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Cafe Belong at The Brickworks

Read about this in that VISA Infinite brochure that arrived with this morning's Globe. I searched The Brickworks site but there's nothing much, a placeholder page saying "opening Spring 2011" and a news release dated April 2010 stating the cafe was slated to open last Fall.

Does anyone know anything? Any idea when it's opening...if it's not already.

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  1. This is Brad Long's new project. I'm trying to remember where I read about it. It's already up and running as a catering operation for the Brickworks. Let me see if I can find the article I read.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Cheers TorontoJo...I read about his catering operation too, but I get the impression that there's going to be a cafe...Great excuse to go to The Brickworks - as if I need one :)

      1. re: SharkfinSoup

        Yep, definitely a real cafe! And NFA below found the article I read -- it was in the Toronto Star.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Actually, there is a job posting on Toronto's Craigslist, dated Feb 26 advertising for all positions for Cafe Belong. Interviews in March, opening scheduled for April. If anyone out there is interested.

    2. Website here: http://www.belongcatering.ca/
      Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/living/food/ar...

      Sara Kuntz
      Catering Director
      Belong Catering at Evergreen Brickworks
      416 527 6557

      1. I can't wait for this place to open - last I checked, it was meant to be April or so. The plan is for it to open 7 days a week, from early morning (7:30 or 8) through dinner. A place to grab weekend brunch, a cool spot for an early morning business meeting, etc. I'm a big fan of Brad (his cooking and he's a really nice guy) and a ridiculously big fan of The Brickworks - everything they are doing is so inspired, so welcoming, so family oriented, so interesting and so delicious.

        For those that haven't been, you should check out the indoor space they've renovated. There's a fun winter market on Saturday mornings (not as big as the outdoor summer market but still has a great vibe and lots of great chow) + crafts and face painting for the kids. The skating rink is so charming, the perfect place for a family skate, especially if you have young tots. You can rent skates there, adults and children + helmets, for $5 a person or pay what you can.

        For me, The Brickworks is one of Toronto's greatest treasures and it just keeps getting better.

        1. When we took the kids there skating over the Christmas break there was a small table set up (inside the visitor welcome building) with 2 or 3 different sweets and stew, soup and hot chocolate. Brad was manning the table himself. Merchants of Green Coffee were also there selling coffee. Not sure if they are there every week-end or if this was just for the holidays.
          We tried 2 coffee cakes, one apple and one pear and the soup, I think sqaush something. Everything was really tasty and simple (in a good way).
          There was a sign in the window of an adjacent building advertising that this would be there new location. It looked like a nice spot, tons of windows and presumably a lot of outdoor seating.
          I'm looking forward to them opening too!

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheesymama

            We've been there on a couple of Sundays for skating and there was also someone there (Brad's partner - another Brad) selling soup and hot chocolate and pie in the second building. So I'm guessing they try and have some food there for the skating rink hours, which is great. I understood the restaurant was going in a different space - between the skating rink and the parking lot.

          2. So it is now summer 2011. Their website says they're opening Spring 2011 and some other searches say fall 2011. Also the Brickworks website has nothing current either. Anyone know when it's open?

            4 Replies
            1. re: RiceBucket

              I was at the market this week-end - I'm told sometime before the end of July so soon!

              In the meantime, you can enjoy their splendiferous offerings during the Saturday morning market (killer sheeps milk yoghurt with granola and some kind of seasonal fruit compote - rhubarb of late, biscuits topped with gorgeous scrambled eggs, rotating veg and proteins and a seasonal mayo), cookies, etc. This week, they were also making scones with strawberries and whipped cream. On weekdays, they also set up lunch everyday between 11:30 and 2:30 in the main building.

              1. re: peppermint pate

                I had the pleasure of MC-ing a Long Lunch for Visa Infinite and Belong a couple of weeks ago.

                The space was still in the midst of construction, but here are some pics of the rather smashing food.


