Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aaaaah, Fontenelle - we missed you!

When a group embarks on an exploration of brunch it's so easy to get caught up in the $15 plates and $2.50 coffee that ends up with tax and tip costing almost $50 for two people. There is nothing wrong with the $15 brunch plate - as long as it 'delivers' - and there are some fine places in our city to try these brunches, a number we've been to and reviews can be found here on this blog. Fraser Cafe, Todrics, The Courtyard and The Back Lane Cafe to name just a few.

We try to strike a balance of the new, the familiar, the fine and the 'greasy' and this week it was time to revisit an old friend, The Fontenelle Diner on Montreal Road. We've been here before and you can read the original post here.

It's always difficult to write about a familiar regular place but when we all checked our memory it had been at least 6 months since we'd crowded around one of the long tables at the back of the 'Font' - but it seemed like we'd been there more recently.

Mugs of coffee were brought with the usual smile and we were asked if we wanted our 'usual'. Wait a minute! We haven't been here for months - and you remember what we eat - damn right she does and got it pretty much 95% correct.

The food here is good - it's no Fraser Cafe or Back Lane but it's tasty and prepared with skill - there's just no 'flair' and we neither expect nor need any flair - from this establishment we just want good coffee, eggs and bacon and some banter - and that's what we get. Pick your bacon up with fingers and dip it in egg and ketchup - no one cares!

My 'usual' here is the breakfast club with french fries instead of the home fries. I've said this before and I'll say it again - you can forget your local 'chip' wagon - the BEST FRIES IN OTTAWA ARE SERVED HERE! My club is good - a tasty tomato, some cheese, an egg and some bacon and ham - all for $8.45 and that includes never ending coffee! Bargain!

No one has anything out of the ordinary here - most go with some bacon and/or sausage and eggs - some opt for the 'Hungry Man' which has 2 variants - #1 and #2 - which, as you can imagine, has a bit of everything and toast - rye toast if you want it too!

One of the most enjoyable parts of dining at the 'Font' is getting up to leave and paying the bill. Our bill (which is also committed to memory) came to $16 which was 2 plates of food and several mugs of coffee including tax. I am always happy to tip when it's warranted and the $4 change from my $20 bill is eagerly left (25%!!) as a gratuity. The 'added value' that so many establishments try to produce to be able to warrant charging me for one plate (with coffee and tax), what I just paid for breakfast for two including everything, is seldom really worth it - there are a few exceptions. The 'value-add' at the 'Font' is the laid back ambience, the friendly staff, the amazing memory tricks, the consistency of the food, the AMAZING fries and the prices. There lies the paradox - the value-add at the 'Font' isn't charged for and that in and of itself is 'special'.

Go to the Fontenelle - don't expect too much and you'll be rewarded with a great plate of food.

Until next week, be safe.

...and for my Chinese friends - 恭喜发财