Lured in by the curated entrance, I found myself pleasantly surprised by having to choose to eat cuisine for brunch that wasn’t my norm. Yet, completely if not more satisfied with this food than my go to scrambled eggs, hash browns , sausage and toast.
Break free and try the Chilaquiles de Pollo. Layers of corn chips with braised chicken, cotija, mole poblano and a free range egg on top. The crunch married so well with the savoury sauce and braised chicken.
A nice alternative instead of toast was the quince cake to start. It tasted like little morsels of vanilla cake.
Everything in the space was inviting and comfortable including the service.
Along queen street west, you’ll find Mercat del Carmen, a cafe and a small Spanish market offering everything from coffee to prepared foods to go.
It’s a small but comfortable space punctuated by the beauty of the tiles that were imported from Valencia. It was what initially drew me into the space. The second, very noticeable decorative item, is the wall sized image of Carmen. No matter where you are, you feel she is looking at you.
The star of course is the food. A measure of any tapas is it the classic tortilla which I am glad to say I was quite satisfied with. They paired it with the perfect set of marinated olives.
I was treated by the cafe, to a sugar cookie covered in dulce de leche. Enough crunch and sweetness to make those last drops of coffee extremely worthwhile.
Nestled among the fashionable boutiques on Mott Street is Cafe Gitane. A restaurant that extols an interesting combination of flavours: French, Moroccan and Arabic.
This was not what I would usually go for during brunch. However, it was a refreshing change. It’s a comfortable, less curated space than its neighbours.
Coming later in the afternoon after the usual breakfast rush makes it easy to snag a table at this usually busy spot.
Everything we had such great depths of flavour and just the perfect kick of spice. I had ordered the baked eggs with merguez sausages, basil, tomato sauce and cream. My friend ordered the most popular item: the baked eggs sandwich with merguez sausages, parmesan cheese, chipotle mayo on a french baguette. Either item are definite pleasers.
A nice extra are the chocolates that come with your coffee.
Even on a stormy winter day, you still have to wait for a table. That tells you this place is popular. We were told we would have to wait up to an hour and half but I find that to be a great technique to weed folks out. Instead, we came back in less than an hour and were seated immediately.
A server comes up to your party, takes your name and writes it on the wall. Efficient.
Sitting there, it definitely has a very quaint French vibe. Although, I can’t recall places in Paris this packed but I suppose it might be because a lot of Paris looks like this. Oh, the irony.
Despite the hoards of people constantly coming in, the servers are well-oiled professional machines. Promptly arriving at your table and giving you time if needed to order your morning brew.
When in Rome or in this case Paris, I ordered the classic croque monsieur. It indeed lived up to its melted gruyere cheese and classic ham goodness. The pickles paired so well with each bite. The savoury with the sour of the pickle. A heavenly combination I can still taste. Oh, be warned! This does get rather filling.
Equally as good, the croque madame. Similar to the above dish but comes with a sunny-side egg. So, if you like a bit more cholesterol to your dish, try that one.
The coffee was a wonderful compliment. I should have checked the roaster they used.
Was worth the wait? Yes.
Would I go there again? Absolutely.
5 stars for the service
3.5 stars for the tiny water closet but extra half point is for the architectural details.