Lady Marmalade, in the former Pulp Kitchen space, ups the ante on standard brunch by offering locally sourced organic food (when possible), and plenty of options for our non-meat eating friends. Mexican inspired ingredients also add an extra twist to simple items. Unlike other Mexican fusion brunch options across the city, all dishes are health- centered. No greasy offerings here as there is thankfully no deep fryer on the premises.
After a tempestuous thunderstorm, we walk into the casual Leslieville eatery late in the afternoon. Perhaps it's partially the weather, but there is an undeniable West Coast feel to the place. Little has changed from the menu, which seems to be a direct copy from the original Victoria location.
At the helm of operations in Toronto is Head Chef Clara's brother, David Cherry. Along with his partner, Natalia Simachkevitch, these Toronto natives have been trying to keep up with the unstoppable crowds since opening in July.
The interior is very retro chic, with most items salvaged or second hand. The eclectic mélange of mismatched furniture gives the place a great vintage vibe. I particularly like the different sets of salt and peppershakers; the grandmas on rocking chairs set being my favourite of the lot. There is even a chalkboard and mini play nook to occupy rambunctious kids.
I get the Club Sandwich ($9.95), which comes stacked and speared beside a ginger- sesame side salad. Overall, the crispy bacon, avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato and spinach pressed between slices of quality bread are good. The freshness of the ingredients is evident with each bite, but I find the chicken breast rather bland.
Yoghurt Parfait ($9.50) is beautifully presented with interchanging layers of fresh fruits, creamy yoghurt and house-made granola. The half cinnamon bagel hanging from the side of the glass is a stylish touch.
They serve Fernwood organic fair trade coffee, a small West Coast company making an intro on the Toronto market, thanks to Lady Marmalade. My mug-full ($2.50) is good, strong and advertised as bottomless, though our server never once came to offer a refill.
Open just over a month ago, Lady Marmalade is still ironing out some minor kinks, but seems to have a good thing going on. It's the kind of place where I could have easily spent the rest of my rainy afternoon, admiring the local art adorning the walls or simply with a book and a cup of coffee.
Photos by Casey Cunningham