4.25 Stars – Overall Experience
3.75 Stars – Price
4.00 Stars – Service
4.25 Stars – Food
3.50 Stars – Atmosphere
THE GRAND PLATTER
COCONUT CRUSTED FRENCH TOAST
BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP RED FIFE PANCAKES
Vegan food never looked so appealing! Doug McNish serves up some breakfast classics and some not so traditional dishes at his Public Kitchen restaurant for Sunday Brunch – all meat, dairy and egg free.
Doug McNish Public Kitchen is located in a small strip mall in North York, Toronto. Based on the menu prices, we were expecting a dining (not diner) experience, but instead, we were greeted to more of a casual greasy spoon atmosphere. Since seating is limited at popular times like Sunday brunch, we strongly suggest you to make reservations in advance to ensure a spot. You may be asked for a credit card to secure your reservation. Despite the limitations, the restaurant is light and clean and the 60s music was in full swing. Nice for a relaxed meal out with friends or family.
Our server was very helpful, sweet and patient as none of us had ever been to the restaurant before and two of us (my meat-eating mom and dad) were a bit skeptical about vegan food. She helped point us in the right direction with recommendations and was very friendly. She checked on us regularly to make sure we were enjoying ourselves, (but in an overbearing way) which added to the overall pleasant dining experience.
I have never had a free appetizer come out at a brunch, but placed on our table was a bowl of popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast (adds cheesy flavour) to tide us over while we waited for our food. (Smart move as I imagine some of these upscale vegan dishes can take a while to make.)
My main course was THE GRAND PLATTER which included cheesy scrambled tofu with caramelized onions, mushrooms and peppers, white wine garlic sautéed greens, herbed home fries, tempeh bacon, black bean sweet potato chili, toast and whipped cashew butter. I have never been a scrambled eggs fan, but I loved the texture and flavours of the tofu scramble (perhaps because it didn’t have that eggy taste). The chili was excellent and hearty with a very strong tomato-based flavour. The home fries were pretty standard (my dad enjoyed those) and I really liked the garlic greens. The dish was well balanced with carbs, protein and vegetables, leaving me well satisfied.
My mom chose the COCONUT CRUSTED FRENCH TOAST which, if I were to go back again, I would 100% order a plate of that for myself! The french toast had a great crunchy texture thanks to the coconut crusting and was delightfully sweet. It was very beautifully presented thanks to the edible flowers which popped on the stark white plate. My mom loved the dish and thought her first vegan experience was much more satisfying than she expected. The only thing she didn’t like was the tempeh bacon (she said the taste and texture was nothing like bacon and more like fried flour), but I actually enjoyed it as I have no interest in anything remotely bacon.
Last was my fathers dish which unfortunately he did not love. It was a the weekend special and consisted of Banana Chocolate Chip Red Fife Pancakes. I got to try a bite and thought they really delivered on what they promised (banana and chocolate flavour to the max), but red fife has a very distinct flavour so if you are expecting a light fluffy white generic pancake, I can see how the taste could be a little off-putting. Despite my dad not loving his dish, it was still eaten and, again, the plate was beautifully presented.
Duh! This is a vegan restaurant so everything is not only vegetarian friendly but vegan friendly as well (and lots of gluten free options too)!
Not the cheapest meal – about $16-18 per dish, but portions are good, everything is house made (except for maple syrup) and attempted to be sourced locally. You can tell a lot of love goes into each dish. Not a place I can dine often, but definitely a treat for a vegetarian like me.
The restaurant also sells single or double portion meals in containers to heat up at home. My parents treated me to a butternut mac and cheese for $15. Thanks Mom and Dad!
Time of Brunch: 12:00 pm
Date: Sun Feb 25th, 2018
For more information be sure to visit their website at http://dougmcnish.com