The Depanneur is easily one of Toronto's most intriguing eateries. It's not so much a restaurant but a blank canvas owned by Len Senator and programmed much like a nightclub with an ever changing cast of cooks coming through.
It's got a kitchen party kind of vibe thanks to its single room stature where the kitchen and dining area all inhabit one space. When it gets busy, the windows fog up and the room can get quite loud but it all just adds to the excitement.
Some events, like workshops and supper clubs (multi-course menus presented by guest chefs) are ticketed while other offerings like weekday dinners and table talks are drop-in only and generally feature just a single dish. It's not licensed but BYOB (no corkage fee) is sometimes encouraged.
Brunch on weekends is the only thing offered with any real regularity and the cash-only affair is helmed by Brad Kurtenbach who has dubbed the current menu as Thick Cut Brunch. It's named in tribute to some of the fattest slabs of bacon I've ever been so fortunate to encounter.
The menu features a dozen breakfast-y things available in a mix and match format. The idea is to piecemeal your own perfect breakfast from a dozen options including free-run eggs ($3), or duck eggs ($4), potato smash hash ($3), sausage patties ($4), sourdough toast with jam ($3)... the list goes on.
Notably there's ample vegan selections too including corn grits ($3), pineapple baked beans ($3), and a sweet potato chickpea panelle ($3).
For those that do eat meat, an order of the thick cut bacon ($4) is a must. Not only is it hand-cut into almost inch-thick slabs, but it's house-cured with molasses that gives it a sweet caramelized flavour when it's fried up.
The aforementioned bacon can also be had in the Flapjack Stack ($12), one of several signature dishes that already incorporates all the good stuff. This dish features two of the fluffiest pancakes I've ever seen layered with bacon, sausage, greens and a runny egg.
The whole thing gets doused in yogurt and marmalade creme fraiche then topped with a medley of seeds and fruits. It's looks insane and tastes insanely delicious.
Sweetening the deal is the fact that bottomless teas and drip coffee are just $2.
There's no doubt why this place is so popular with the locals... which is a nice way to say brace yourself to wait for a table.
Photos by Jesse Milns