KULTURA SUNDAY BRUNCH (169 King East, at Jarvis, 416-363-9000) Complete meals for $26 per person, including all taxes, tip and a coffee. Average main $8. Open Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, wheelchairs can be accommodated in ground-floor lounge. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
After years of playing in Bass is Base, Kultura head chef Roger Mooking should know how to revive the bleary bruncher who had way too much unsigned independent NXNE fun the night before.
Now that your bloodshot eyes are being soothed by Kultura's splendid second-floor dining room, a combination of vintage industrial heft and elegant decorative accents, it's time to address the hair on your tongue with some hair of the dog. Bubbles are the way to go: either a champagne mimosa ($9) or a champagne julep ($11), with its pleasing and appropriate hint of the medicinal. Real champagne? No. Real expensive? Yes.
Even at brunch, Kultura sticks to its small-plate format. When the food has as much potential as Kultura's, more choice equals more pleasure. But the key word here is "potential." If everything were executed to the high standard of the menu's intent, this would be a beautiful brunch, but small flaws plague the meal.
Truffled scrambled eggs ($8) are cooked with exemplary restraint, their delicious, luxurious folds glistening with slick oil. The menu states that the dish includes four-year-old cheddar and puff pastryl (sic). The cheese has been applied with a parsimonious hand, and puff pastryl evidently means a plain old commercial English muffin.
That most Canadian of dishes, Anglaise French Toast ($8), thankfully shows no sign of muffin anglaise. Instead, you receive two decadent broad fingers of battered brioche topped with tender caramelized apple chunks and sweet almond brittle, a delectable raising of the bar on this easily abused brunch standard.
The $6 price tag on the herbed baby potatoes may rankle, but in their defence, they taste great: perfectly pan-fried, boldly seasoned, the flesh full of sweet flavour.
The merely warm meat plate ($9) starts strong with rosemary- infused lamb sausage, hits its stride with griddle-singed, unrepentently fat-striated Black Forest bacon and then stumbles over a dried out piece of peameal bacon.
If you choose the excellent coffee ($3) over cocktails and can turn a blind eye to its sins (remember, this is Sunday), then Kultura offers the possibility of deluxe brunching for not too much more than the price of your usual eggs Benny.