Menu, Storefront & Decor
“Brunch is back. Hoof Cafe, permanent “pop-up” at the Raw Bar. So everyone can stop being mad at me.” This phrase was tweeted by Jen Agg, owner of the Black Hoof and former Hoof Cafe, just a few weeks ago. Indeed we were mad, and I was certainly mad at her for closing down my fave brunch spot in Toronto, for no good reason. It has been close to two years, so congrats Jen, I am no longer mad at you…just hope I won’t have to be again.
And so we are back, and I am happy to report Hoof Cafe, now popping for brunch at Hoof Raw Bar in the mornings Thursday-Sunday, is still my fave brunch spot in the city. The menu is aggressively “out there” yet succulent. It screams offal to your face with no shame or regret, it tells you its here to feed you the “un-feedable” and that by the way, you’ll all love it. I loved it, we loved it. What a crazy love/hate relationship I’ve been having with this place.
The Tongue Benny
, an almost replica of the Suckling Eggs Benny,
are better than ever with flavour explosions in your mouth that add great texture with a fair amount of the thinly sliced tongue.
The tongue seems to be pan fried, maybe? Not sure, but the taste is incredible, and as always with tongue, the meat is tender. Mustard seeds and a bit of dill make up the toppings of a rather mild hollandaise sauce, while the eggs are soft poached and sit on what tasted like milk bread. An arugula salad accompanies this dish with pine nuts, balsamic and yet again mustard seeds to complement and balance it out.
With a rather intriguing name, the Bombay Hash is a dish I’ve never had before, especially for brunch.
The dish comes with a salty smoked Mackerel on a potato hash with butter chicken sauce and chaat masala, topped with wilted spinach and a fried egg. The fish smokiness coats the dish on the rather less seasoned hash and spinach, purposefully balancing it out.
From smoked to slow-cooked, a delectable and rich Breakfast Cassoulet is introduced, Hoof style.
With crispy kale and a duck egg visually topping the richness and nuance of this cassoulet, the slow cooked bowl comes with a mixture of red beans, tomato broth, breakfast sausage and pork hock (the joint between the tibia/fibula and the metatarsals of the foot).
Fruit n’ Nut Challah Toast
Though this dish does not even come close to the perfectly made Brioche French toast
at the original Cafe, this desserty dish stands on its own. The challah toast is french’d and drizzled with honey and a poached bosch pear reduction, topped with dusting sugar and chocolate shavings. Thinly sliced pieces of pear lay randmoly on the plate and a nicely presented home-made whipped cream is placed on the side. Though I would have longed for a softer and moist bread, this dish is a close contender and a perfect way to end brunch.
While I enjoyed the new menu diversity and forwardness, including the extra care on plating and presentation, I missed the option of having cappuccino and espressos available. This was certainly available at the original location and I must admit, like I did when I visited FARMHOUSE tavern
, brunch ain’t complete without my cappuccino.
Note: Hoof Cafe does not take credit cards, only debit and cash and offers no milk substitutes (aka soy milk).
Until next time Foodies!
Location: 926 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON
Menu items: Tongue Benny, Bombay Hash, Breakfast Cassoulet & Fruit n’ Nut Challah Toast