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Hammersmith's (Gerrard and Logan) - great brunch!

TorontoJo Aug 3, 2011 09:01 AM

Thanks to millygirl and soko in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/798587 for bringing Hammersmith's to my attention. DH and I are happy to travel far and wide for our breakfasts (Goody's Diner in Scarborough was the last foray) and Riverdale was our destination today.

The space is a former diner that retains a lot of its diner charm, but with a much needed cleaning and whitewashing! Huge windows mean the space feels bright and airy.

The menu is small and changes slightly from day to day. Today the menu consisted of:

- steak and eggs ($14
)- smoked bacon omelette ($12)
- mushroom omelette ($9)
- steak sammy ($9)
- tomato, basil and burrata (?)
- bacon hash ($5)
- freshly baked scones with Ontario-grown raspberries ($1.25 each, plus there is a platter option with 3 scones, honeycomb, jam and butter)
- cupcakes (not sure what kind, as she was just frosting them as we were leaving)

DH ha the mushroom and cheese omelette, which was served with toasted baguette slices and a perfect green salad of lightly dressed arugula and green leaf lettuce garnished with some shaved radish and red onion. The omelette was cooked perfectly and the mushrooms were fresh and delicious. I was drawn to the bacon hash, which is actually meant to be a side order, but they kindly increased the portion for me to be a main, which I got with a side of the toasted baguette. The bacon is amazing quality (possibly from Sanagan's?) and the hash is made with loads of caramelized onions and small cubes of roasted potatoes. It was rich and savoury and soooooo good (photo below)

I also started with a scone, because I couldn't resist when he told me they had just come out of the oven an hour ago. The scones are just the right size in my books, not the giant bread bombs you get at Starbucks. It was crispy and flaky on the outside and tender and light on the inside. Not sweet at all, but with a nice hit of sweetness from the fresh berries and the sugar crystals on the outside. Excellent.

Good coffee and REAL grapefruit juice (squeezed on site) rounded out a great brunch. The couple that owns it are young and incredibly nice and I wish them well.

The current hours are 9am - 4pm Mon - Fri (closed Tuesdays) and 9:30am - 4pm on the weekend. The menu is the same all day. Go and give them a try.

 
  1. j
    JennaBean Aug 3, 2011 09:07 AM

    I'm so thrilled! Britney and Colin used to work with my BF at resto here in the city a few years ago. I'm really happy to see all of the positive feedback from the group. We will have to get there soon to try the food and toast the couple!

    1. jlunar Aug 3, 2011 10:54 AM

      It's on my list to try! Breakfast some morning before work...

      1. TorontoJo Aug 22, 2011 04:23 PM

        Went back to Hammersmith's this weekend and had another lovely meal. I had the chicken salad sandwich, which was served on their multi-grain baguette with their side salad. BUT...the best part of ordering the chicken salad sandwich was the fact that they serve crispy chicken skin on the side, with some sriracha and pommery mustard! Yippee, chicken skin! DH had the bacon omelette, which he declared perfect for him. Afterwards, I decided to order the scone plate, which (for $5) consists of 3 small scones (Ontario wild blueberries this time) and a small dish of honeycomb honey and homemade (I think) strawberry jam.

        Service was as friendly as the first time around and the vibe is laid back. A really nice spot to enjoy a leisurely meal.

        As I was paying, I spotted the truly yummy looking chocolate chip and cocoa nib cookies and had to buy one to go. It was probably my favourite chocolate chip cookie I've purchased in a bakery or restaurant in a looooong time. Buttery, crispy and chewy. Perfect.

        Some photos below. I put a spoon next to the chocolate chip cookie to show scale. It's a big mother.

        These guys are consistently busy on the weekend, but are still pretty slow during the week. So if you have the chance, please go during the week and give these guys the business they deserve. Note: closed Tuesdays.

         
         
         
         
         
        3 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo
          jlunar Aug 22, 2011 05:33 PM

          Very slow on the week days... but I may have to go back for that chicken sandwich!

          1. re: jlunar
            TorontoJo Aug 22, 2011 06:01 PM

            What did you try there before? The chicken sandwich was very nice, but I could have use a slightly higher filling to bread ratio (and I usually don't like overloaded sandwiches). The owner said that most people don't touch the chicken skin. How sad.