                1. re: Non Doctor

                  Dang! I am sorry I missed this. I keep forgetting to check the Infinite site...

                2. re: peppermint pate

                  Had the sheeps milk yogurt with granola and rhubard compote at the outdoor stand a few weeks back and it was so delicious! Haven't been able to eat yogurt in a few years because of a Dairy Intolerance so this breakfast was great for me!
                  The yogurt on its own is maybe a bit too tangy for my tastes but it is perfect when you mix everything together.

              2. Opened last Saturday. They're not fully up and running yet - liquor license still pending and no early morning brekkies yet - but they are open. I'm going to swing by tomorrow to check it out. "Non Doctor" - I heard great things about that VISA event - kudos.

                8 Replies
                1. re: peppermint pate

                  Went there yesterday, liquour license will be ready in a week, but the restaurant is up and running and the food is DELICIOUS. My fiance had braised lamb and I had the vegan moroccon chick pea stew. Both very flavourful. Portions are huge. Ordered a bread basket which came with 4 different types of bread and bread sticks and was well worth 4 dollars.

                  Can't wait to go back when can pair their food with the wine.

                  1. re: maya.pk

                    Well... Chris Johns gave Café Belong a critical assassination in the Globe over the weekend... but having watched his writing evolve over the past decade I'm not sure that I believe a word that he says. His review, like many of his previous pieces, waltzes off into a fog of self-congratulatory foodie onanism.

                    Has anyone been to Belong over the past week or so?

                    I believe that they receive their Licence this week.

                    I really want to try it out.

                    Café Belong
                    550 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                    1. re: Non Doctor

                      Probably one of the worst reviews I've read. Some one should take away his Proust and make him write with both hands.

                      Liked the food at My Place when it opened and looking forward to trying Cafe Belong Is there a menu posted anywhere?

                      1. re: Non Doctor

                        I did go to Cafe Belong 2 weeks ago on a Saturday around 2 to beat any lunch crowd, and I went again last Thursday evening. I thought that the cafe would cater to the crowd at the popular Brickworks market - families, couples, people hanging out after a walk or bike ride through the valley or the facilities but I found the menu Saturday to be more like a downtown high end bistro (think Le Select) than casual fare. We were looking for light fare, pastry and coffee. The menu was not particular descriptive and neither was the waiter who was called upon to answer some questions. We settled on a shared appetizer and entree, (hesitant to blow $60 for two entrees on a lunch after a hike) both of which were excellent in quality, presentation and taste. I returned the next Thursday with another family member thinking perhaps their menu changes in the evening. We arrived at 7pm and left at 8:30pm and we were the only group to have dinner. Another party sat for a drink and left shortly afterwards but it is a strange thing to be the only patrons of a restaurant. The menu had not changed for the evening but there was enough to choose from. Again, the entrees and desserts were excellent in quality, presentation and taste, although the pork and apple dish should really say 'pork belly' because it was 90% fat. My husband was not impressed. I have never judged a restaurant for its concept but this was simply not what I would have expected for a Brickworks 'cafe' which sorely needs a full time cafe! On top of that the lack of ambiance/patrons would prevent me from bringing anyone here for nice dinner. This is too bad as the food really is good quality and carefully considered. (Chris Johns can keep his review)

                        Le Select
                        432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

                        1. re: RiceBucket

                          Thanks for that Ricebucket.

                          Much appreciated.

                          1. re: RiceBucket

                            Maybe I'm missing something but my quick impression when I went by on the way to the market was that there is a counter service cafe with coffee and pastries that people were lined up for and the sit down full service restaurant. It did not appear that you could get the items from the counter in the restaurant.

                            1. re: bytepusher

                              This is true. We ordered coffee at the restaurant and the waiter indicated the coffe would come from the take out counter, which puzzled us. We checked out the counter after our lunch and though they had a long baked good menu they were sold out of everything but 3 types of cookies and 2 squares. People wandered in to check it out but there wasn't much to buy.

                          2. re: Non Doctor

                            Went this this weekend during brunch. Due to timing we were only able to try a few things. The menu is limited but many of the elements change frequently. The overall space is quite nice, industrial homey I guess would be the best way to describe it. Since it was brunch I found it was filled to a comfortable capacity. I suspect the place will get busier as time goes on. Overall we found the service to be very professional.

                            The drinks were really nice - made in house. I had blueberry limeade and the kid had strawberry lemonade. I gather they also make their own sodas with juices and soda water.

                            I had the lentil dish - there were two options (these change day to day) options were duck confit with duck broth served with du puy lentils or vegetarian with wild mushrooms with du puy lentils. I chose the the vegetarian. Interesting flavouring almost Moroccan. I could see it not being to everyone's taste but I quite liked it.

                            DH had the one of the sides Rosemary Kugel served in an individual crueset and a cold tomato and red pepper soup. Both were excellent. The kid had the sticky and sweet pork pork, I wil concur with Rice Doctor there was quite a bit of fat on the pork belly, again interesting flavouring. Not sure if I would order it again but I will say that it went beautifully with the Kugel!

                            The one thing I would really like to try is their family style full dinners - they mentioned a choice of beef, chicken and vegetarian (there may have been pork as well)... . Meals would come with everything right down to the dessert.

                            For a vegetarian this place would be excellent as there were at least 4 or so vegetarian dishes on the menu including a vegan Moroccan chickpea stew that was served in its own crueset tagine.

                            Overall we were pleased. Disappointed that we didn't have time to try desserts. We may be going back this weekend for a little birthday treat for me so I will post back and let people know how it was the second time.

                      2. Finally went to the Brickworks on Aug 20 for a canning course and happened upon Cafe Belong. First impression was that prices were a bit steep for a cafe in a market, but as we were tired I thought, what the heck. SO GLAD WE DID

                        First I had the heirloom tomato gazpacho, then the sticky pork with apples, frites with aioli then followed by a pot de creme for dessert. Really, really impressed. The quality of food served was that of a much more expensive restaurant. We had a similarly good meal at Batifole a few months back and the bill was more than $50 more. I will definitely be back and would actually go out of my way to get to this place.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: currycue

                          Cafe Belong does belong in the firmament of Toronto dining.

                          I had the opportunity to dine there (Sept 7) for a light dinner with the wife and little girl. It was indeed very light in terms of patrons but I think the word just needs to spread as to the quality of the food. I concur with currycue on the quality of the food. The prices and atmosphere lend me to think of something less refined in execution.

                          We had the:
                          - Milk braised lamb
                          - Crab cake
                          This was a special and was one large crab cake with a bit of frisse on top.
                          Good fresh crab without much filler and a nice crust...almost a croquette.
                          - Small Fry (Piccolo Fritti)
                          aka tempura vegetable (green beans, zucchini slices, zuchinn flowers, mushroom (fresh shitake and not veg but a cheese stick)
                          - Frittata
                          - Cheesecake.

                          I personally like the atmosphere but it is a personal thing (reminds me of a place I used to hang out 2-3 times a week when I was in the US). I love it being quiet in terms of traffic BUT I hope they get more seats filled to keep the business around.

                          The server indicated that the 'communal' service is currently a pre-order item.


                        2. I had lunch there on Saturday and it was good. The sweet and sticky pork and the scalloped sweet potatoes were the standouts. I found the Moroccan stew to be a bit bland and the chick peas could have used a little more cooking.

                          Service was professional, attentive and unobtrusive. They were happy to serve it family style for the four of us so we each got to try a bit of everything.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hal2010

                            Totally Loved it! Easygoing, unimposing service, great views, interesting and tasty food choices, appropriate pricing (not cheap, but ok). A lot of subtle exotic spicing and a local flair.