Toronto Eaton Centre
220 Yonge Street (corner Shuter)
Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre
1 Bass Pro Mills Drive Unit # 401
Tel.: (905) 761-3391
Last Sunday Aaron, Wendy, Daniel, my cousin Beth, and I bought tickets to see Wicked at the Canon Theatre (formerly the Pantages) in downtown Toronto. We needed a place for brunch that we had not been to yet, and somewhere relatively close to the theatre. I chose Eggspectation because i remember enjoying it when living in Montreal. My friend Vivian used to go there weekly on her brunch excursions and I remember it has the ambiance and the food variety that we all could enjoy. Aaron used to dine there in his McGill days and he always enjoyed the Yoke Around the Clock (see description below). Daniel and Aaron are not very picky, but Beth, Wendy, and I have specific needs that we need attended to. Wendy does not eat any egg dishes and Beth and I tend to eat healthy dishes. I was certain that there would be many alternative dishes for us all. I looked at the menu and there were many dishes that she would be pleased with.
There are 2 Eggspecations in the GTA; one at Yonge/Dundas in downtown Toronto and the other in the Vaughan Mills malls (second largest mall in Canada) in Vaughan, a city north of Toronto. We opted to go to the Yonge/Dundas located because of its proximity to the theatre and because we trusted the name Eggspectation. Eggspectation was popular in Quebec and known as a reliable, popular chain that specialized in creative and tasty egg dishes serving huge portions and affordable prices. Times have changed.
With Toronto’s larger-than-life obsession with brunch, I suspect Eggspectation will be very popular with Toronto folk. It’s even more popular situated in the Yonge/Dundas tourist trap. As we suspected, upon our arrival on Sunday morning, there was a lineup. I did call ahead to reserve a table for 5 but was promptly refused. The person told me, with confidance that we would only have to wait 10-15 mins. We were alittle stressed with the lineup but we only had to wait about 20 minutes before we were seated. I was relieved.
This particular Eggspectation looks identical to every other one- remember, it’s a chain afterall. Lacking originality, this place tries too hard to resemble a unique brunch spot. It does have that rustic look with wrought iron decor, wood tables and seats, exposed brick walls, with exposed industrial ceilings, and an overall homey feel. However, despite their attempt to look charming, it cannot escape being a chain.
Eggspectation specializes in creative egg dishes with a huge assortment of choice, ranging from every type of omelete you can think of, to a medley of sweet and savoury crepes. Eggspecation also serves an assortment of healthy and hearty salads, club sandwiches, 10 types of eggs benedict dishes, build your own omeletes, fruit and granola with yogourt, as well as potato latkes, pasta dishes, a variety of burgers (the mango burger sounds interesting!) home fries, and various salads.
The problem I have with Eggspectation is that I find it lacks charm. It tries to hard to be unique, cosy, grass-roots but it fails. Firstly, it’s too large and all restaurants in this chain look the same- there is no originality and character. It’s very “cookie-cutter”. Underneath the rustic, cosy, homey decor, it’s a bustling bundle of energy, noise, and anxiety. It’s like stepping into a casino where there is an excess of everything: noise, people, food, sweat, and more noise. I could not relax. The energy was so thick, you can almost taste it. Staff are young, energectic, and friendly, but overworked and underpaid, so expect them to be forgetful. Our waiter was very friendly, patient, and accomodating, but he forgot to bring us a basket of bread (a standard thing to do!) and it took forever for him to bring water for our table (a standard thing to do!)
Eggspectation also has a variety of kitschy names for their dishes. Some Signature Egg dishes include the Eggstreme, Eggwhat?, Eggspectation, Yoke Around the Clock, Eggsiliration, Uneggspected, Oy Vegg, Egg-Chilada, Eggcitement, Eggstravaganza, and Eggsuberant. Signature Benedicts include Smoked Salmon Benedict, Classic Benedict, Smoked Salmon Benedict, Florentine Benedict, Boca Raton Benedict, Waffle Benedict, Breton Benedict, Bagel Benedict, California Benedict, and Chicken Benedict. Sandwiches are three-layers and are variations of the traditional Club sandwich. Crepes include an assortment of sweet and savoury varieties (Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Mushrooms with Three Cheese, Ham, Asparagus, Mushrooms with Three Cheese, Tex Mex, Vegetable Dream, and Apple and Spice).
For my order, I ordered an egg white omelete with a medley of vegetables, including onion, green and red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, mushroom, and tomato. Omeletes come with toast and home fries and was $8.99 but it was an extra $1.49 to make the omelete an egg white. I asked to substitute my salad instead of the gross home fries and toast, so it cost an additional $2.49. Salad was composed of spring greens in a nice light balsalmic viniagrette. I was not happy, with the extra charges but unlike “By The Way Cafe” the charges were upfront and not hidden in the menu.
Aaron ordered the Yoke Around the Clock (toasted bagel cut in half, grilled with two sunny eggs in the holes of the bagel and covered with bacon and melted cheese, served with grilled potatoes and fruit garnish.). Daniel ordered Eggstreme (smoked salmon, grilled tomatoes and two eggs (any style), with capers, onions and toasted bagel). He also ordered a side of a potato latke.
Beth ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict (Two eggs poached with smoked salmon, gruyere cheese with classic hollandaise sauce.), Wendy ordered the three-decker Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich (sliced grilled chicken, tomatoes, bacon, lettuce and mayonnaise with fries), which was large and very filling.
Overall, we were happy but there was a sense of neutrality amongst the group. It was good food, good service, but this was not a place where I can say “Wow, what an amazing experience, I’ll have to come back!”
Food is mediocre. Can be noisy with anxious, pushy tourists who dine before going to the theatre. Has liquor license. Menu is so large and extensive, you will be able to find something for anyone. Does not accept reservations during weekend. Not very condusive to deep conversations. Expect lineups for weekend brunch. Accepts all cards. Open seven days per week 6:30am-9:00pm.