968 Bathurst Street
Following the renovation completed at Grapefruit Moon by Food TV’s Restaurant Makeover in 2003/2004 a media battle erupted between the owner and the show. The owner, Sandy , was upset how the once cozy, familiar space was transformed into a trendy, cold room that lacked the charm of the previous incarnation. Her requests to keep the aura of the original place were ignored as the show painted over the exposed brick wall with a metallic silver and the new equipment was not ready by the completion date. Changes to the menu were disregarded, even though the airing of the show pointed to a lack of competency and vision from the young “chef”. While the controversy may have been played up in the local rags and on the Internet; Grapefruit Moon made the most of the situation and continued to pull in the hordes for their famous brunch as well as dinner.
Since the renovation, I have been back for both dinner and brunch. My dinner experience there definitely exposed the changes in a negative light as I found the environment chilly and the food bland. This may have been due to the wintry, sludgy weather but my recent brunch return was a vast improvement. The metallic sheen of the walls was covered by an array of lovely framed art while the sun streamed through the front to keep the place bright and warm. An eclectic mix of old and new music germinated from a computer behind the counter to keep the place cozy and lively. We took a seat on some stools and were immediately greeted with a warm reception from our waiter behind the counter while being presented with our coffees.
Apparently, the hip thing to do at Grapefruit Moon is to substitute sugar for honey when sweetening coffee. I tried this and was deliciously surprised by the results. Scanning the menu, I decided on what was probably the least healthy item I could find. The rarebit breakfast consisted of poached eggs heaped on two pieces of multigrain toast with peameal bacon and topped with a gooey layer of cheddar cheese sauce. I couldn’t tell if the cheddar cheese sauce consisted of melted Kraft singles but whatever it was oozed well with the rest. Unfortunately, the side of home fries was missing that crunchy element of superior variations but mixing it with the cheese and some hot sauce souped it up enough.
Grapefruit Moon has always struck me as a place that tends to distinguish itself apart from the rest of Toronto’s brunch spots. Not quite downtown, yet still vibing with the laid back attitudes of a “Saving Grace”, Grapefruit Moon’s presence is a fixture in the Annex. TV screwups or not, the changes at Grapefruit Moon may have temporarily strained the casual feel of the restaurant but has certainly not had a negative impact on business.