Coconut granola, pulled pork eggs benny, and lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberries – what can I say? With a menu that boasts dishes like these, and after my fabulous first visit to Joy Bistro in Leslieville, I was really happy going back to the sweet and breezy eatery on Queen East for seconds! Joy Bistro really does make you feel, well, joyous! Whether you’re out on the airy patio or relaxing inside with the sunlight streaming in through the windows, being here makes you feel like you’re truly enjoying time off during your weekend brunch meal.
You see everyone else around you sharing plates of food, digging into their large brunch dishes, slicing into pancakes, French toast, and eggs, spearing a piece of peameal onto their fork, and sipping Caesars by the bar and you feel their joy just bursting out. I’ve been told that I look so happy when I eat. As funny and silly as that sounds in a way (it makes me snort with giggles) I understand where it’s coming from because I see the enjoyment on people’s faces when I glance at others around me and it’s the joy of being around the people you love and the joy of having great, delicious food right in front of you.
And if you can believe it, my second meal here was even more fantastic than the first! Part of me was really leaning toward the lemon ricotta pancakes, but I was also incredibly curious about the coconut granola ($8.50) with sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds with fruit and maple syrup. I know, I eat yogurt parfaits at home. But that’s like saying, “hmm, I bake cookies, I’ll never buy another cookie outside again!” As simplistic a dish may be, I feel it’s always worth checking out because everyone prepares and presents their dishes differently. And let’s face it, when the professionals do what they do best, it’s second to none and so darn good.
I was absolutely delighted and floored when my coconut granola and yogurt was brought out. Absolutely in awe. You should have seen my face. I probably looked like a little one seeing her birthday cake with candles come out for the first time! I’m not really sure what I was expecting. Maybe a glass with yogurt and granola layers. Maybe a bowl. Never did I expect my sweet, fruit, crunchy, yummy coconut granola to come in a giant glass jar with snap lid! It was SO cute and adorable! Something you’d see from a country kitchen and house out of House on the Prairie or something! I couldn’t believe how sweet the presentation was!
Food and treats in jars are all the rage right now. Remember my sweet little strawberry shortcake custard trifle from Simple Bistro on Mount Pleasant? And all the layered desserts and cookie and baking mixes that DIYers make as gifts and favours? Food in jars has definitely come a long way from its sole association with baby food, that’s for sure! Regardless of the trend factor though, this yogurt and granola brunch scored top-notch points in presentation and in deliciousness.
The coconut granola brunch dish was layered with maple syrup, creamy, mildly sweet vanilla yogurt, granola with oats, various types of seeds, coconut, dried fruit (cranberries and apricots), and tons of fresh fruit including blueberries, sliced bananas, and sliced strawberries. Not only did the whole dish taste fresh and juicy and wholesome, it really showed off how resourceful Joy Bistro was in their usage of food and their waste management.
I know, this is supposed to be about delicious food, not waste! But we all know waste is always part of the equation when we talk about food; it’s not all hearts and daisies. The volume of fruits, vegetables, and dairy is so difficult to manage because of their short shelf life and it really impressed me seeing them use the strawberries, blueberries, and bananas that were present on my banana bread French toast my first time there in another brunch main. You’ll never be able to eliminate waste completely, but using all your ingredients in different ways for different dishes shows your resourcefulness and versatility and a willingness to work with the food in more than one manner.
Their coconut granola yogurt parfait was delicious and terrific. I was floored at how good the vanilla yogurt was. Much of the time, yogurt can come off as too tangy, too watery, too thick, and admittedly, somewhat tasteless. I love yogurt but even I can acknowledge its flaws. Their vanilla yogurt wasn’t any of those things. The sweetness and vanillaness to it was noticeable enough for me to take note and love it, but also perfectly mild enough to let the granola and fruit shine. The fruits were juicy and plump, the granola was crunchy and honey sweet, and the maple syrup was bang on what the parfait needed to make it extra special. I love the dried fruits, I love the seeds, and I loved how the texture of the granola was chunky and crunchy yet also finely crushed and milled in other ways with the coconut and seeds.
Joy Bistro has really become a favourite of mine in the area and it’s only a matter of time before I tick off the eggs benny and pancakes off my brunch list!
Joy Bistro is located at 884 Queen Street East in Leslieville, at the corner of Booth Ave. and Queen East across the street from Jimmie Simpson Park. They serve weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner as well as plenty of drinks at the bar! Hours of operation: Monday-Wednesday 11am-12am midnight, Thursday-Friday 11am-1am, Saturday 8am-1am, and Sunday 8am-12am midnight.