It dawned on me recently that several months had passed since I’d enjoyed the very particular pleasure that is a brunch. The last time had been at Le Gros Jambon, and the experience, top to bottom, had been delicious. As such, the bar was set very high for the next brunch. From what I’d read and heard about the place (though the discreet establishment appears to exist without benefit of web or Facebook page), The Sparrow seemed an excellent pick for reaching it.
It appealed to me that the restaurant was situated in the mile end. I love the people and the atmosphere there, both. The decor of the place is very nice. A spacious restaurant with beautiful wood and an abundance of light, the combined effect is charmingly vintage. As for the clientele, they’re made up of a mix of hipsters, families and young couples. The easy comingling of different customer types bestows a friendly ambiance on the place (though I should point out that the inclusion of me and my guest in their midst that day increased the average clientele age meaningfully!).
The menu here is populated with a troop of British specialties, including reigning stars artisanal bacon, eggs and blood pudding. We launched our meal with Johnnycakes: two fine cornmeal pancakes covered with fresh cream and peach jam. They were nicely assembled and served on beautiful china. Next, we bypassed the vegetarian option and honed in on the meat main course. The serving of pulled pork wasn’t too salty, as is frequently the case, and the meat was nicely accompanied by coleslaw, a fried egg and hush puppies, delicious croquettes of cornmeal that are always a welcome complement. No ingredient was superfluous here. Everything on that plate seemed calculated to be a contributing player in the drama that is a simple brunch. For dessert, we shared the fried dough stuffed with banana and dark chocolate. Served warm, this punctuation to our meal served as a perfect illustration of comfort food. The server suggested that we wash everything down with the restaurant’s homemade iced tea, and we did not regret saying yes. Not too sweet and lemony enough, the cool beverage was the perfect companion to our brunch.
We have a habit of concluding our meals with not only a nice dessert, but a good espresso or cappuccino. In this case, we were dismayed to learn that there was no espresso machine on site. The waiter, however, reassured us that their coffee was remarkable. Excuse me? Your infused coffee is remarkable? Skeptically, we invited them to prove it. They did. The Sparrow’s coffee was excellent and served as a perfect closer to a tasty meal.
The popularity of brunches at Sparrow is such that a wait in line is a given, even if you had the foresight to reserve a table. But the queue isn’t long, and time spent in it is genuinely worth it. The service was impeccable, friendly and as relaxed as it should be on a Sunday morning.
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