Come eat, come party, come cleanse!
Hola! Bonjour! Aloha! Haloo!
Greetings are universal. And so is brunch (at least, in the West)—that midday reprieve from real life; brighter than a dinner, looser than a lunch date. And a sore spot for vegans. “Hi, I’ll order the dry granola… The fruit bowl... The toast with no butter…” It’s enough to keep you home until happy hour. But times they are a changing.
Greetings from Hello123. This cute corner storefront on Toronto’s west Queen West is every bit the hip brunch spot you’d expect it to be. And it serves some of the most drool-worthy breakfast in the city, plant-based or otherwise.
But let’s start with a reality check: It. Gets. Busy. I popped in around noon on a Sunday. A server, unusually friendly for brunch service (if you’ve never served brunch, it could drive Mrs. Doubtfire to be the next unibomber), told me forty minutes. And she was spot-on.
Once seated, I was glad I waited. Snuggled against the window and enshrouded by brunch-goers, I felt I might never leave. The place is cosy, bright and buoyant. And the menu is extensive. From smoothies, to mainstage brunch items, to apps, salad bowls, burgers and cocktails, there is enough to keep even the most insatiable diner busy.
I ordered the Benny Benny with a side of the Almond and Banana French Toast, and a Turmeric Latte.
The latte arrived first. A screaming yellow and filled to the brim, it was hot, a little sweet and quite soothing. The brunch itself was a visual orgasm. The Benny Benny, with mounds of creamy kale and tofu ricotta (in the place of poached eggs), smashed avocado and tomato, drenched in house hollandaise and decorated with coconut scallions (and served on a whole wheat bun, with salad and home fries), could make even the most adamantly non-vegan thirsty.
The Almond and Banana French Toast—we’re talking a girthy sourdough here, topped with almond butter, bananas, blueberries and hemp seeds—was so delicious I forgot to add the maple syrup.
With my other fav vegan brunch option, The Steady, gone to the gods of gentrification, this place was a welcome find. And the beauty of it is, you can invite your non-vegan friends without any salty sighs or accusations of pulling vegan rank. Because good brunch is good brunch, and this place is off the hook.