            I should mention that there was a gorgeous-looking cured salmon fillet with a salad loaded with fresh peas over the weekend. There was also a fresh pea and corn salad that I would have ordered had DH wanted to split it with me.

            1. re: TorontoJo
              jlunar Aug 22, 2011 08:36 PM

              I've had the salmon salad, which was really good value in my opinion. I got the corn and pea salad which was only okay. It was a bit soggy to me and very straight-forward. I've also had the mushroom omelette, which was nice. The duck hash was tasty too. I really enjoy their peach lemonade.

              Gah. Photos. Have them. Must process. So behind.

        2. p
          panthera Sep 21, 2011 06:25 PM

          I went there a few weeks ago for lunch and it was delicious. Had the chicken salad sandwich and really enjoyed it and loved the salad too. The extra pommery mustard was nice, but no chicken skin with mine. Not fancy, just very good ingredients made with care. Went on a Tuesday, and it was not busy at all; glad they're doing well on weekends. Looking forward to going back soon to try something else.

          1. c
            conwali Sep 24, 2011 09:07 AM

            We just went there for breakfast. I loved my mushroom omelette & the kids had the bacon omelette. The side salad was also great. But the best part - my husband had the duck plate. Duck hash and a fried duck egg. He said it was the best fried egg he's ever had. It's a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.

            1 Reply
            1. re: conwali
              m
              millygirl Sep 24, 2011 02:11 PM

              I just noticed this thread and so glad you liked it TorontoJo.
              Just reading this, I've decided we're going tomorrow. Can't wait. Hopefully they will have scones.

            2. s
              SusanB Dec 10, 2011 10:35 AM

              We were there today - really nice brunch, and the press coffee was excellent. A couple of people order the apple juice and said it was amazing.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SusanB
                m
                millygirl Dec 10, 2011 01:45 PM

                So we're we! Love it there.

                We had our usual fresh grapefruit juice, house cured salmon and goat cheese omelet along with the great arugula side salad - so fresh and fantastic dressing. That, along with the french press and a plate of scones - heaven.

                And the owners are 2 lovely people.

                They are now doing dinners Thursday and Friday evenings. We really enjoyed the night we went. Hope to do it more often once winter settles in.

                1. re: SusanB
                  TorontoJo Dec 10, 2011 01:47 PM

                  Thanks for the reminder -- we haven't been there in a couple of months. Totally overdue! I think a visit tomorrow morning is in order.

                  And that's great news about dinner. Hope they carry that on after the holidays.

                2. TorontoJo Dec 11, 2011 10:34 AM

                  Went for breakfast today when they opened at 9:30. Fortunately, it's quiet that early, but they do get slammed later in the morning. I'm so glad that SusanB and millygirl posted yesterday, because I had sorta forgotten how much I really like this place (there are too many breakfast places in our rotation, so sometimes I lose track!). The menu is small, but everything is SO good. Bacon omelet was delicious. The side of bacon hash really needs to be featured as a full plate, with a fried egg and maybe some of their wonderful salad, because it is just that good. The cranberry scones had just come out of the oven and were delicious, as always. I picked up another chocolate chip cookie to go, and I had to hold myself back from buying several of those and some of the ginger molasses cookies.

                  I'm looking forward to trying dinner there in the new year. Note that they aren't licensed yet.

                  If you've never gone, please give these guys a try. It's a young couple who really care about the food they're putting out. I think they took a risk opening in an underdeveloped (from a "trendy" restaurant perspective) part of town and it would be great to see them succeed. Right now they are super busy on the weekends, but the weekdays sound like they are still really slow.

                  They post their changing menu on their website here:

                  http://www.hammersmithsbrunch.com/men...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    m
                    millygirl Dec 11, 2011 12:51 PM

                    Totally agree. Did you happen to try any of the fresh squeezed juices. The grapefruit is outta this world and the apple too. Nothing like the apple juice you buy at the store.

                    I love the baked goods holiday gift boxes Brittney is doing for christmas. Definitely going to order one of those.

                    And I love your idea TorontoJo about the hash main!!

                    I love everything about this place. I have a group of girlfriends that we normally exchange christmas presents and it's getting harder and harder to know what to buy. It's come down to a bottle of wine usually but this year as a surprise I am going to take them all out for brunch in the new year to Hammersmiths. I can't wait - they're gonna love it. And Brittney better bake extra that weekend cuz we're coming hungry!!!!

