I’m not a big breakfast person, but I love going out for brunch. There’s just something so special about sharing a Sunday meal with a good friend (or a few). This past weekend, I was invited to taste the French-inspired cuisine of Chef Bruno Beaudoin at The Artisan Baker.
I was waiting outside for my photographer to arrive when I heard a friendly “bonjour” from above. I looked up and saw Chef Beaudoin on a tall ladder smiling down. In typical French fashion, the Chef was perfecting his sign, chairs and flowers in preparation for a busy day ahead. This brief encounter reminded me so much of the cafés and restaurants we visited in Paris. Sigh…
Trained in France, Chef Beaudoin has over 30 years of culinary experience. So – needless to say – the brunch was a dream. We started our meal with mimosas and probably the best Eggs Benedict I’ve had in the city. The eggs were perfectly poached (a skill that takes years to master), the hollandaise was full-bodied and the croissant-style pastry was light and fluffy. But it gets better, it’s served with amazing rosti potatoes topped with caramelized onions and tomatoes. This dish ($15.95) is perfection.
Next up was the Croque Monsieur (which happens to be one of my favourite comfort foods). It was the first time I had the sandwich with swiss cheese (usually it’s stuffed with Gruyère) and it was fantastic. The béchamel sauce on top was heavenly. We ordered it with a side of quinoa salad which I wasn’t a fan of, but my photog enjoyed. Oh, and we also had the amazing French Onion Soup. In fact, it was so amazing that we forgot to take a photo of it! Make sure you dig deep with each spoon.
Never tell a chef you don’t like something, because they will almost always try to change your mind! In this case, Chef Beaudoin took on a challenge and persuaded me to try his quiche. And I’m glad he did because it tasted like no other quiche I’ve had (I was turned off at an early age). His Lorraine (with ham) and spinach quiches were delightful. And don’t be fooled by the size of the slices below – we asked for a taste of each (the table beside us got the full portion which looked larger than my head).
By this point we were stuffed to the brim, but we couldn’t walk away from a French restaurant without trying some of the pastries and desserts. So I had a beautifully poured macchiato and we chatted a bit while our stomachs made room for more gluttony. Looking around at the other tables, it felt like everyone was in the same boat. And, unlike many brunch spots in the city, the servers didn’t make anyone feel rushed (a big plus, given the place was packed).
Good thing we made room because the almond croissant is a must-have. Flaky, not too sweet and made with European-style butter (85% butterfat content). Yup, melt-in-your-mouth goodness…
We also indulged in an éclair (which we weren’t big fans of) and a mille-feuille (which we loved).
Overall, our brunch at The Artisan Baker was incredible. The service was great, the quality of the food was outstanding and Bruno and Ronit are the kind of local business owners I love supporting. They’re passionate, talented and incredibly kind. We can’t wait to try their dinner menu – especially the coq au vin!
Things you should know:
- They take reservations for brunch (a novelty in the city).
- They serve breakfast until 3 pm on Saturdays and 5 pm on Sundays.
- They have a 2 for 1 dinner entrée special until the end of August.
- You can purchase confits, pâtés, cheeses, meats and gourmet coffees to take home.
- All of the baked goods are made daily onsite.
Special thanks to The Artisan Baker for hosting us for brunch. As always, all reviews and opinions are entirely our own.