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Restaurants

Lady Marmalade

Posted by Beverly Cheng / Reviewed on August 14, 2009 / review policy

Lady Marmalade TorontoLady 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. Lady Marmalade Toronto

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. Lady Marmalade Toronto

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. Lady Marmalade Toronto

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. Lady Marmalade Toronto

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. Lady Marmalade Toronto
Lady Marmalade Toronto
Photos by Casey Cunningham

Discussion

38 Comments

Tim / August 15, 2009 at 07:45 am
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I went for breakfast here with 3 friends earlier this week. We all enjoyed the food (french toast, eggs benny, oatmeal, mushrooms) and the portions were good-sized. But if the kitchen is reading this please give more consideration to those with wheat free diets. Consider sticking some rice or spelt bread in the freezer. You can get the latter from the same place as the rest of the bread (St. John's Bakery) or Brick Street around the corner and offer it (even for a surcharge is fine) as a replacement to the regular stuff since almost all your meals have bread as an essential ingredient. You might also want to consider switching to corn tortillas for all your tortilla based dishes as (a) that's more authentic than flour and (b) they're wheat free. There's no excuse for not serving huevos rancheros with corn tortillas. Easy Breakfast manages to do both these things well so there's proof it can be done.
nutellapr / August 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm
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I don't understand why restaurants import coffee from BC when Toronto has a great roaster around the corner. ROASTED coffee goes stale in only 5 days so there's no way they're getting it in from Victoria and serving it fresh. Other than that, the place looks great. Worth checking out.
Louise / August 16, 2009 at 01:04 pm
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I work close to here and haven't tried them yet. Looks good though.
j_king / August 17, 2009 at 01:06 pm
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Went for breakfast there on Sunday. Busy! You might want to avoid it on a hot day as there were no fans about to keep some air moving. Eating hot food in the humid heat without a breeze can make one a little... uneasy.

They don't do eggs.. well actually they only do poached or scrambled. Their excuse wasn't really good if you've ever been a short-order cook before... but understandable. Getting a lot of orders moving in frying pans must be hard during a breakfast rush. However, the meal was great and presented well.

The decor was trendy and cute. Mismatched furniture and "vintage" feel are all the rage. This place has it in spades and can be rather charming. They even have those old white mugs with the green print... reminds me of a long time ago.

Overall it's rather fancy. I prefer the classic open-kitchen diner-style breakfast myself and if that's your taste as well, you will want to skip this place. It's more of a fine bistro. This review is quite good and for a change of pace for this greasy-diner-connoisseur, Lady Marmalade is a definitely pleasant experience.
Avtar replying to a comment from Tim / September 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm
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Totally agree with Tim - a lot of people nowadays have wheat allergies, or just prefer avoiding it. I would gladly pay more for alternatives. I wouldn't mind trying out Fernwood when I'm out west but like nutellapr said, Merchants of Green Coffee are, maybe, a 10 minute bike ride away. That being said.. still looking forward to going here for brunch.
Tanya / November 4, 2009 at 02:26 pm
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The vibe here is pretty cool, the menu has a lot of great options and the food is delicious. However, I've been here twice and both times the services was absolutely terrible.
ased / November 8, 2009 at 06:11 pm
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great food but service was just average. didn't have some of the food available, like poutine or the daily soup (which is supposed to be the special of the day?!)
Jeremy / November 16, 2009 at 04:51 pm
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I live around the corner and have eaten here 3 times and have loved every meal. Last saturday i had the Strawberry and Chocolate french toast...it was amazing.
HMV / December 9, 2009 at 12:54 am
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Great breakfast joint. Definitely going back again. Toast and Bonjour Brioche have competition.
RTS / April 12, 2010 at 02:13 am
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Just went for brunch today. I found the service super friendly and the food incredible. Ordered the Benny with the brie, avocado and bacon and it was out of this world. Will definitely go back even though it's a good half hour drive from my house.
The Lam / May 8, 2010 at 05:57 pm
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I went for the first time too today. I had the Huevos Migas, which was pretty delicious. It's a little pricey I'd say, but it's worth each penny.
Canadian Patriot / May 16, 2010 at 10:59 am
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Food quality was exceptional but you pay for it and get smaller portions. The place had a charm to it. Where they failed on me was I ordered a cup of coffee and you really had to chase the waitresses for the refills.
Danielle / May 31, 2010 at 11:01 am
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Yummiest! The tofu scramble is the best thing I've ever had. I don't love breakfast foods (eggs are bleck!), so it's great to have an option out there.

100% Delicious!
yum / October 2, 2010 at 11:26 am
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I visited their victoria location a few years ago, absolutely loved it, and was very happy to hear they would be opening a toronto spot.
I recently was able to go for brunch and the food is even better than I remembered!
Looks like I'll be making a few more trips to the east end in the near future.
V / January 4, 2011 at 01:35 pm
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The decor is not that nice, but the food totally makes up for it. Great combination of ingredients. Check it out.
Jake / January 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
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Excellent staff, great menu, and great food. A welcome addition to the brunch rotation, esp in the east end. Try to come before 1030 though (obviously).
Janice / January 7, 2011 at 08:46 pm
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I wish this site would add the locations of all the cafe's and restaurants!!!
jen / May 28, 2011 at 06:12 am
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Whenever i pass by this restaurant on sundays there's always a line up and I was curious of what sorts of food they serve. Now I know thanks to your review and peoples comments.
Bo / August 20, 2011 at 11:02 pm
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WORST EXPERIENCE EVER. This place was snobbish and the staff was rude!
I was with my wife and my 9 month old baby today. There was line so my wife waited in the car with the baby while I waited at the door. When a table opened up, I called my wife to come over. The staff said they have a policy I must have all parties here before they can seat us. I told her my wife is just crossing the road and will be here in 30 secs. She said there is a lineup so she must give the table to the next party. I could not believe they wouldn't even give us 30 secs! We got so pissed we left immediately!

This place definitely not baby friendly and have very snobbish staff. DO NOT GO HERE!

I hope the owner of this place reads this. This is the result of your snobbish service!!!
Gerta replying to a comment from Bo / August 21, 2011 at 06:26 pm
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I agree Bo; the owner needs a firm SPANKING. I have two grandchildren and no way are we going there!!
Sarah C / November 6, 2011 at 04:38 pm
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This place is delicious! Love, love, LOVE their french toast!
Jason Kucherawy replying to a comment from Janice / December 29, 2011 at 06:37 pm
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They do add the location. Look at the right side of the site, there is a Google map with the address and everything.
Siwan / August 4, 2012 at 10:38 am
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That was the best breakfast my whole family had! Wish we had known about it earlier. Will be here again within this week!
Eleanor / September 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm
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I have gone here from time to time with friends and have even used this place for our production office lunches as well, however that will all STOP from this moment on. They refuse to take lunch orders or on this occasion, ONE lunch order. We tried calling it in earlier at 1040am and they were already "too busy"! REALLY? It's Lady Marmalade for Pete's sake. Unbelievable. I'm over it. There are many restos out there that actually want to serve people and make money. Oh well...
kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty / October 13, 2012 at 11:49 am
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Having just moved here from the West coast I was stoked to find out our favorite breakfast place in Victoria had a sister location in Toronto. A bit of home in the new home, I guess.

I find the environment everything a good breakfast place should be: grandma's kitchen table and coffee cups, independent artists on the walls, bright, excellent coffee, chilled out yet flavorful and unique food (with veggie and gluten free options!) and the service is unobtrusive yet if you take the time to engage with the server she/he is happy to chat/laugh.

Smokin' busy - a line up for breakfast after 8:30am is standard.. just take a chill pill and wait. it's not going to change your life but it's highly enjoyable.

p.s. we had the pulled pork eggs benny (i know, pulled pork has been DONE - but there's a reason..it's good). also had the huevos - not bad. good guac and the scrambled eggs were cooked well.
Janis / November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am
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Food is good, hours are ridiculous who closes in Toronto at 3? If they actually had decent hours I would think of going more often but no way I am fighting crowds for the few measly hours they are open...
Laylalu replying to a comment from Tim / December 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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I agree with everything you said except for the corn, Corn is genetically modified it is not good and just causes inflammation in the joint which should be avoided. But hey, if you are at a christmas party or you go to a friend's house 1 time wont hurt. (i don't want to be rude, i just wanted to give my opinion) :)
Michelle / February 10, 2013 at 03:36 pm
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I have been here twice now and both times were great! The first time, I went with a group of friends during prime brunch hour and we had to wait. I went again this morning with my husband and everything was perfect. It was busy, but generally as soon as anyone lined up a table became free - also we went around 9am. The food was quick and the service was great.

Also, I noticed a lot of complaints about this place not being kid-friendly but there were about 7 toddlers there when we arrived and there didn't seem to be any issues. The staff even dealt graciously with the one table whose kid basically tossed a whole plate of scrambled eggs onto the floor bit by bit.
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kittykat / May 24, 2013 at 08:14 pm
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I live down the street and just went here this week! I had the bacon/brie/avocado bennie. The hollandaise is to die for! A++++++
Yves / June 5, 2013 at 06:48 pm
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Was recently there with a friend on a weekday. we both enjoyed our breakfast with good service with a total bill of $23.00 our server assumed she was getting a 7$ tip on the meal. Having worked in that industry when I was younger I had always felt that was a faux-pas
Noomi / August 21, 2013 at 03:36 pm
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I went there when I was living in Toronto. I enjoy the fact they serve organic food. The staff was friendly. The only bad aspect was the noise, the place is kind of small and very crowded, so I wasn't very surprised of this actually. Anyway, I can still remember this wonderful taste of the brunch I had there haha.
Kavita / March 31, 2014 at 12:15 am
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I went there with a party of 6 at 1 pm on a Sunday and we waited over an hour to get seated... The food was good- but definitely not worth the hour's wait... If you are two or three people- it's fine... But it's definitely too small for larger groups.
goose replying to a comment from Gerta / April 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm
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not 'baby friendly'? awesome thanks for the tip, I'm going there now!!
Marcia / June 28, 2014 at 08:23 am
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With all the hype surrounding this place, we couldn't wait to give it a go. Had to wait in line forever only to be presented with mediocre food and supercilious service (seriously! What IS it with hipsters these days?). Definitely not worth the wait or the money.
Will / September 15, 2014 at 05:00 pm
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Big fan. Really good service (accommodating to a table of 1 even if really busy!), everything I had was tasty and not too expensive and fast. That beet, apple and ginger juice is mega. Just all round good really. There was a queue on a monday at midday so must have a good reputation - but I can see why.
yahman38 / September 20, 2014 at 06:41 pm
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I showed up early, around quarter after eight on a Saturday morning. I was by myself and got a seat right away. Soon afterwards, the place started filling up.

It is definitely a family restaurant on the weekends. The staff are very friendly with babies and little children.

I ordered the eggs benny with spinach. The coffee was Pilot brand and it was a bottomless cup. The food came within a short time. The server recommended the house made habenaro sauce and it definitely enhanced the flavour of the food. The eggs benny was competent, but not spectacular.

I never felt rushed and I stayed for about 45 minutes to an hour. The staff were friendly.

Overall, I would rate this dining experience a 7.5 out of 10. The rating would be higher, but the food did not match the reputation of Lady Marmalade that precedes it.

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