So last weekend a couple of friends from university and I went to Doug’s Public Kitchen for Sunday brunch, a vegan restaurant in North York close to Glencairn subway station.
I’d seen some photos of his vegan eggs benedict online a few weeks ago and immediately knew this place had to be next on my hit list.
Right away when we sat down we were given menus, a water jug with a piece of charcoal in it, and this delicious popcorn topped with cheesy nutritional yeast.
Tastes just like the popcorn I make at home. I could eat popcorn at every single meal, no joke. Just ask Mr. Spoon and he’ll tell you what a corn addict I am. Me eating an enourmous 10-cup mixing bowl full of popcorn topped with butter-flavoured olive oil, pink himalayan salt and nooch (and not sharing) is like a nightly occurrence at our place. In fact it’s kind of a weird night if I DON’T eat a giant bowl of popcorn to myself. So you can safely say I approve of any place that’s going to bring me popcorn to my table as an amuse-bouche.
The Public Kitchen Mimosa $9 (2oz)freshly squeezed orange juice, lemongrass kombucha, sparkling prosecco wine, fresh raspberries
Tbh I didn’t think there was enough booze for $9 a glass (hard to get day-drunk 2 oz of prosecco at a time…) but it was definitely delicious and refreshing.
Coconut Crusted French Toast $16 – doug’s signature gluten-free french toast, warm maple syrup, vanilla maple yoso coconut yogurt drizzle, ground ceylon cinnamon, tempeh bacon
Our gluten-free friend went for the french toast with GF bread. Oh man it was SO tasty and GBD – golden, brown, delicious! The coconut crust was a really nice touch and it had a great flavour and texture. Didn’t even miss the gluten.
The tempeh was pretty good too, not the star of the show (I’m pretty sure every vegan has their own tempeh bacon recipe they’ve “perfected”) but pretty solid.
Triple Decker Brunch Club $17 – choice of sprouted grain or thornbury gluten-free bread, creamy garlic mayo, cornmeal and fennel seed crusted tomato, crisp smoky sprouted tofu, tempeh bacon, avocado and lettuce, choice of house salad or herbed home fries
The Triple Decker club sandwich looked pretty tasty too. We all tried to share a bite of this one and ended up making a huge mess since our jaws don’t unhinge enough to fit this huge sammy. But even with the mess it’s basically a vegan’s dream sandwich – a jacked up avo BLTT (bacon, lettuce, tomato, tofu). Yum! You know I’ll always eat a crispy fried tomato and anything slathered in vegan mayo.
I didn’t try the home fries because I was getting too full from eating the heck out of my own food and sharing bites of everything else on the table but they look tasty don’t they?
Vegan Benedict $19 – choice of gluten-free or sprouted grain english muffin, crisp cornmeal and fennel crusted tomato, herbed white wine and garlic spinach, seared smoky sprouted tofu, runny soft poached vegan egg yolk, hollandaise sauce
#veganyolkporn Dear lord…… let that vegan yolk wash over me….. yaaaaaassssssssss
It was SO REALISTIC guys. I think you have to go experience this for yourself to believe it.
Okay so the “egg white” is basically a piece of fried tofu with a dip in it so the yolk can rest gently on top. The yolk I have no idea what the heck it’s made of other than vegan wizard magic, dream particles and good vibes. It had a little skin and everything. I poked that yolk with my fork and it resisted the slightest bit and then oozed out that yellow sunshiney goodness just like the real deal.
And that vegan hollandaise? I don’t even need to know. Just smother me in it. I’ll take a bath in it. I’ll wash my hair in it. If you’re also a vegan who was once an eggs benny addict you need to try this for yourself. Heck, if you’re an omnivorous CURRENT eggs benny addict I still think this stands up. AND you get to think about how you saved adorable little chicks from being ground alive by not supporting the egg industry. It’s a win-win, people.
Look at those layers! And omg the textures…………. You can taste the love for vegan food and the care and attention that went into making this dish with every bite. Seriously.
Underneath the “egg” (in order): the crusted tomato (sooo crunchy and juice and good), garlic spinach, and sprouted-grain english muffin. You could also go for a gluten-free muffin and I’m sure you would hardly notice because everything is smothered in amazing golden hollandaise sauce anyway. The muffin is just a hollandaise-delivery system at this point.
Almond milk and coconut sugar that was served with our after-brunch organic, fair-trade coffees.
We (okay, really just I) couldn’t help ourselves and also went for the Dessert Platter $11 – made weekly by Chef McNish. This one featured some sesame balls, goji-stuffed cookies, peanut butter fudge and pumpkin spice cheesecake.
Everything was really tasty even though we were basically all too stuffed full of brunch to be able to finish. I thought the cheesecake was the best, and I think everyone agreed the goji cookies and peanut butter desserts were pretty darn good too. Personally the sesame ones weren’t my favourite but they were a nice balance since they weren’t too sweet and went well with the coffees.
Overall my impression of Doug’s Public Kitchen was outstanding. I genuinely loved everything that came to our table. The service was warm and welcoming, the food was incredible and I can’t wait to come back to this place and bring even more people to try a next-level vegan brunch.
It was definitely a little bit pricier than say, going to a greasy diner and getting chicken eggs and wonderbread toast. That is true. But this is REAL food – it’s crafted with heart and soul, it’s sourced locally and organically whenever possible and it’s completely ethical and cruelty-free. You don’t have to support the cold, cruel and environmentally catastrophic meat industry to get your breakfast fix. You can support chefs like McNish who spread a positive message about real, healthy, compassionate food and watch local vegan businesses like his thrive. To me that’s worth a couple of extra bucks.