416 . 537 . 3000
The burgeoning Dundas West strip excites me for a number of reasons. Most notably because I live there, and the emergence of new restaurants, bars, and art galleries is a great sign for the area and for places to frequent. Eat Cafe, a block or two west of Dovercourt is one such place that opened in mid-summer (2003).
Having already garnered positive reviews from a few publications, I was hoping to find a new restaurant to rival Saving Grace for the preeminent brunch establishment in the immediate locale. Unfortunately, this will not be the one to do it.
From what I discerned about Eat Cafe, I was looking forward to elaborate and creatively conceived dishes that have become synonymous with the trendy, brunch industry. Though the varied menu suggests this would be the case, the end result does not. The first surprise was the simple and minimalist decor that greets you when entering the tiny room with few tables. Not that this was dissapointing, I don’t need to be wowed by elaborate restaurant designs to enjoy the food. The bigger dissapointment came when we received our meals. Having thoroughly enjoyed the appetizers consisting of a spicy, spinach hummous which wasn’t very spicy but quite tasty and thinly, sliced and seasoned bread with some delicous pate; we were anxious to eat our main dishes which sounded much better than they tasted. For some reason, I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours and was eager to dig into a lucious meal to satisfy my aching belly. I was able to sample four of the five dishes we ordered including my own. I think my order was the best of the bunch, a banana and apple stuffed french toast with candied walnuts. However, like the merguez sausage that one of the members of our party complained wasn’t hot; I found it had been cooling a little too long to thoroughly enjoy. I am not one to send food back to the kitchen, but I think in retrospect I would have enjoyed it more if I did. Eat Cafe also has a diverse lunch menu which two people at our table sampled. I tried one of the paninis they ordered and found it bland tasting despite the genoa salami and roasted red peppers among other toppings that graced this sandwich. This bland taste seemed to be a common theme from the comments heard around the table.
It does not look like Eat Cafe will become the regular brunch venture I was hoping; however, they are starting to serve dinner in the fall and while the food was not totally up to snuff there is room for improvement on a diverse menu that begs to be enjoyed.