Soul Brunch


Harlem french toast

A few of my friends are big fans of the Harlem set of restaurants here in Toronto, so I decided to take my hungry self to Harlem Underground to try their brunch offerings.

I started with the necessary cup of coffee, which, unfortunately, was pretty weak. However, my server was very friendly, attentive and quick. For eats, I went with the Harlem Toast, described as

Thick slices of egg bread filled with whipped-rum soaked raisin cream cheese dipped in a cinnamon scented egg batter

It never seems like breakfast to me without bacon, so I got a side order of that as well.

Let’s start with the french toast. Now, this is a personal preference, but I like my french toast to be very moist. That wasn’t the case here. When they say “dipped” in the egg batter, they mean it. The toast was too dry/crunchy for my taste, especially around the edges. The batter really didn’t even have the opportunity to soak into the interior of the bread.

It was accompanied with the standard maple syrup, as well as a blueberry sauce. The sauce itself was really lovely. However, once added to the toast, it’s flavour really got lost, I think, due to the dryness of the toast. I’d say the same about the filling, which is too bad. I was really excited by the description, but the promised flavours never really get a chance to stand out. The cream cheese was more like a thick, plain yoghurt in both taste and consistency, so there wasn’t that sweetness I would have expected.

On the up side, I did enjoy the bacon. It wasn’t overly salty, and was cooked just this side of crispy.

I think the next time, I’ll give the sweet potato waffles a try. And there will be a next time. I’ve just heard too many good things about this place to write it off after one dish. And I know there are a lot of people who like a drier french toast. (They must, as I find a lot of restaurants don’t soak the bread for long enough.) It’s just not the one for me.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted March 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Why did I just say ‘plate’ in that post like a dozen times? Ugh…..time to call it a day I’m clearly not in good form.

  2. Posted March 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, Harlem is one of my favourite places to have dinner…I love the soul food, the spicyness and the heat of the home cooking. It’s my version of what real comfort food is all about. That being said, I was totally disappointed in this brunch offering. The two little slices of toast I found found far too dry as well, with the batter not getting a chance to really work into the bread, while the maple syrup was nice, it was in my opinion not thick enough and just dissapeared on my plate. The best thing about it was probably the cut up fresh fruit that was added to the plate. $10 for two little slices of toast, barely covered in egg batter? And where was this rum soaked creme cheese you speak of? It wasn’t on my plate.

    On the upside, the sausage was good. Had a real good heat to it.

    The sweet potato pancakes? Interesting, but again for someone who LOVES anything sweet potato related they weren’t anything special. Had a nice little zip of orange zest to them, which was interesting…..but overall, considering how much I looked forward to this brunch and how long it took me to drive to Harlem – dissapointing. 😦

  3. Posted January 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    That toast looks really, really good 🙂 lol


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