Madame Levant gives traditional brunch an injection of Levantine cuisine, where housemade hummus and halwa meet pancakes and eggs benny.
If you're one of the fortunate who snags a spot at this homey restaurant, you'll have until around 2:30 p.m. daily to try a lean but mean one-of-a-kind brunch menu that offers a taste of the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Owner and chef Himi Hunaidi, who trained in France and taught cooking classes in L.A., charmed her way through Leslieville pot lucks before deciding to open up this colourful restaurant.
Aside from offering cups of mint tea and Hale coffee (it's a bottomless cup for $3—sign me up) this seasonal menu brings together family recipes from Jordon, plus olive oil from her parents' farm, and za'atar made by her aunt, with local produce.
The fetteh bowl ($11.50), which, at first, just looks like a giant order of hummus is actually a layered dish made with chickpeas and hummus puree, that's unreal and not over creamy.
Pita croutons inside break up the richness of the bowl, and it's surprisingly light with scallions and pine nuts. Dig your spoon all the way in to get a bit of everything, and make sure to try some of those olives and delicious tetbileh sauce.
Delicious fried cauliflowers mixed with parsley and onions come as part of the order of m'shaut fritters ($14.50). It comes with an addictive side of housemade shutta sauce made with red chilli paste, an halved jalapeno, and sumac spread. Plus, it's totally gluten-free.
The patty in the kafta burger uses a mix of lamb and beef meat from Ghadir Meat. Spiced with onion and parsley, baked in tahini sauce, and served with thin potato slices, its slightly sweet brioche bun is dipped in meat gravy.
I'm impressed by the fact it manages to hold its shape despite sitting in its own sauces for some time. It comes with a side of yam fries covered in za'atar.
Sweet and salty make a perfect Canadian-Levantine marriage on the open-faced toast ($11)served with thick halloum cheese slices and maple butter spread from Spade & Spoon. It comes with a pretty decoration of pomegranate seeds and edible flowers.
Falafel comes in a plate with hummus, but also as a side order ($5). It's the kind made with parsley (my personal favourite) hence the pretty green colour inside.
If you prefer something lighter than endless caffeine, Madame Levant also offers tea with mint, or bottles of pear rosewater kombucha ($5.50) to wash it all down.