NextDoor Restaurant is a sister project to Smash Kitchen. The fusion project serves up amazing eats inspired by Australian brunch services with their elaborate presentation and labour-intensive preparation.
Before opening, Chef Isaac Co took a trip down from Markham to the only other local cafe that’s really doing Australian-style brunch, Bloordale's Wi-Fi-free Baddies. Smash does brunch too, but it’s more along the usual lines of eggs and home fries.
The space is elegant without being too pretentious, industrial without being cold. A front space is filled with high chairs and distressed tables, the ceiling dripping with hanging oversized bulbs, simple graphic textures embellishing the walls.
A larger space to the side is designed more traditionally, with low tables and a ton of windows.
Okonomoyaki ($17) is more of play on the Japanese pancake dish it’s named for than a literal interpretation: Western-style pancake batter is amped up with cabbage, green onion, and soy, and given a darker char than your typical cake.
That’s topped with double smoked bacon, two nicely poached eggs, kewpie mayo, Japanese barbecue sauce, sesame seeds, and smoky, salty bonito and nori that go surprisingly well with the cakes.
White chocolate French toast ($16) is a sweet-on-sweet Instagrammer’s dream, deep-fried toast stuffed with white chocolate topped with granola, strawberry coulis, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, cotton candy, and an entire homemade white chocolate strawberry popsicle.
I hope they start making their own cotton candy soon like they do popsicles, because it was chewy and stiff in comparison to the creamy, luscious, fresh-tasting ice pop.
ND poke ($15) is quick becoming a lunch and brunch staple as it gains popularity, and always sells out both here and at Smash due to co-owner Johnny Chan’s experience operating Poke Guys.
Marinated salmon, avocado, crab salad, tobiko, fresh poppy edamame, seaweed salad, togarashi aioli, and shredded nori all on a bed of white rice make for a clean-tasting combo that makes sense together, not overwhelmed with too many ingredients.
A gin fizz ($12) is like a lemony adult egg cream, a combination of cream, lemon, lime, simple syrup, vanilla, orange blossom water, and egg white, shaken until pleasantly foamy and served with a retro paper straw that makes you feel like a big kid.
This restaurant in the historic Planing Mill on Main Street in Unionville, Markham also boasts a pretty and large patio great for sunny brunches, or, of course, the equally creative lunch and dinner this place also offers during the week.