominic was inducted into the Irish Embassy Hall of Shame.
If you drop by (and I encourage you to, considering the qualifty of the fare, the prime location and the quality of the beer list), and if you are served by Erin, be sure to mention the story. We can still hear the laughter from the kitchen when she brought back the plate to the cooks and explained why.