Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apres Coucher: Lady Marmalade

Somehow sounds of Christina Aguilera fill my head when I think of the name of Leslieville's latest brunch hot spot: Lady Marmalade.  My guess is its name wasn't borne from the 2001 re-make pop hit.  Or maybe it was.  I don't know.  All I know is Lady Marmalade, a quasi-transplant from Victoria, BC, is a hit.

It's filled with the prescriptive super-hipster East end crowd (although I live in the neighbourhood, I am not quite as cool for school).  Its decor has got that kitschy retro flare, coupled with an arty mash-up.  The servers are mostly wholesome-looking beauties who, despite the seemingly constant stream of waiting customers, maintain their pleasant demeanour with a smile.

The prices are just right for a brunch/lunch spot; not much is more than $12 or so.  It's cash-only (boo), except there's a TD bank 2 doors down for those feeling terribly inconvenienced.  The only other let-down I could discern was that they don't make good-morning poutine (or good-afternoon poutine, for that matter) on the weekends.  Being a Northern Ontario girl and somewhat of a poutine connoisseur, I was excited to try it.  Then, sadly shut down.  *Sigh* - I'll have to go back for that one.

I ordered the baked crepe croque monsieur and was delighted.  Wrapped in a light crepe was ham and cheddar, topped with a miso-scallion cream, perfectly poached eggs and wilted spinach.  I was a tad intrigued by the miso-scallion cream (also an option for the poutine: miso gravy), but found it to be light, balanced, and a perfect complement to the dish without being overpowering.  The side of hashbrowns were some of the best I've had: crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, not greasy and properly seasoned.

The eggs benny options are plentiful with many flavour-pairing favourites to choose from.  One friend ordered the huevos rancheritos which, despite tasting good, looked a bit like dressed-up cafeteria food (I suppose it's hard to make a mound of beans look pretty).  One other plus: fresh-squeezed orange juice.  One would think it's a staple for every good brunch spot but I'm surprised at how many rely on good 'ol Old South.  Lady Marmalade offers both options but don't skimp - fresh juice all the way.

I'm excited the good restaurant options are continuing to grow in Queen's East end.  Better still that there's another yummy brunch option for the 'I'm-so-hungover-all-I-want-is-fucking-tasty-food' crowd.  Check it out ... I know I'll be going back.  http://www.ladymarmalade.ca/

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