I was finally able to make it to Kensington for breakfast at Vendome Cafe. I’m really not familiar with Kensington, having been there just a handful of times because I’m not a fan of busy streets and bad parking. But at 8:15 am on a Saturday morning, we were able to find local street parking in the neighbourhood of the Cafe. Inside, you order your meals and pay at the till. They hand you a number on a stick, you find a table, and they will bring your food and drinks out to you. It’s another awkward tipping situation – how much do you tip when you haven’t yet received any service or food? We had a fair wait at the till, which I suppose was good because I was a bit late myself – if you’re meeting a group of people you really want to all show up at the same time so that you all can place your order at the same time.
The cafe is actually quite large, with 2 separate rooms. The kitchen, however, seems very small for the number of tables they have to serve. They weren’t fast at getting food out and in fact although my meal was on the same chit as my friends, there was a mix up and my dish came out at least 5 minutes after my friends. And, since my friends are so polite, they didn’t eat their food until my food came (even though I told them to dig in), so 2/3 of us ate cold breakfast. The server was very apologetic about it, but it was still unfortunate. The cafe is very cute and there were quite a few people just getting coffee and pastries to go. I think it’s a neighbourhood gem for sure.
C and I both got the Salmon Benny (full order for $16), but she got salad because she’s much healthier than I am, and I got the Vendome potato hash browns. The salmon bennie was made up of house-cured gravlax, scallion-caper cream, onion, hollandaise, and poached Mans Organic free range eggs. The gravlax was really quite delicious and the scallion-caper cream pulled it all together. I could pass on the little slices of onion because they were the only hard topping and they didn’t cut well. The bread was crusty on the bottom, so it was sometimes a little tough to cut, but all in all I really enjoyed the benny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such perfectly shaped little poached eggs! I judge a breakfast place on their hollandaise sauce and breakfast potatoes and both met my needs. The potatoes were flavourful and crispy and the hollandaise was rich and creamy and perfectly seasoned.
L got the Confit Duck Waffle ($15) with confit duck, grainy mustard maple syrup, blackberries, crème fraiche, and poached egg. I don’t think it was as good as it could have been because he ate it cold, but he said that it didn’t come from the kitchen very hot anyways so it wasn’t a big loss. He said it was good but not great. It was rather dry and could have used another poached egg and/or more syrup. Too bad – it looks so pretty! Maybe ask for extra syrup if you get this dish?
I think Vendome Cafe is a cute restaurant with some good looking dishes that come from the kitchen. If you’re in the mood for a coffee and baked goods in the morning or a salad, soup or sandwich for lunch, I think this place can satisfy your needs. They have a limited menu for supper but I’m betting the dishes are super tasty.