I’m not usually a big fan of buffets but the “Bella! Did ya eat?” brunch buffet at Free Times Café was definitely an exception.
Free Times Café’s authentic Jewish brunch buffet is offered every Sunday between 10am and 3pm for a cost of $19.95 (which includes coffee/tea and juice). They take reservations, which is a brunch rarity, so take advantage of it so you’re not disappointed. They offer brunch on Saturdays too but it’s only a la carte.
The space has an eclectic feel to it and is deceptively small. There’s actually a large back room which can be booked out for parties.
The buffet selection is fantastic! I started with some hot food which included scrambled eggs of two varieties – one with lox and the other with caramelized onions. They were nicely cooked and it surprised me that they weren’t overcooked and rubbery given that it was a buffet. It certainly helps that they replenish the food quite often so the food is fresh.
One item I loved was the challah French toast…something that I ate a few too many of. French toast is always better when it’s made with challah!
For another sweet brunch item, they also serve blintzes which are basically thick crepes which are rolled up, stuffed with cheese (cottage cheese is my guess) and pan fried. I’ve never had blintzes before so I don’t have a fair comparison but I didn’t love them. Mike, on the other hand, who grew up with blintzes really enjoyed the ones here.
I think the potato Latkes were the clear favourite of all the day. These potato pancakes were perfectly fried – really crispy without being greasy. The buffet also has sides of sour cream and apple sauce to go with ‘em. I thought they tasted great on their own.
What’s a Jewish brunch without bagels? Free Times Café has a great selection of toppings (vegetables, lox, cheese) and spreads. Unfortunately the bagels were just a waste of stomach space…they were a little stale.
For something a little on the lighter side, the buffet also features a variety of salads which included coleslaw and potato salad.
You won’t find any bacon at this brunch … but they do have fish. Smoked fish, salmon patties and gefilte fish.
For something on the sweet side, a section of their buffet is reserved for dessert. You’ll find a selection of fresh fruit, carrot cake, coffee cake, chocolate cake, pecan pie, cookies and more. I liked that everything was cut up into small bite sizes so you can try a bit of everything. While there was an extensive selection of desserts, I didn’t find anything to be particularly memorable. Nothing bad but nothing was particularly great either.
Aside from their sweets, I really enjoyed Free Times Café’s brunch buffet. They have a great variety of Jewish brunch favourites which is replenished often to keep the food fresh. Coming with a group of fiften, we all left with satisfied stomachs!
At a glance:
• A Jewish brunch buffet served every Sunday between 10 and 3 for $19.95
• Takes reservations
• Great selection of Jewish brunch favourites – some of the best latkes I’ve ever had
• A la carte brunch is offered on Saturdays
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars