Soho Bistro has long been a fixture at the corner of Yonge and Woburn (north of Lawrence). And while the locals have mixed views and generally pan the place for their dinner service, brunch has always been a solid meal here. Head Chef Jeyendiran Sivakumaran prides himself on an almost exclusively house-made menu and brunch provides some solid choices to give his best creations a go.
Flanked by two patios (one facing Yonge Street and a shady option on the Woburn side), the interior is a galley style bistro space with an open kitchen. A second floor accommodates groups and parties, which boasts a brave 'create your own' menu for any celebration. An under-utilized bar hovers and interrupts the flow of the room, and with no stools to sit at it, seems like a complete waste of space. Miss-matched chairs dot the rickety tables.
While the menu features everything from everywhere, regulars know to stick to the basics and skip through to the pizzas and risottos. Brunch offers everything from standard eggs and bacon options to fancier crepes and quiches. Fresh squeezed OJ is a solid bet ($2.99) offering a distinctly pulpy flavour. Morning Glories are also an option for those looking for a hair of the dog solution. Service is swift, with usually only one server managing the entire restaurant.
With five different styles of the classic Eggs Benedict to sample, we tucked in for the standard version ($10.99) as well as the healthier spinach-focused Eggs Florentine (also $10.99). Both come with sides of mixed greens (with a simple balsamic dressing) and their highly addictive home fries. We actually ordered another side of these potatoes ($2.99) after ours disappeared too quickly.
The eggs themselves are glorious, oozy and soft, running onto the plate to further enhance the equally impressive Hollandaise sauce, which is not too vinegary, and not too buttery. This is definitely one of those times when a simple dish can get killed by the wrong hands. Each component can ruin the next, and with the lightly toasted English muffins hanging in to soak it all up, these benny's are tough to beat.
Fluffy Belgian waffles ($8.99) are similarly show stopping, with a side of bacon, eggs and seasonal fruit (bonus points for not being melon). The portion-controlled packets of "maple syrup" are sad and inefficient, and pancake syrup is an insult to all good breakfasts (and lunches and dinners too if you're a maple freak like me).
Kid-sized chicken fingers and fries ($6.99) are always a good way to keep the munchkins quiet. Although their claim of 'everything is house made' gets a bit challenged when the three fingers arrive, looking and tasting like frozen boxed castoffs.
While some may be put off by the dated interior, freakishly orange bathrooms and general staleness of the restaurant, I celebrate it for what it does do right, making a mean Eggs Benedict, consistently.