Queen Mother Cafe [Mark Aaron]

208 Queen St. W.
Tel: (416) 598-4719
Mon-Sat 11:30am- 1:00am
Sun 12:00pm-12:00am

 

web site: www.queenmothercafe.ca

Located right at Queen near McCaul in the Queen West neighbourhood, I have always been curious to try this place out. With old wood furniture, high pressed tin ceilings, and beautifully restored, the Queen Mother Cafe serves Pan Asian (mostly Thai and Laosian cuisine) as well as some Mediterranean dishes and decadent desserts since 1978.

With a large, beautiful back terrace, and with three large dining areas, in a very dimlight romantic setting, the Queen Mother Cafe offers decadent desserts (locally made by Dufflet), and an array of Thai-Lao inspired dishes. For our dinner, we started with vegetarian cold rolls appetizers (fresh spring rolls filled with tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, carrots, bell peppers, fresh mint and coriander, served with a hot and sweet peanut sauce) a bit liquidy in terms of the sauce, but a highly delicious start to our meal.

For our mains, Wendy ordered the seafood hot pot with a scallop, shrimp and calamari with green beans, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and fresh basil in a spicy Indian curry coconut sauce, served with steamed jasmine rice. Wendy found it very saucy, spicy, and wonderful.

I ordered the spicy vegetarian roti with fresh market vegetables, chickpeas and tofu in a spicy curry sauce, wrapped in a warm Indian Dahl roti, served with cucumber and cherry tomato salad, topped with raita dressing. I did not find it very saucy (more dry) but it was one of the best rotis i have had in a long time. Wendy ordered a sparkling water that was similar to San Pellegrino and I ordered the typical Diet Coke.

Service was exquisite and food presentation and taste was divine. There were not many vegetarian options but the waitress assured me that they were flexible and that they could make anything vegetarian. She also assured me that the peanut sauce was truly vegetarian. Mains are in the price range of $12-$15 and appetizers are $6-$9. Some appetizers include sticky rice steamed in a straw basket with a peanut sauce, edamame (steamed Japanese soybean snaps in a chili soy dipping sauce), nam jeun (three crispy spring rolls filled with a special vegetable mixture, served with hot and sweet peanut sauce ), dim sum quartet (wonton wrapped dim sum filled with chicken and shrimp and served in a soy sauce and garlic chili dipping sauce ), golden triangles (chicken, cumin, ginger, coriander, scallions and curry wrapped in a “samosa” like fashion with a curry and lemon yogourt sauce), and artichoke hummus. Salads includes an arugula walnut salad (YUMM), a mediterranean salad, and your typical plain “house” salad. Entrees include a smoked turkey chili, spinach and ricotta canneloni (super yummy), New Zealand lamb tenderloin, teriyaki salmon, and ping gai (grilled marinated boneless chicken with garlic, coriander, black peppercorns, served with a spicy lime coriander sauce and steamed rice ).

Noodle dishes include pad thai, bah me hang (fresh thin egg noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts, onions, celery, chopped peanuts, sauteed shrimp and golden sliced chicken in a spicy lime coriander sauce, topped with green onions and fresh coriander), and khao soy gai (a Laotian dish of chicken simmered with ginger, fresh Thai herbs, turmeric, curry and coconut milk, served on a bed of fresh bean sprouts, watercress and soft thin egg noodles, garnished with shallots, marinated bok choy and fresh coriander
).

Also serves a Sunday brunch. Some brunch items include a Montreal bagel (St. Viateur) with served plain or with cream cheese, hamburgers served with fries, crêpes with a savoury filling, served with home fries and salad, two eggs, served any way you like it, with home fries, double smoked side bacon and toasted authentic St Viateur Bagel from Montreal, served piping hot, omelete of the day served with home fries and side salad, quiche of the day (served with salad), and a St. Viateur bagel served with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onions, lemon, and fresh dill (a taste of “Jewish and Montreal”)

Accepts all cards. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am- 1:00am and Sun 12:00pm-12:00am. Serves some brunch items (in addition to regular menu) on Sunday. A wonderful place to bring a date. Liquor License.

Advertisements

Peter Pan [Mark Aaron]

373 Queen St. W
416/593-0917

On Sunday September 25, 2005 it was my 31st birthday and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I had arranged for a birthday brunch get together after I successfully finished the marathon (I did it in 3:55:30). After finishing naturally i was sore so our plan was to “brunch it up” on King west or Queen West. We made our way to Queen West hoping to “brunch” at Fressen but it was too far. I had seen Peter Pan many times but never went in. Boy i was missing something very special.

Peter Pan is one of the oldest “restored” restaurants on the Queen west strip between University and Spadina. Think of it as a classy “old fashioned” romantic restaurant. Once inside you have stepped back into the past–I do not mean a 1950’s diner, but a 1920’s or 1930’s classy restaurant, a more “high end” take on the classy diner, something more special.

This place has a great dela of charm. There is a lot of art on the walls (some for sale), wooden booths and a high, pressed-tin ceiling. As well, there are high ornate ceilings, an old-style bar (with built-in stools) and comfortable wooden booths throughout the restaurant. The place is named Peter Pan because it’s at the corner of Peter and Queen I suspect.

The menu offers many appetizers under $10, plus pasta, pizza, and burgers priced between $12-$15. Mains are between $14-$20. The whole place looks like it was never remodeled or re-done, almost completely restored, as if stepping into the past. What nostalgia! We went especially for brunch and we sat at the back terrace that seats about 6 tables and is surrounded by glorious trees and green space. Justine ordered the potato rosti with smoked salmon ($9)which she thought was simply amazing. She was glad to be served water with lemon. I ordered the French toast with maple syrup and fruit ($9). Daniel, Lizzie, and Paulo ordered the omelete with ricotta cheese that was accompanied with salad and pancetta on top ($9) . Wendy ordered the personal size chorizo sausage pizza with olives & artichoke hearts($9). She thought it was very good. All thought that the food was wonderful but the service stank. The young man who served us was frustrated by our size (we were 6 people) and he made nasty facial expression when we asked questions or asked for more water or coffee. When i asked for a mocha (espresso with steamed milk and chocolate) he said it was the girl’s first day on the Espresso bar and she could not make the drink. What a load of crap. A mocha is a single or double espresso with some chocolate syrup or cocoa. Give me a break. When Justine asked for fresh coffee, he gave a nasty facial expression.

Some items of interest include warm beet salad in a dijon vinaigrette with goat cheese, walnuts and a sweet poached pears with star anise ($9). As well, lamb shank ($17) with lentils and kale. Other items include whole wheat fusilli with goat cheese and grilled chicken, mushrooms, and spinach in a light cream sauce, goat cheese and spinach stuffed chicken breast over mashed potatoes and vegetables ($14 and $16 respectively).

Peter Pan also serves a vast array of desserts (cakes, pies, dessert crepes) and obscure types of wine. After finishing our brunch, Lizzie and Justine ordered the fruit dessert crepe but they ran out. To be blunt, service had attitude and was beyond crap. The guy just could not deal with six people. Come on! The women “greeters” were pleasant but this young man was a major grouch!

Serves weekend brunch. Art rotates regularly at Peter Pan.
Accepts all cards. Backyard terrace. Open Mon-Wed noon-midnight; Thurs-Sat noon-1am; Sun noon-11pm.