[REVIEW] Brockton General Toronto Restaurant Review (Mother's Day Brunch)
This Sunday was one of my favourite days of the year- the day to celebrate my wonderful, loving, nurturing, nourishing mom. Last year at this time, I was still recovering from the Southern feast I had spent nearly a whole week preparing for mom and the rest of the gang. But this year, we all had a family wedding to get to the Saturday night beforehand, so I was left short on time to whip up one of my famous blow out meals. It was also mom and dad’s 34 year anniversary, and dad wanted to take her to dinner to celebrate. So with a little scheming on behalf of my sister and I, we planned a really nice day for mom including brunch, shopping and mani-pedis all around. The next question (and most important one, obviously) was where to go to brunch? There is no shortage of delicious mid-day hangover-curing options out there in our beautiful city, but in my case, I had a few parameters to be respective of. First, mom likes basic breakfasts- bacon, eggs, potatoes and toast. Simple enough a request except almost every menu I looked at didn’t offer it. Now, mind you, I wasn’t looking at any of the super busy greasy spoon joints’ menus where I surely would have found mom’s favourite meal. But I really didn’t want to celebrate the woman who birthed me (medication free after being stuck in an elevator while in labour g-d bless her) in some dingy hole in the wall where we would feel rushed to get in and out. While remarkably delicious, those places are for our standard-why-did-I-drink-so-much Sundays, not celebratory ones! So after much deliberation and literally 2 weeks of reading onlie menus (uh, I know), I decided to take mom to Brockton General on Dundas W.
Now, BG has been on my hit list for longer than I care to admit. Since it opened back in 2010, it’s been co-owned and operated by Ottawa natives, Pamela Thomson and Brie Read. As first time restauranteurs, they did what any newbie would likely do- they searched the web on Craigslist and renovated the now BG space into their dream dining destination. Since then, the restaurant has pumped out a pretty impressive line up of chef talent including Guy Rawlings (now Bar Isabel), Alexandra Feswick (now Samuel J. Moore) and today run by Jason Brown. The focus is on local, sustainable ingredients, presented in a manner that, according to their website, is “fresh, approachable, affordable and delicious”.
The 30 seat space is eclectic, rustic and quaint. There are antiques boxes behind the bar, adorable collectable teaspoons hanging on the wall, and lots of sepia photographs around the room. Appropriately suited to the décor, the room felt cozy and warm, even despite the erratic hail-sun-rain routine that was going on outside. Even when the place was full, I felt that the tables offered adequate space for coffees, waters and meals, and the there was never a time when I had to raise my voice to chat with my mom or server.
Speaking of service, here at BG, it suits the lazy Sunday brunch theme to a T. Co-owner Pamela Thomson took care of us for the day, and was extremely charming and personable. Unlike most greasy spoons who usher you in and out (exactly what I was aiming to avoid for M-Day), don’t go to Brockton expecting to wolf down your bacon and run out the door. Cooking with love certainly takes time, especially when presumably there’s only one person in the kitchen. And while our meal start to finish likely took a little over an hour, we at least had starters and coffees to tide us over over before our mains.
The brunch menu reads of classic morning staples that are prepared well, and served in palatable portions. The precise flavours tend to change with the season, or day by day, depending on what ingredients are available, but it apparently tends to follow a generally predictable pattern. There’s always the basic bacon and eggs, a sweet offering, a breakfast hash, an omelette and usually some version of eggs benedict. They also provide the option of ordering your meal a la carte, or for merely a few bucks more, going with the $18 pre-fix and adding a starter or dessert and a drink (boozy or caffeinated). Having all attended a family wedding together the night before, we all decided to skip the mimosa or Caesar and go with a few very tasty cappuccinos instead. When it came to deciding on meals, we all were excited to try the honey lavender panna cotta- the one dessert offering of the day. Alas, by the time we were sat at 12:30 PM, all of the panna cottas had been claimed for the day so we all ended up with the same starter alongside three different mains. We had:
Yogurt with Berries, Honey & Granola ($6 a la carte)
I think I got about 2 spoonfuls out of this, and we all were scraping the bowl. Now, obviously that meant it was delicious- and it was! Who doesn’t like tangy creamy Greek Yogurt with sweet sticky honey and a delicate crunch from granola? But I definitely wished there was more. While I know the pre-fix is a really good value and I actually appreciate the moderate portions that leave me satisfied but not actually stuffed- I have to wonder if this is actually the portion they sell for $6 for a la carte. Considering we felt we got a good deal with the pre-fix, I really didn’t mind, but had I paid $6 for this separately, I would have been disappointed.
Bacon, 2 Eggs (Over Easy), Homefries & Toast ($11 a la carte)
Perfectly cooked bacon so that it was nicely rendered but not overcooked. It had chew without any unpleasant grizzle. This is exactly how I like it. We all agreed that the homefries were totally spot on- flawlessly seasoned and herbaceous, with lots of crispy crunch on the outside and packed with ethereal fluffy qualities within.
Eggs Benedict, Peameal, English Muffin, Hollandaise, Homefries ($13 a la carte)
This was mom’s first time ever trying eggs benedict and she loved every bite (now I know I have more options for her when we go to brunch!). Like the aforementioned regular cut bacon, the peameal wasn’t fatty, or overdone, and the hollandaise was rich and luxurious without feeling too rich or heavy.
Buttermilk Pancakes, Fruit, Bacon, Maple ($11 a la carte)
This is probably how I prefer my pancakes- light, almost crepe like, with a little crispy edge on it and a satisfying chew. Definitely a perfect “healthy” portion for pancakes that left me satiated without feeling sick. I could have used some creativity with the fruit component (maybe a nice compote or fruit syrup), but it was tasty nonetheless.
So for 3 prefixes and an extra cappuccino (I really needed it), the bill came to about $75 including tax and tip- very reasonable for a special breakfast for mom (especially considering most of the other options I checked out would have cost us $75 each!). I was certainly enamored by the cozy intimate atmosphere at BG, and while the service was casual, and the food was simple, I could tell it was all executed with care. I would definitely be interested in making the trek back out for a dinner meal, especially during these upcoming summer months to take advantage of their small patio out front. Thanks BG for starting off mom’s day on a high note. So a big Happy Mothers Day to all of my friends and followers! Whether it was brunch out, a home-made dinner at home, or maybe a box of treats- I hope you all had a chance to celebrate the wonderful women in your lives who are moms with the greatest gift of love and gratitude- food!