I promised you all a weekend brunch post from the west end so I’m here to deliver! After doing a lot of exploring in Leslieville over the past month, I thought it would be nice to switch things up and have some fun on Dundas West, specifically in Brockton Village! I still remember that crazy day a year and a half ago in April when I decided to be spontaneous and walk the entire length of Dundas West from Keele to Spadina (um, hello, over 5 km!), stopping at King’s Cafe for lunch, watching snow flurries flying around in the sky from the window, and completely zonking out on the streetcar and subway ride back.
And since that day, I have loved Dundas West, Brockton Village, and all the neighbouring areas for its aesthetic and character (Dundas West is home to some of the most beautiful graffiti artwork in the city) and of course, for its food! I know some parts of the strip are a little industrial and “middle of nowhere”, but little gems still sparkle beneath that steely exterior and really, once you hit Lansdowne going eastbound, there is so much to see and explore in terms of specialty food shops, bakeries, and great eateries. And Brockton General is one of them!
I found out about Brockton General from Where Toronto magazine many moons ago, immediately looked them up online, and kept them on my brunch hitlist for months. It was their stewed fruit French toast menu item that made me squeal in the beginning! This month I finally made my way here on a Sunday morning, sat down on one of their sweet wooden chairs at one of their pretty outdoor wooden tables and enjoyed one of the most relaxing, delicious, memorable brunch meals EVER. With a light breeze, a clear sky, and a peaceful atmosphere, this meal at Brockton General epitomized what a Sunday morning brunch should always be. Their cafe is so sweet and cute with so much vintage and romantic flair. Little sugar pots, tiny vases of flowers on the ledge, vintage prints on the exposed brick wall, linen napkins, pretty porcelain dishes with floral prints, and even an antique spoon collection on the wall to boot!
Even though the space isn’t monstrously big, there’s a decent amount of seating with tables for four and two all over, so as long as you get there not too long after they open, there shouldn’t be an issue with line-ups. Then again, there was a steady stream of people coming in when I was there on a Sunday morning (couples and groups of friends), so to cover your butt, show up soon after they open to be on the safe side. The food is so delicious here I wouldn’t be surprised if I was proven wrong about the line-ups!
The wonderfully unique thing about Brockton General is their menu and I’m not even talking about their food or dishes persay here; I’m talking about their constant changing menu. The menu that changes EVERY WEEK. No joke! Brockton General’s brunch menu changes every week, highlighting seasonal ingredients and whatever creative concoctions they might come up with. I LOVE that. I know that it can be bad if there’s a menu item you just adore to pieces and you’re not sure if it’ll come back or not, but just think of all the amazing different dishes you can try with an evolving menu like theirs. The menu might feature similar types of dishes week to week, but with different ingredients or different sides. And I’m happy to report that there are always vegetarian options!
In addition to classic breakfasts like bacon and eggs (their chalkboard sign out front says “magical bacon forest!”), eggs benny, and French toast with seasonal fruit and maple syrup, Brockton General’s menu specialities include omelettes with yummy seasonal vegetables (cauliflower puree with green beans, salad greens and toast – I have never seen anybody do omelettes with cauliflower! And green beans? Amazing!,), breakfast sandwiches (English muffins, fried eggs, pork loin, different cheeses, homefries and salad), and sausage or veggie hash with veggie gravy, fried egg and toast. On top of that, they have a number of different small meals (rye berry salad, granola with fruit and yogurt) and sides (bacon and/or pork loin, homefries, and so on) that you can pair with your main and a drink for a Brockton General price fixe! Prices for mains come in at $11-$13, but if you choose a drink, the granola, soup, or salad, and a main, it’s $18 any time and all the time!
My brunch meal: smoked trout cake with a poached egg, remoulade, salad, and toast ($13). I never say no to fish and seafood cakes! I love crab cakes and salmon cakes and wish I could eat them more often. This totally and completely satisfied my desire for fish cakes though and I am still reeling from the wow factor of this brunch meal! The poached egg was perfect (thin egg white skin with a runny yellow yolk on the inside), the toast was perfect and crunchy (I couldn’t believe how excited I was about how good the toast tasted!), the salad was beyond fresh and bright and delicious, and the smoked trout cake? Heavenly and mind-blowingly delicious!
Let’s talk about the salad first though. Now, I loooove green salad with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing as much as the next perso. Heck, I could have that every day. But when you’re in the face of REALLY GOOD salad with more than just greens, it makes you appreciate it that much more. Brockton General’s salad that day was a mix of baby arugula and mixed greens, sliced red onion, and – wait for this – fennel and edamame! I love edamame so, so much and was squealing (on the inside) about it througout my meal. And the fennel! I think this was the first time I truly tasted fennel. I have read about its licorice taste more times than I can count and I finally felt like I understood firsthand. It was a beautiful and definitely unique from other places.
The smoked trout cake was just bang-on fabulous. First off, as soon as I cut into it, steamed billowed out. So fresh, so good. It was wonderfully flaky and soft with the most flavourful, smoky interior of flaked fish and green onion with a golden brown crisp exterior. You have to eat it to get the full effect of the smoky flavour. The menu was not lying when it said smoked trout! It was smoky with a hint of heat and it was almost as if you could taste it straight off the fire. It was so savoury and the smokiness just envelopes your tastebuds and lingers as you continue eating. That’s how bold it is. It was a flavour my tastebuds had never come across before and it paired perfectly with their cool, creamy, delicious remoulade sauce! I wish I had a whole ramekin of this sauce. Generally made with mayo, mustard, garlic, and spices (and sometimes hot sauce), the sauce completed the fish cake so well.
From the get-go, all I could think of when I was here was how much I wanted to bring my best friend, my mum, and my boyfriend here to eat. And all my friends. And anyone who just loves food and brunch. My unforgettable brunch on that clear Sunday morning confirmed it.
Brockton General is located at 1321 Dundas Street West between Ossington Ave. and Dufferin Street. They are open from Wednesday to Sunday (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), with dinner hours Wednesday through Saturday (6pm-10pm on Wednesday, 6pm-11pm Thursday through Saturday), and weekend brunch hours on Sunday from 10:30am-3pm.