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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Beast :: Brrrrrunch

We did it! 5km might not seem like much, but as someone who is a hustler, not a runner, Sunday's Run to End Poverty was quite a personal accomplishment. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU  to those who supported me. Friends who donated (without telling me!), those who drove into the city just to cheer me on from the finish line, and everyone who encouraged me to train. You helped me cross the finish line.

We decided to celebrate our first-ever race with a tasty brunch at BEAST. The name was quite fitting for a perpetually hungry girl, a gorgeous make-up artist, an amazing photographer, a backpack-lugging runner, and a gaggle of amazing supporters ;)

Verdict: Tasty but pricey brunch, a bit of a let-down
Meal: Brunch
Price: $30
Location: 96 Tecumseth St Toronto

Located just north of King St., I ran past Beast several times last week during my hasty last-minute training. Every time, I was reminded of the tasty reward to come!

Timed for the perfect brew

Sam James fans will be pleased to hear that he's the coffee consultant. My friend and I chose an Ethiopian ("Sidamo") and Columbian ("Supremo") coffee. It came with a timer so you knew exactly when to press down :-)

Pretty great cup of coffee, I must say.

My other friend ordered the Beast Bellini, which she let me try. It was very sweet and light, we both loved it. She finished it before the food arrived!

It's not often you are introduced to your meal's parents

The brunch menu was a tad different than what's listed online. Duck confit and wild boar benny were not offered, for instance. No matter, there were plenty of other tasty-sounding choices that we wanted to try!

Just like Le Petit Dejeuner, we decided to order a starter with our brunch. And by starter I really mean dessert.

Kouign Amann 8
chocolate sauce, fresh fruit
Chocolate-y Pastry Goodness!

Chocolate!! The pastry was like a very dense, buttery croissant. It had a decent dough-y bite, and was nice , caramelized, and crispy on the outside. Coupled with decadent chocolate sauce and fruit, it was a deliciously sweet start to our meal.

I wish the slices of fruit were thicker, but overall this was great. When they cleared empty platter, we kept the bowl of chocolate on the table...just cause.

Beast Burger
7 year aged cheddar, bacon, & tater tots 12
Tater Tots!
We met the eggs' parents, so it was fitting the burger arrived smiling. The freshly ground beef was very tasty and the egg was wonderfully runny when pierced. The patty was cooked all the way through, which was a tad disappointing - I was hoping for a nice, pink middle that a previous burger-nosher reported. All of our Beast burgers came out medium, and I wish that I specified that I wanted it medium-rare.
Tater tots! These little crispy bites of potato were oh-so-good.

Pig’s Head Pasta 12
agnolotti, pea shoots, egg yolk
Lots of cheese
I was picturing something quite different than what we received. Arriving with a generous serving of very finely grated cheese, the pig head was served as chunks over the pasta. I liked the pork, especially the bits of cheek which were nicely braised, and the pea shoots made for pretty plating.

 Each agnolotti was filled with cheese - friends and blog-followers may have noticed that I have an aversion to too much cheese. Definitely not my favourite and I would actually recommend against ordering it unless if you're i) especially curious and ii) A lover of cheese

Smoked Sockeye Salmon Hash 14
sunny side up egg, pancetta, leeks (no longer duck eggs ): )

The potatoes were perfect - soft but not mushy, each forkful was tasty with bites of salmon. Overall this was a nice breakfast dish and I'm happy to report that finally - I get fish at a restaurant that's not overcooked. The over-easy egg was also nicely done - the yolk happily spilled over the eggs and the flavours blended well together.
Pork Belly Benny 14
poached eggs, caraway hollandaise, english muffin
This was a bit of a let down. I love Eggs Benedict - especially because every restaurant serves it a little different. I poked the egg and was disappointed when yolk didn't come spilling out. The pork belly was unfortunately also a lot. The hollandaise was a surprise - it had a mustard-y flavour which is completely different than what I was expecting.

Over-poached =(

Many restaurants have a unique Hollaindaise recipe. Le Petit Dejeuner's had a lemony zip, Insomnia was cheesy, and Hoof Cafe was decadent with a jalapeƱo pop. While not a fan at first, the sauce really grew on my friend and overall she was happy with the dish. Tasty potatoes aside, I wasn't too pleased.

Huevos Rancheros 12
scrambled egg, chorizo sausage, feta cheese

Tasty salsa, nicely scrambled eggs, crispy tortilla!

This arrived on a crispy corn tortilla and although fellow brunchers shrugged and said it was nothing special, I really enjoyed it. There wasn't too much cheese, just enough to mingle with the salsa and eggs and the tortilla was thick enough that it stayed crispy during the meal. Yum.

The service was friendly and very patient (we were a bit slow to start). At 12:30pm, Beast was moderately busy and started to pick up after an hour. Touches such as the pamphlet explaining their source of organic eggs (Rocca Farms), neat plating, and a very well-organized kitchen (you can take a peek on your way to the bathroom! No picture because I didn't want to disturb them) created a wonderful brunch atmosphere. The patio would be great if the weather is nice. I suspect that dinner is the best way to get the true Beast experience - they even offer an $80 tasting menu. Kind of like omakase...but beastly.

After hearing so many wonderful things about Beast, I left a little disappointed. While tasty it didn't leave me with the smile that Le Petit Dejeuner and Hoof Cafe impressed for that price. If you're in the area, I say it's still worth a try and please please please get the Kouign Amann and a good mug of coffee. I eyed another bruncher's challah French looked super good, and if I were to return that'd probably be my pick. However, I think that I'd rather try their dinner first!

Verdict: Tasty but pricey brunch, a bit of a let-down
Meal: Brunch
Price: $30
Location: 96 Tecumseth St Toronto

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