The only times I don’t see a line out the door at Lady Marmalade (@ladymrestaurant) is when they’re closed. If you’re walking down Queen street on a weekend, there’s no doubt you’ll know this is one of the hottest brunch spots in Leslieville.
Like many brunch spots around the city, the interior is quite eclectic and kitschy. While the space isn’t huge, it’s a decent size for a brunch restaurant. Their tables turn pretty quick but be prepared to wait. The four of us arrived at 9:45 on a Sunday and still waited 20 minutes before being seated. By the time we left, there was an enormous line snaking out the door.
It’s hard narrowing down what to order at Lady Marmalade as their menu is full of delicious-sounding options like the cheddar & spinach waffles, the “AM Poutine” and crepe Croque Monsieur. Their menu also has a section dedicated to bennies as well as sweet dishes.
They use fresh and local ingredients where possible, sourcing ingredients from Rowe Farms, Pilot Coffee Roasters and St. John’s bakery, to name a few. And for those gluten-intolerant folks, many of their dishes can be made gluten-free.
After some deliberation, I decided on a classic dish, the Bacon Benny – with lemony hollandaise, potatoes & salad ($11.50). I opted to add avocado onto it for an extra $2. Other additional toppings include cheddar ($2.50) and brie ($2.50).
The delicious hollandaise coated the perfectly poached eggs and crispy toasted English muffin. I loved that the lemon flavour in the hollandaise wasn’t too overpowering. Lady Marmalade knows how to make a darn good benny! The only thing I didn’t love on the plate was the potatoes which wasn’t anything to write home about.
Mike decided to go with the Huevos Migas – 3 soft-scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, tomatoes & scallions served with brown rice, smashed beans, sour cream, pico de gallo salsa & organic tortilla chips ($12). Calling it a hearty portion would be an understatement. It’s definitely a brunch dish for the hungry.
I had this on my first visit a few years ago and don’t recall it being too memorable. But this time around, I really enjoyed it. Mike particularly enjoyed it – the only thing he left on the plate was the cilantro (yup, he’s one of those cilantro-haters).
One of our friends ordered the Fresh Fruit Parfait – with house-made cranberry almond granola, lemony yogurt, berry coulis & honey served with half a cinnamon bagel ($9.50). She wanted to go with something lighter since she was at a big wedding feast the evening before. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a parfait or granola at a restaurant for brunch before but this one had me thinking twice. It looked delicious – they certainly get points for presentation. And most importantly, our friend enjoyed the taste of it too.
To end the meal, we shared the Raspberry Lemon Baked French Toast – bread pudding style ($11.50). I’m a little biased since bread-pudding style French toasts are not my preference. So, I’ll speak on behalf of everyone else at the table – they LOVED it. And seeing as they were voted #1 for best French toast in Toronto (BlogTO), I think it’s safe to say this is a must-order for French toast fans.
Overall, we had a fantastic brunch here. There’s a reason why there’s always a line outside Lady Marmalade!
At a glance:
• No reservations; cash only
• Will only seat complete parties
• Notorious for long waits – always a line out the door; arrived at 9:45am on a Sunday and still waited 20 minutes
• Open from 8am everyday until 4pm Monday to Friday and until 3pm on weekends/holidays
• They use fresh and local ingredients; many dishes can be made gluten-free
• Voted best French toast in BlogTO
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars