Lady Marmalade

As one might expect from a twenty something living in a downtown metropolis, I am a brunch aficionado. I have scoured the “Best Of” lists time and time again in hopes of finding THE restaurant that will become my local on Sunday mornings. Thankfully, Toronto is home to some of the best restaurants, and we take our brunch very seriously. One restaurant I had always wanted to try but never had a chance was Lady Marmalade. Until now…

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Wanting to start the month on a high note, my friend Kevin and I decided to check out this well-known Leslieville gem. Right at the corner of Queen East and Logan, Lady Marmalade is almost a hole in the wall but soon as you enter, it’s like reuniting with old friends. All of the staff were chatty and genuinely friendly and seemed happy to be there. Within a few minutes of ordering (huevos rancheritos for me, sub eggs for tofu and tortilla for chips) and a B.Y.O benny for Kevin, I began to realize how charming Lady Marmalade truly was.

The art on the walls reminded me of a friend who does incredible abstract work with watercolour paintings of food as well. The mismatched plates and cutlery pulled on my heart strings, as did the linoleum tables and tops. Lady Marmalade feels like it’s been around for ages in a good way.

With bottomless Pilot coffee, I was curious to see how the food would taste. I’m always skeptical at a new restaurant so I can give it a genuine review but I was so overjoyed. Normally, I can struggle a bit finding a brunch dish that doesn’t have eggs. I don’t have a penchant for them so I was grateful that there was an option to sub the eggs for organic tofu. What I received was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had: tofu scramble with cheese and chilies, guacamole, baked black beans, and parsley. It had just enough spice (turmeric?) and the corn tortilla chips were a great side, per the waitress’ suggestion.

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I don’t like eggs, as noted, but it took a lot for me to not dive into Kevin’s benny! The hollandaise was so gooey, the eggs perfectly poached. The only downside was Kevin said his hash browns were hit and miss: some piping hot, others cold. That could have been a mixed batch but either way, it was the only flaw.
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I recommend going early as we arrived around 9:30am on a Wednesday and the dining room was packed. The servers didn’t let the rush get to them and were calm and gracious with every new customer who entered. Overall, it was a wonderful way to start February and gave me a new appreciation for Leslieville.
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