Arriving at quarter to noon on a Sunday for brunch, Mike and I found ourselves in a long line hungrily waiting for a table.
Located in Roncesvalles, Barque is incredibly popular with families with young children. You can tell this is the norm since the restaurant has crayons for kids. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a restaurant with crayons!
This was my second time at Barque but this was my first time for brunch. You can read about my dinner experience here.
Being a huge fan of benny’s, it was no surprise I went for the Barque Benedict – cornbread, two poached eggs, smoked brisket, BBQ hollandaise ($12). One of the eggs was perfectly poached while the other was disappointingly overcooked.
The smoked brisket was quite tasty and the cornbread base was delicious. I just wish the cornbread wasn’t so thinly sliced as I would’ve preferred a little bit more of it. While the hollandaise was quite flavourful, I couldn’t quite taste the “BBQ” in it.
The benny came with a generous portion of home fries which were nicely seasoned and crispy. As if the mountain of home fries wasn’t enough, there was also a side of arugula salad which light and refreshing. Overall, I thought the benny was fine but I don’t think I’d go out of my way just for this one dish.
The first time we came to Barque, we didn’t love the brisket as we found it a little dry. But after hearing such fantastic things about their brisket since then, Mike decided it was time we gave it another try. So, he ordered the Barque Brisket Sandwich – with red cabbage slaw and fried onions & horseradish mayo ($12), which comes with a choice of fries or arugula salad.
This time around the brisket was delicious – moist, tender and packed with flavour. I liked the crunch from the red cabbage (which wasn’t really a “slaw”) and the addition of the fried onions always makes everything better. The menu indicated that the sandwich contained horseradish mayo which I couldn’t taste. But it was still a damn tasty sandwich. This was my favourite of the three items we ordered.
Since we were starving by the time we were seated, we also decided to order the Savory Pancakes – smoked duck leg, blueberry compote, chevre ($12). This certainly wasn’t an attractive dish but it sure made up for it in taste.
The dish came with three plain fluffy pancakes. The combination of the creamy chevre and blueberry compote reminded me of cheesecake…which made this dish a nice way to end our meal. Rather than serving blueberry pancakes, there was only some blueberry compote spread on top of the first pancake. It was unfortunate since the compote was only absorbed by the first pancake leaving us to eat the other two plain.
The duck leg provided a nice savoury element to the dish (I just love sweet and savoury combinations). Although the duck had a nice smoky flavour, I found it a touch dry.
While the eggs benny didn’t impress me, the rest of the meal was quite satisfying. Just make sure you have a lot of time to spare if you’re planning on going to Barque for brunch. The wait was long and after being seated our food took nearly half an hour to arrive. A great brunch spot if you live in the area but I’m not sure I’d go out of my way for it again.
At a glance:
• Enjoyed the brisket sandwich and savoury pancakes
• Be prepared for a long wait
• Located on Roncesvalles
• Popular with young families
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 2.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars