Laika: extremely bland and incredibly slow
We like our brunch. We try to do it every weekend. Every week we try a different place, but most of the times we swear to go back to our trusted old pals (Reservoir, Byblos, chez nous if we don't want to spend too much). Usually things are not bad. The worst food we get is always above average, slightly below what we can make at home. We don't complain much. Montreal is good for brunch.
But Laika changed it. I always had suspicions about this place; I don't trust a resto/cafe with a turntable station. But seeing the crowds, we decided to give it a try this weekend. We regret.
The place was packed so we sat at the bar, watched the cooks do their thing. They were doing their thing at a reasonable speed, but the kitchen is small, the stations are smaller and there were a few large tables that seemed to clog the orders. It was fine by us, we had our newspapers and decent coffees so we decided that it was worth the wait since the food looked delicious. We waited... waited... our big bowls of coffees were finished... and finally two pretty plates were put on our front.
The problem was that the food "only" looked delicious. I believe it was the most underseasoned, overcooked 10 dollar egg plate I have ever consumed. There was no trace of salt or pepper; and the guy who was showing off with a pepper mill has strangely disappeared. My eggs (probably from a industrial mix) were so overcooked that now I understand why Gail Simmons has this extreme aversion towards rubbery eggs. I have some nice baby greens on my plate, straight from a box or bag, with no dressing or salt. My partner's eggs were broiled on top of the same boxed greens, causing some sort of caulked out green gunk that stuck to the terracota pan. Completely inedible greens. Half of his food was extremelty salty, the other half was completely unseasoned. Boy, we were tricked by the looks. I almost couldn't finish my dish and because of my strange upbringing I rarely leave food on my plate.
Umm, of course there are positivies: the coffee was good, and we scored some free New York Times that someone left on the counter.
That's too bad. I've had some really good brunches, and a couple of fantastic ones, at Laïka, but that was a few years ago. Sad to see that it's gone downhill.
I also had a terrible experience at Laika, but for drinks, not brunch. The server waited at least 10 minutes to take our order. We were never checked on again so after another 35 minutes and STILL no drinks our group decided to leave. Seeing us put on our coats, the server finally brought our drinks out but we'd had enough by that point. She blamed the "busy" night for her slow service and yet she'd managed to deliver rounds of refills to 3 tables around ours.
I just don't get why people continue to populate that place. Shabby decor, mediocre food, barely passable service, and absolutely disgusting washrooms. Ok it has free wi-fi, but for that I can go to a cafe!