Cafe Medina

Cafe Medina has been on my to-do list for a while, because it's from the same creators of Chambar (one of our favorite places to eat) next door. On Sunday, we decided visit the Art Gallery and to see a movie (A Serious Man) at Tinseltown, so we headed to downtown pretty early in the morning. We arrived at around 9:45am, which turned out to be a good time, because we snagged the last table. Very auspicious.

The place was packed, but had a really nice, casual, yet sophisticated atmosphere. The restaurant is small, with banquette style seating at one end of the room, and the bar on the other side, with stools for about 5 people.

I ordered Earl Grey tea ($2.75), and the loose tea arrived in a little French press, along with a tiny cup of milk. I loved the very cute cup and saucer--it matched the colours of the restaurant, and had a nice weight to it. I was impressed. Shane got the apple juice ($3.75), which was pretty standard.

We'd tried the waffles at Chambar a year or two ago, so I knew they made good ones. We decided to get one each ($3.15), and also got a couple of accompaniments, the mixed berry compote and the fig orange marmalade ($1 per topping). The waffles were astounding: warm, golden brown, with a slight doughy chewiness and sweetness. Delicious! The toppings were good too, with the compote having a slight edge. But honestly, I just preferred these little heavenly rounds just as they were, because they were so utterly perfect.

For the mains, Shane got the Fricasse ($15), which is braised short rib mixed with potatoes, apples, greens, applewood cheddar, all topped with a couple of eggs, sunny side up. It arrived in its own little cast iron pan, with a warm chunk of foccaccia bread. This was wonderful--the short ribs (shredded) were tender, savoury, and had a slight sweetness, and the eggs were cooked well. I only had a taste of this, but Shane mentioned that every bite was different because of the different components that you could arrange on your fork. He really loved this, and I was a little jealous!

I ordered the Tagine ($13), which was two merguez sausages, a chickpea and tomato stew, olives, and topped with two poached eggs. It came with foccaccia bread and a scoop of sour cream. This was also very, very tasty. The sausages were wonderful, with a deep spiciness, and the stew had a fresh tomato flavour, which was mellowed by the soft poached egg. I really enjoyed this--normally I eat pretty fast, but this dish made me slow down, and savour every little bite.

We love Cafe Medina. This was probably one of the best breakfast experiences we've ever had, because the dishes weren't the usual fare you'd get at any other place; the dishes were so unique and flavourful and well executed. Sure, it's a little pricy for breakfast, but what originality! What quality! What waffles!

Bravo, and encore.

Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon

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