George Street Diner
A welcome slant on the traditional diner breakfast line-up (an Irish breakfast with toasted soda bread and Belfast Ham is offered alongside its Canadian counterpart) gives the George Street Diner a special point of difference in a neighbourhood relatively sparse with breakfast/lunch options for under $10.
On days when I don't feel like giving my appalling grasp of French time in the exercise yard at the marvelous
Other changes include a switch to using fair trade, organic coffee, adding home made lemonade and making in-house desserts like the excellent Dublin apple crumble. Extended summer opening hours are until 9 p.m and a new dinner menu includes a $21.95 three course special.
The friendly staff often get overwhelmed at peak times; this isn't a place to go for brunch if you're in a hurry, but the laid-back atmosphere seems to be enough compensation for regulars who know what to expect. I've even seen one guy that prompted apologetic servers 3 times for his breakfast pass his 30 minute breakfast wait by adding a favourable customer review to Googlemaps via his iPhone.
Given that the recent days of elliptical sunshine have left me feeling like a cat determinedly stalking a ray of light across a wooden floor, I decided to see how amenable The George Street Diner would be to park-destined take out on a fleetingly bright afternoon.
Luckily we arrive just after the mass exodus of George Brown students and be-suited business lunchers that occupy every booth on weekdays between noon and 2 p.m. Our food is made, paid for and packed up to go in under 10 minutes.
My vegetarian friend goes for the board special of Fattoush salad ($9). The salads here aren't the usual dieter demurs that are mandatory inclusions on most diner menus. The fattoush is a base of mixed greens piled high with peppers, tomatoes, falafel, warm pita triangles,capers and egg, finished with an ample drizzle of tahini dressing.
Apart from the falafel component being a little hard the salad is viable competition for any of their other more meat-centric offerings.
Recent late NXNE nights have left my stomach militantly opposed to all non-greasy food so a grilled cheese with tomato and side salad ($6.50) pretty much orders itself. The combination of doughy egg bread and plentiful cheddar hit the spot even though the inclusion of what seems like an entire tomato has created a sort of Trojan horse sandwich that spits out slices with every bite.
Our considerate server must have been wise to this when she included a fistful of napkins and I feel pretty lucky, as a messy eater, to have incidentally boxed up the messiest item on the menu. Anything that buys me one more visit while I still have the illusion of dignity is fine with me...