Fressen [brunch by Mark Aaron]

478 Queen St. W.
(416) 504-5127
64 Oxford Street
(416) 927-1231

Set in funky Queen West between Spadina and Bathurst, Fressen has always been a place that I have avoided for 2 reasons: the price and the price. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a look at the brunch menu. Dishes were under $10 and the portion size were not pathetic. Unlike my visit in 2002 for my 28th b-day, the dinner menu was wonderful but prices were too high and I left hungry and dissatisfied. Aaron and I decided to try Fressen again last Sunday with an open mind, hoping for the best.

I was happy to see that the menu was not too complicated. Serving traditional items, I opted for something different. I was disappointed to learn that Fressen does not serve diet coke/regular coke since they make their own drinks. Maybe they think they’re too good for serving soda pop or maybe it’s a philosophical or ideological issue. Maybe they’re too hip and cool for soda pop.

With a laid back ambiance, Fressen’s decor can be described as earthy. Spread across a
two-level dining space, Fressen’s colour scheme contains warm tones of copper, tan, light browns, and the restaurant is surrounded by branches of trees. It looks like a calm retreat, a rain forest of sorts, or a tropical jungle- very earthy and organic. Wait time for brunch was much quicker than dinner. The staff at Fressen are friendly, attentive, and patient. Fressen offers a full menu of espresso drinks (w/ organic soy milk). They offered latte, capuccino, macchiato, espresso, all for semi-normal prices ($3.50-$4.50).

I ordered the latte (w/ soy milk). It was slightly sweet and was served in a glass tied with a napkin, how decorative and cute. Aaron ordered Sugar Mountain ($4.00) – a homemade fresh juice of Beets, Carrot, Ginger and Lemon (Fressen makes fresh squeezed juices!). For our mains, I ordered the BBQ tofu scramble ($9.00) -beautifully served with a tomato cilantro salsa, a mango dollop, guacamole, grilled tempeh, a stuffed tomato with sweet potato puree, and a medley of fresh fruit. The serving of the tofu scramble was generous and it had a sweet and sour flavour and was very flavourful and fresh. Aaron ordered the Sweet Corn and Vegetable Fritters ($9.00) – griddle-seared patties filled with corn, zucchini, and sweet potato mixed with spinach and fresh herbs. The dish came with toast, orated potatoes, tomato cilantro salsa, guacamole, grilled tempeh, and a roasted squash stuffed tomato. He enjoyed his meal a lot.

Apart from the screaming baby, who was actually smiling with joy (I wonder what he/she was actually trying to say-he/she kept on looking back to smile). We wanted to yell at the parents for ignoring their satanic child and not even acknowledging/apologizing for his/her behaviour. Despite our disturbance, we thought it was a delicious brunch despite the fact that we sat next to nervy parents who were just enjoying their brunch while their loud, wailing baby was disturbing the whole restaurant on a nice Sunday morning on Mother’s Day.

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