The Poet is a sophisticated cafe with Middle Eastern influences that serves brunches and breakfasts, Turkish coffee, and Eastern pastries.
Owner Amir Samimi named it The Poet because he wanted his cafe to soothe people’s emotions the same way that poems do. The ring around the English lettering in the logo on the front window also says The Poet.
An antique Egyptian door provides the heavy front table. The building itself is two hundred years old. Other laser cut frames throughout the cafe mimic laser cut accents.
A kalbas or sosis omelette sandwich ($8) stuffs Ouzeri pita with two eggs, Persian mortadella or beef sausage, and mozzarella. It’s a welcome twist on the standard boring breakfast sandwich, but it’s only served til eleven.
They’re using Pilot for all their coffee, including cappuccinos and flat whites ($4). While I was visiting there was also complimentary watermelon water on offer, and cocktails with Middle Eastern spins are also in the works with plans to serve them from a back bar.
Traditional date pastries are filled with date butter and rolled in either sesame or pistachio topping.
The Persian burger ($10) is surprisingly yummy pita stuffed with spiced local ground beef topped with a tomato that was grilled on top of the burger, finely chopped onions and herbs, house pickles, labneh, sumac, tahini and lettuce. It’s moist and smoky, combining familiar and unexpected flavours.
The Pink Hafez ($5) is a specialty cold drink that combines fresh lemon juice, distilled mint and orange blossoms, sweet saffron rock candy, potently floral rosewater, and crunchy little chia seeds with iced Tea-Ara magic carpet tea.
Turk khavesi ($5), or Turkish coffee, is bitter and strong, and takes a little extra time to delicately prepare.
The Poet Brunch ($18.99) includes a cup of coffee or tea and your choice of sunny or scrambled eggs or one of several omelettes (like tomato, Persian beef, or tahini date) along with six prescribed sides, inspired by Turkish, Lebanese and Persian breakfast cuisine.
There’s a rose jam, a Persian charcuterie of mortadella and gherkins, an herby cucumber salad, a sweet and fatty lump of fresh cream with honey, olives, and a ball of feta, labneh, walnut and tarragon. Those who love brunch are missing out if they haven’t had this style.
Specialty cold drinks like cold brew cafe glace ($6), iced belgian mochas ($4.50) and espresso tonics ($5) are also available here.
At the back there are a few gorgeous little paintings that were touchingly done by Samimi’s mother.
The whole place has an elegant but casual atmosphere, and offers a bit more than the usual cafe fare.