Brunch Emma's Country Kitchen 1108 St Clair W, at Northcliffe, 416-652-3662, emmascountrykitchen.com, @emmacountrykitc Ex-Stockyards head cook Rachel Pellett and partner Heather.
Emma’s Country Kitchen 1108 St Clair W, at Northcliffe, 416-652-3662, emmascountrykitchen.com, @emmacountrykitc Ex-Stockyards head cook Rachel Pellett and partner Heather Mee parlay a successful catering business into one of downtown’s busiest weekend brunch spot. The café’s weekday lineup’s not too shabby either, most notably their exemplary retro baked goods. Best: to start, fabulously flaky buttermilk biscuits spread with whipped citrus butter and jam du jour at brunch, those same biscuits as eggs Benedict with house-smoked peameal, poached eggs and whipped cream-infused hollandaise, griddled red-skin home fries on the side the Hangover burger, a sage-spiked patty made of ground pork sausage on a house-baked bun dressed with local cheddar and house-cured bacon sided with skinny thyme-flecked frites at lunch and brunch, daily quiche with salad, fruit or spuds classic Cobb salads. Complete brunches for $25 per person, including tax, tip and a coffee. Average main $10. Open Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Weekend brunch 9 am to 3 pm. Closed holidays. No reservations. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN
Scullery 200 Carlton, at Ontario, 647-748-5000, thescullery.ca, @The_Scullery Taking a page from Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s modern Middle Eastern playbook, Laura Sestito and Fiona Byrne’s laid-back Cabbagetown café turns traditional sides into mains with spectacular results. An ever-changing carte designed to eat in or take away guarantees no two visits are ever the same. Best: salad combos like creamy green lentils with lean Danish bacon, sour cherries and Gorgonzola in citrus vinaigrette wild rice and corn with spiced pecans, avocado and marinated feta prosciutto, fresh fig and mozzarella panini on Ace baguette with mixed greens in pesto daily specials like chicken with saffron, honey and hazelnuts old-school cinnamon buns and scones at weekend brunch, caramelized pecan waffles with spiced apple sausage and jalapeño-infused maple syrup. Complete meals for $20 per person, including, tax, tip and an iced tea. Average main $9. Open Monday, Wednesday to Friday 7 am to 7 pm. Weekend brunch 8 am to 5 pm. Closed Tuesday, some holidays. Reservations accepted. Unlicensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
Hawthorne Food & Drink 60 Richmond E, at Church, 647-930-9517, hawthorneto.ca, @hawthorneto Following the exit of Cowbell’s Mark Cutrara, ex-Starfish and Frank chef Martha Wright takes the reins of this under-appreciated bistro in the financial district. A locally sourced seasonal carte, rock-bottom prices and polished service deserve a larger audience. Those standing in line for tables at the very similar Richmond Station two blocks away, take note. Best: quinoa salad with roasted eggplant, Brussels sprouts and edamame in VQA Riesling vinaigrette pan-seared Lake Erie perch with corn ‘n’ crab chowder chicken liver mousse “brûlée” with caramel sauce and stewed blackberries on crostini smoky Memphis-style pork ribs with red cabbage and daikon to finish, chocolate bread pudding with butterscotch ice cream and chocolate sauce. Complete dinners for $40 per person (lunches $28), including tax, tip and a glass of VQA wine. Average main $18/$12. Open for lunch Monday to Friday 11 am to 3 pm, and for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5 to 10 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. Reservations accepted. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNN