Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekend Brunch @ The Drake Hotel, Toronto

Photo Credit - Wil Lau
I recently moved across the street from The Drake Hotel in Toronto and find myself meeting people here all the time for coffee, drinks or brunch. It's an easy spot with reliable food, a laid-back vibe and cool decor. Here's the latest from our recent visit for brunch....
The Warm Scone Share Plate ($7.95) is named the best in the city by The Toronto Star. I love that they are bursting with berries and begging to be smothered in cream and jam. Yes, they are the best blueberry scones in Toronto - but #1 scone in the city still goes to The King Edward Hotel because the Queen Mum is never wrong. If you're starving, I recommend ordering these to get you started with a hot cup of dark coffee.
I rarely order anything besides The Southern Fried Chicken + Waffles ($14.75).  It's soul food with a little bit of sweet and salty and a whole lot of crunch. The Drake Hotel version is a herbed waffle with three pieces of crispy fried chicken, a pat of melted butter and sweet Niagara cherry jam - all smothered in maple syrup. If breakfast could be like this everyday, I would be a 400-pound woman. I'm not sure what they do to the chicken here, but the skin is practically curling over because it's so crispy. The meat is still moist on the inside. Drake Hotel Chicken + Waffles beats any other I've had in the city AND it beats Roscoe's Chicken + Waffles in LA.
Best way to cure a hangover? More alcohol! Ok, I don't know if this is true, but the cocktails were too hard to resist, even after I made a long-winded speech about how I need to cut down on drinking. The Apricot Fizz ($9) was calling my name. Made with apricot brandy, lemon + lime juice, sugar and soda - it packs a stronger punch than your typical mimosa. Love Caesars? The Drake's Gin + Cucumber Caesar ($13) is my absolute favourite and a refreshing twist to your typical Clamato juice.

The Wild Blueberry + Ricotta Pancakes ($11.95) are light and fluffy pieces of soft pillowy perfection. Three pancakes are topped with wild blueberry compote and then drizzled in maple syrup. We added a side of Bacon ($3.50). Prices are fairly reasonable - I feel good about brunch when menu items are all under 15 bucks. Especially when you've gone out on Saturday too.
Homeboy Paul can't resist the side of Home Fries ($4) that are seasoned and tossed with sauteed onions
The Drake serves the same menu in the cafe as they do in the lounge and dining room, and each space is a little bit different. The Drake Cafe is bright, sunny and cheery. The lounge is a bit more moody with more comfortable banquette seating and better for groups. Here I am chilling in front of some well-weathered books in the back dining room which is an extension of the lounge space. The side patio off of the cafe opens up in the warmer months.
 Brunch is kid-friendly, so you may have to navigate past a Bugaboo or two. There's even a Little Jack menu for ages 10 & under.
I like that the dining room, lounge (above) and cafe are all open for brunch service. It makes the wait less painful and you rarely have to wait long. The crowd is a mixed bunch of babies, parents, hungover hipsters, groups of girlfriends, in-laws, out-of-towners and couples.
A quick pic of the Eggs Benny from the last time I had brunch in the cafe
1150 Queen Street West – Toronto (416) 531-5042
Brunch is served on the weekends from 9 am until 4 pm. A smaller breakfast menu is served Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 2 pm. If it's your first visit to The Drake, make sure you take a walk around all their public spaces to check out all the different art installations. I always love to bring my out-of-town guests into the photo booth (back lobby) for an impromptu photo shoot.
Wanna WIN Brunch for Two @ The Drake Hotel? We have a $50 gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader. Here's all you gotta do:
1) Hit up our Facebook Page
2) Find the Drake Hotel Brunch string and comment by telling us how you like your eggs
We'll pick a winner at random next Monday. Good luck!

***The contest is now CLOSED*** - Congratulations to winner Jill Angelstad!

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