A table at the super-hot Harbord Room (89 Harbord, at Spadina, 416-962-8989) is already difficult enough to snag, but just try getting one now that the swanky Annex boîte has introduced poutine for breakfast ($15) to its recently inaugurated weekend brunch card.
Purists may disdain the lack of curds, but co-chef Curt Martin's quirky take starts with crunchy steamed and pan-seared baby new potatoes that have been sautéed with double-smoked Berkshire bacon. He then smothers them in bacon gravy before layering the lot with a pair of runny sunny-side-up eggs, melted applewood-fumed cheddar and Hollandaise sauce. No wonder this artery-clogging but delish dish is the Room's most popular.
Craving more cholesterol? Down on the lower east side, Harlem (67 Richmond East, at Church, 416-368-1920) has launched Toronto's only soul food brunch. Served Saturday and Sunday, it features the Southern-fried likes of yam and Yukon Gold hash topped with sausage 'n' fried egg and sided with biscuits ($10), and island-style triple-deckers piled with smoked salmon, guacamole and goat cheese ($12) - and a fried egg, of course.
Just ask Alice
While some clamber aboard the brunch bandwagon, sensible John Pekka Woods's Alice's Restaurant (856 College, at Concord, 416-534-7500) has decided to sleep in instead.
"The regulars loved our Sunday brunch, but there weren't enough of them to make it viable," explains the personable owner/chef, who's just hired former Perigee and Susur sous Damon Ulmi to help out in the kitchen. "I find my food evolving from the theatre fare I produced in Niagara to a more refined and true expression of what I think of as simple, approachable food."
Our nod to the Coffee Time across from the Scientology building on Yonge in the Best of the Chains feature in last week's Coffee Crazy survey of Toronto's indie caffeine scene should've been directed toward Country Style Bistrodeli (10 St. Mary, at Yonge, 416-924-3479) instead. We blame the 82 espressos.