With Sarah’s pseudo-sister Stephie recently celebrating her birthday, Sarah and I made a deal to take her out for a brunch celebration. The fun started right out of the gate with the decision process, as Stephie just couldn’t seem to settle on a pick of her choice. As we sat in the car going nowhere fast, Sarah chimed in and made the executive decision. Which was good, as my brain was low of caffeine and I needed someplace to fill up. Having always wanted to try Café de Ville for brunch, I was more than happy to put the car in drive and head across the river.
Arriving just after 10, I was surprised to hear we were asked if we had a reservation as there were only four people inside. Saying no, we were quickly (go figure) seated near the window (yes, light!). The menu was easy enough to glance through, as it was concise and broken into two categories; To Begin, Main Courses. With mugs of coffee in hand, Sarah suggested we start with the Banana de Ville – Grilled banana bread, black raspberry coulis, crème fraîche. Sounding like a pretty glorious way to start our meal, Stephie and I easily agreed.
Had we known that we would be delivered a basket of treats soon after our menus were taken away, I think it may have changed our starter. What unknowingly arrived were a collection of warm pastries; croissants, danishes, sticky buns, and chocolate chip blueberry muffins. I have to say the warmth and smell of these items made them impossible to resist. After ripping into one of the muffins, I looked down at my fingers to see them coated with the still soft chocolate chips. Coffee..warm chocolate chip covered hands. *eyes roll back*
A refill of coffee was all it took before the banana bread hit the table. Warm, with a perfect flat top crust, the two good-sized portions were sweet without being cloying. The fruit coulis and crème fraîche were displayed quite nicely on the plate, so it’s almost a shame we started dragging chunks of banana bread through. Yum! Our mains were up next, with Stephie ordering Eggs Deville – grilled Canadian bacon, hollandaise. Sarah choosing Grilled Sausage – local select sausage with poached eggs, hashbrowns and toast and myself, well, I went with the Polenta Souffle – spinach, stilton, herbs, feta, wild mushroom ragout.
The first thing I noticed were the poached eggs. Watching Sarah and Stephie cut them open, it was nice to see they were done to perfection. Sarah even mentioned they were the warmest eggs she’s ever received. Who knows, maybe they did them last minute as the plates were prepped to go out. Asking about the sausage, I was told they Lincolnshire from Irvings Farm Fresh. They were ok, but a little bland for my liking. The souffle, which arrived in a pool of amazingly savory ragout, was something I wouldn’t normally order and it won me over. A rich, soft and creamy mix! The biggest knock we agreed, the hashbrowns, which suffered from too little seasoning and a whole lot of cooking, which meant they were mushy and bland. Where’s that great flat top char?
While we all hoped for more out of our potatoes, I think it’s safe to say this was a solid success. From the service, which was attentive and funny, to the food which started and finished well, I think Café de Ville was a solid choice for Stephie’s birthday brunch. As we packed up to leave, we were delivered a takeout container with the remaining sweets we didn’t finish at the start. A sweet treat to remember the meal by. Now I wonder how the newly opened Sherwood Park location is doing….