                    Her scones are off the hook.

                    1. re: millygirl
                      TorontoJo Dec 11, 2011 01:21 PM

                      Yes, I love fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and always get a glass there. I'll have to try the apple juice next time!

                      That's a really nice gift for your friends -- the best part is that Hammersmith's takes reservations. Such a rarity these days.

                      On the way there, we stopped at Rahier. On the way back, we stopped at Flaky Tart (btw, for anyone interested, Flaky Tart is open on Sundays in December). Add to that the scones and chocolate chip cookie we bought at Hammersmith's, and I have a total overabundance of baked good bliss. Not sure where to start eating.

                  2. Baelsette Mar 10, 2012 04:41 PM

                    Thanks for posting this, always good to know about new spots in the hood. You'll hate me for asking but is it kid friendly?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Baelsette
                      TorontoJo Mar 10, 2012 06:48 PM

                      Very kid friendly -- always a couple of tables with kids when I'm there.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        m
                        millygirl Mar 10, 2012 08:08 PM

                        Definitely agree. I've seen many a child there, and they have high chairs if need be. In fact the child beside us today was running around from table to table, no harm. She was very cute in fact.

                      2. re: Baelsette
                        j
                        julesrules Nov 9, 2012 07:42 AM

                        I am looking at the current menu and the summer menu and it looks like they don't do even one sweet main (ie/pancakes or french toast). Although the scones sound great, I'm personally disappointed because I love a creative, seasonal sweet breakfast and it's one way I can always sell my young kids on a place!

                        1. re: julesrules
                          Full tummy Nov 9, 2012 11:02 AM

                          Well, and the one day I went they were out of scones. They were out of quite a few things, so definitely something to think about, as we went with our toddler and found it tough to order for him.

                          1. re: Full tummy
                            j
                            julesrules Nov 9, 2012 11:06 AM

                            Thanks... it'll probably be Motorama then. I'll try this place for weekday brunch on my own. Although it sounds like a nice overall experience, none of the menu items are grabbing me and they don't appear to change often or much despite the "blackboard" aspect.

                        2. re: Baelsette
                          j
                          julesrules Nov 20, 2012 08:50 AM

                          I went for brunch on my own. The people are lovely and super eager to please. Enjoyed the duck plate, although a little bright acidity in the form of a handful of dressed greens or maybe an oven dried tomato would have put it over the top.
                          I found the scones a little dry and dense. I'm not looking for cake or biscuits but these would be best straight from the oven I think.
                          As for kid-friendly, it depends on your kids' tastes. Mine, I suspect, would not be persuaded this was their thing. My friend has also tried to bring hers and they rejected the menu.
                          Has anyone mentioned they do pots of Steeped and Infused loose leaf tea? A nice touch. If I lived closer I would go for afternoon tea with a scone plate.
                          They were brave to open at this intersection and deserve success.

                        3. c
                          chef leone Nov 13, 2012 07:09 PM

                          Definitely recommend! Charming and delicious!

                          1. Teep Nov 20, 2012 08:16 PM

                            While the duck hash was lovely, we did not like the fact that it's an open kitchen and the ventilation wasn't so good. This was compounded by the problem that they were a bit slow - just one cook doing everything - so it was not that enjoyable sitting there. I still smelled grease on my jacket later that night.

                            1. m
                              millygirl Jul 14, 2013 07:21 AM

                              Whoo hoo. Hammersmiths has expanded their weekend menu! And let me tell you, it's good!!

                              Think french toast with a side of foie gras or pork belly. This dish is outstanding. Comes with a blueberry compote and a dollop of cream. Really really good. Not as sweet as it may sound - balance is perfect.

                              Another dish worth seeking out - asparagus mousse - not sure exactly what its called but it comes smothered on top of a softly boiled egg. Heavenly. The mousse is so flavourful, rich and creamy.

                              Seriously good stuff!!!

                              Oh, and in addition to all the other fabulous baked goodies, they now do macaroons.

                              I can't wait to go back again next weekend.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: millygirl
                                m
                                MargieEv Feb 23, 2014 05:57 AM

                                I was by there the other day and the windows are all papered over. I assume closed. Too bad.

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