Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fraser Cafe is brunch awesomeness.....

In my weekly job as recorder of the brunch, blogger critic, whatever this is called, it may surprise you that I do not enjoy reporting bad places or writing any negative comments whatsoever; I still do it, as reporting the exact experience is all part of the service - I just feel bad when I have to do it.

This week I will be entirely loving this blog post and not feeling bad in any way shape or form as we brunched at our newest favourite place in the world (well, Ottawa) - Fraser Cafe on Springfield in Vanier.

Tomato, eggplant and basil soup.
Reservations were made earlier in the week and if you are more than a couple this is a required strategy as this place is busy and a table for 8 would be impossible to get otherwise. We were given a 10.30 table as a group of 10 had previously booked for 12.30 (noon is our preferred brunching time these days) and we were told that we had the table for the 2 hours - plenty of time to do what we need to do.

Fraser Cafe is owned by two brothers who both have a distinguished CV in the restaurant scene and they now run this place which is small yet cozy, trendy and vibrant. The kitchen is mostly open so you can sit close to the kitchen and see your food being made if that is what you like to do. Our table was against a window and the kitchen was mainly blocked by a wall but we all had a good look around and liked what we saw. 

I really like an open kitchen not because I like a 'show' but because it demonstrates that the cook staff have nothing to hide and they are confident that what they do and how they do it is good and safe and clean.
The open kitchen.
The menu changes here and there are specials too - another good sign of fresh ingredients and ongoing imagination in the process of offering different dishes rather than the laminated menu that never changes of so many places. Laminated or shiny expensively printed menu = stay away unless it's a 'greasy spoon' - then it's ok, you sort of know what you've decided to eat and at a 'spoon' that's regular eggs and bacon.

Fraser Cafe is anything but 'regular eggs and bacon' - it's really really good. So let's begin.

Croque monsieur.
Coffee was excellent - charged at $2.25 but unending and dutifully and expertly topped up by Laura, our very competent and lovely waitress. I think we only had to request one refill all morning which is pretty good going for 90 minutes of constant coffee guzzling. I usually have about 3 mugs of coffee at brunch, today i think I had 5! So, top marks for the basics of coffee and the replenishment thereof.

the 'benny'
We all ordered. Someone ordered a soup which is, although apparently very tasty, against new rules of brunch - no starters no desserts! ;-)) Once the soup was eaten or drunk or slurped the food came and all the dishes looked great. Vibrant colours and fresh looking food on a plate that has been well plated and sauced with skill, care and love is always something that brings a smile to my face!! Simple things eh?

The scramble.
First thing you notice apart from the great looking plates is that the portions are good too. So often, as we've 'discussed' before, a place charges $14 for something that really is worth about $8. These dishes are of a very decent size.

Normally I would order something familiar off a menu of a new place just as I would always order a chicken madras at a new Indian restaurant to 'gauge' the food; with a brunch menu it's usually a 'benny' and this was my choice until the specials were announced and then it was 'no contest' - croque monsieur is one of my favourite brunch dishes and as it was a special it 'trumped' the benny. It came with a green salad with rocket (arugular) and what tasted like a butter-milk dressing with a nice chutney and the best home-fries I've had in a very long time; the fries also has a nice 'bravas' style sauce. The actual croque had 3 cheeses including goat's cheese - I have to say it was all very good indeed. The goat's cheese had a nice way of cutting through the more oily cheddar and the other cheese, the name of which escapes me. Good quality ham too. Superb!

Huevos rancheros
The benny which I would have had was excellent too - the sauce was, "out of this world" - if that's not praise enough....

The sausage, with bite taken!
As we went around the table there were no complaints and only expressions of eating great tasting food. The scramble plate came with a sausage patty which I had the chance to taste and it was a magnificent example of a sausage - good density, lots of inion and a nicely balanced cumin and fennel flavour - delicious. 

I can't honestly think of anything that would have made this 90 minute brunch any better; maybe a vomitorium out back (Roman style) so I could have ordered a second breakfast of eggs benedict? Of course, this would contravine another brunch club rule - 'No second breakfast'!

So is Fraser Cafe recommended? You betcha bottom dollar it is - just remember to make reservations!

I am happy to give Fraser Cafe 10/10 and it's not often, if ever, I've given a place full marks. Well done to the Fraser brothers and their staff - outstanding. 

We are off back to the Fontenelle next week for a well earned $5 'spoon' breakfast!

Until next week, my little 'brunchers', be safe!


1 comment:

  1. This place was recommended to me over a year ago. Procrastination just doesn't pay. When will I learn?
    Our table of 8 did a fair job of sampling the menu. Each of us appreciated the choices made by others' but felt our own was the best.
    There was obvious love in each and every component and they worked perfectly together. Best Huevos Ranchero ever.
    Decor, staff, ambiance, food quality and value...a perfect 10 for me as well.