Saturday Walk in Leslieville

4 Oct

I am taking a slight departure from the normal resturant reviews, and write a short experience in regards to a little strip of Toronto that I personally love.

Those of you who have read my Cafe Gilead review should know what kind of person I am.  I prefer purity over glam.  This applies to nothing better than my perspective of food.  Resturant that tries to wow you with innovative use of condiments, stunning interior architecture is merely trying to cover itself.  These things are nice, but are quite secondary, if you ask me, to whether the food is good.  A restaurant that tastes bad, no matter what they used to cover it up, is still a resturant that fails.

Leslieville’s variety of small coffee shops and restaurants align with this perspective well.  Whether it is the best pancakes from OkOk diner or a cup of latte from Mercury.  Leslieville puts forth a simpler way of seeing food.  They do not try to impress with a beautiful store front, or stunning interior architecture, nor even fancy names on their food or drinks.  They just try to impress with friendly approachable staff, and simply, honest good food.




Saturday, October 1st, I was in Leslieville to enjoy brunch and a cup of coffee.  I hit up Lady Marmalade, then walked over to Te Aro.

Lady Marmalade haven’t changed from the last time I was there (eagle eyed viewers will see, this was not taken on saturday, this was from my archive from the last time I was there).  There was still a wait at the early hours of saturday around noon.  The room is still a bit too hot.  Walls are still very green.  It’s a testament against the blacks and whites and glass of many modern resturants.  This is genuinely, oldschool.


Huevos Migas: 3/5, good eggs, not a big fan of the scallions, but good fresh tortilla chips, and the combination works very well together


I had the huevos migas ($11.50).  Sweet combination, I’ve never been a fan of scallions, I’ve pretty much left that all alone.  The rest of the dish was done very well, as usual, good scrambled eggs, acceptable beans with a good spicy sausage mixed into the salsa with rice.  It was one filling brunch that kept me going until probably my late dinner that evening.

I still stand by my standing that Lady Marmalade seem to overcharge for an overall experience, portions are good, service is great, it just lacked that glamor of the nicer places.  If you like your food unplugged though, this place does egg like no one else.

Filling brunch and coffee from Lady Marmalade on a rainy day, we headed for a better cup of coffee.  While the Mercury was closer, me and my foodie friends headed over to the new hit place of Te Aro for their cup of latte.  This battle of coffee in Leslieville is going to be quite intense I am certain.


Te Aro supplies coffee beans to many many places in Toronto, some quite famous places


Te Aro, barely 5 minutes away from Mercury, and 5 minutes from my other favorite place in Leslieville:  Okok Diner,  is the obivious new boy in Leslieville’s battle of lattes and coffee.  It impresses with a very industrial chic architecture, and the theme carries indoors as well with a nice garage door bar looking outside, and a nice patio for the sunny days.

Staff is nice and friendly as is with most of the places on Leslieville, so it is still well on equal footing to the Mercury.  I had a simple latte, which would give me a taste of their staff’s techniques, the beauty of the beans and the way it was roasted.


Te Aro Latte: 3.5/5, Mercury does the better art, and 4 bucks for a cup is quite pricey


This particular cup was not mine, I think Mercury does a better presentation of ‘latte art’ with the foam,  I would still say this is good, better than Starbucks anyways in most cases.

4 bucks is a quite pricey cup of Latte too, that’s similar to the Mercury.  This is a good cup of Latte, had the right smell, taste is not too harsh and had the right balance.  There is no harsh aftertaste, nor is there any coffee powder left when we are done.

So a dead even heat then, with Mercury.

Te Aro presents Mercury level of coffee, with a bit of added glamor.  This I approve. of greatly.  The extra few cents is acceptable.

The bad part is that, now Mercury is under threat from a new kid with more glamor and more vitality, the good part though, for latte lovers, is that there’s never a better time in Toronto, to have 2 great coffee shops so close to each other.  It really must be heaven.

Let me know via the comments if you like this sort of ‘area’ preview.  I may do one of Ossington should I go back there


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