The White Brick Kitchen
The White Brick Kitchen opened this past week at 641 Bloor, offering a casual setting for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Named for the white brick building facing Euclid, the former Eggsmart location is now home to this family owned eatery helmed by brothers Stephen and Matthew Howell.
These guys are mama's boys – and I mean that in the most wholesome and endearing way possible. It's only fitting that the menu is based on classic American comfort food. Stephen, the head chef tells me "if your mother used to make it, we'll serve something like it..." The concept is simple, "standard food done really well".
Both men are graduates of George Brown; Matthew, the general manager, studied hospitality management, and Stephen, culinary arts. Each seems well suited to their role; Matthew offers really warm and attentive service, Stephen brings the passion for food and experience. Having worked at The Stockyards and butchering for Rowe Farms and Beretta Organic Farms, Stephen is clearly a carnivore's ally and passionate about serving good food made from quality ingredients – the house-made sausages and cured meats are a testament.
Also on hand for service today are the Howell's parents and also another brother (there are four). The right atmosphere is here, but, it is definitely a credit to this warm family dynamic and not so much the decor. The builder's beige walls and tile floors lean more towards diner than family restaurant. The very focused, but casual menu evokes (for me) an eclectic, homey vibe, but here, the decor falls short of the concept. At only a week old, there is surely still room to grow and the space has good potential.
Lunch and dinner menus feature all the familiar classics; mac 'n cheese, tater tots, meatloaf and fried chicken. I'm excited to see Deviled Eggs ($4) on the menu, served with olive tapenade and fried onions. Today, we are here for brunch, but, already I'm plotting my next visit to try the Confit Turkey Club ($14) made with house cured bacon and brown butter sage mayo.
The brunch menu is divided into savoury and sweet. Staples like The Benny ($10) and The Classic ($8 for 2 eggs any style) are on offer, but we order some of the more unique items like, the Muffins and Gravy ($8). The sage sausage and cheddar gravy is super rich and served over a house-made english muffin with a side of homefries. This is total hangover food.
The Scotch-ish Egg ($9) is a playful vegetarian option and features two panko fried, semi-soft eggs on top a thick-cut baguette and finished with brown butter hollandaise. The accompanying arugula and aged provolone salad is tart and cuts the richness well.
On the sweet side, the Breakfast Custard ($7) is a nice twist on the standard yogurt (who eats yogurt when they go out for brunch anyway?) This dessert-like brunch offering features a creamy egg custard generously topped with fresh fruit and cinnamony, maple-honey oats.
The White Brick Kitchen bucks the trends that most restaurants aspire to. The point here is not to be the most trendy or original but instead, to appeal to the nostalgia of the past. These guys could perhaps benefit from a couple weeks to work out the kinks, but the menu seems solid and I can totally see neighbourhood residents embracing this good, old homestyle kitchen.
Liquor license is pending.
Photos by Stephani Buchman