Edward's 1290 in Leslieville, so i've heard many times through the brunch grapevine, is an east end staple for the city's beloved weekend meal. This spot has caught my eye on many a best brunch list, but being a west-ender I don't often venture as far as the other side of the Don Valley for my Saturday eggs.
Having become very familiar with what the west end has to offer in terms of brunch, my friend and I decide it's about time we head to Leslieville to see what the east side has to offer.
The small storefront, aside from being bright orange, doesn't look like much from the exterior, but as soon as we enter the restaurant we feel immediately welcomed. From the street we walk directly into the open kitchen where we're greeted by various cooks who all offer us a friendly hello as our server guides us to the dining room in the back.
The room is fairly small and cozy, and though there is a quiet buzz of soft music and brunch diners, this space somehow seems a little more reserved, even elegant, compared to the usual bustling, noisy brunch found in some of my favourite weekend haunts.
Our sociable server is quick to bring us two cups of bottomless coffee (2.50) and walk us through the specials. The weekend menu at edwards1290's offers the same sandwiches, salads and all-day breakfasts available throughout the week, as well as a selection of various enticing sweet and savoury dishes offered only on the weekend. Though many of the all-day items catch my eye, it only seems right to order from the weekend-only menu.
After much deliberation, we finally come to a decision, the first of which is an appetizer of four mini chive biscuits ($3.50). The savoury biscuits arrive warm with some soft butter for spreading, just what we need to hold us over 'til the mains arrive.
Today's omelette special (top photo) is roasted tomatoes with herbed ricotta cheese ($12), and when our server informs us he just enjoyed this dish himself, we're sold. The giant, fluffy omelette comes sided with some whole grain toast and a generous heap of unexciting greens, but the omelette itself makes up for the lacklustre side.
The sweet roasted tomatoes and herbed ricotta make an appetizing omelette filling, and the omelette itself is very well prepared.
We also order the poached eggs with Italian sausage, corn bread, home fries and chilli sauce ($14). When the generous bowl containing all of these items lands in front of my dining companion, I immediately experience dish envy. Thankfully after a couple bites of the omelette, my friend pronounces this her favourite of the two, and we happily swap.
Moist, mildly spicy cornbread comes topped with (albeit slightly overcooked) poached eggs, accompanied by excellent herbed home fries and a sweet sauce of tomatoes, herbs and spices that brings the dish together; the final touch is one Italian sausage gracing the top of this delicious mess. Though runnier eggs would have perfected the dish, this, to me, is an excellent example of what a brunch meal should look like.
Though already feeling full, when the scent of today's roasted cauliflower soup ($5) wafts over from the next table, we decide to try a bowl as well. The pureed cauliflower flavoured with warm spices (cinnamon, we wonder?), is topped with two cheese and chive sprinkled crostini, a lovely soup for a gloomy fall day.
An appealingly diverse brunch menu and a welcoming atmosphere make it clear why edwards1290 is considered a neighbourhood favourite, and our satisfying meal leaves us feeling that our foray to the east was worth the journey.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect the name change of the restaurant from Edward Levesque Kitchen to Edward's 1290.
Photos by Taralyn Marshall