Address: 123 Princess Street
Entrees: $7 – $16
Brunch offers the best of both worlds, a time to enjoy a mix of breakfast and lunch staples and a good excuse to imbibe a little earlier than usual. If you are looking for a spot that shakes up the brunch scene, Clementine delivers. Its industrial-chic subterranean Exchange District space has been winning downtown lunchers and cool kid brunchers since 2016 with global-inflected dishes nodding to the city’s diverse culinary leanings.
Over the buzz of chatter from filled tables, anticipation sets in from the first step down the flight of stairs. The scene is as electric as the neon script cajoling from the wall “eat this it will help.” Clearly, this is no secret; wait lists are legendary at peak times.
Comfort food is the post pandemic buzz word du jour, and while the kitchen is more than willing to oblige with classics like eggs benedict topped with thick cut maple bacon and glossy hollandaise, it’s when the menu branches out that creativity truly shines. Bold Mexican flavours are delivered on a chorizo tostada, topped with avocado cream, cotija, pickled pineapple and tangy curtido, a slightly fermented cabbage slaw, and an egg. Each bite, both hot and cold, awakens taste buds with sweet, sour and umami notes.
Smoked arctic char is go-to for regulars. A slab of the mild, flaky fish perches atop batons of crisp-fried potato cakes, with cukes, dollops of crème fraîche, horseradish and pearly salmon roe lending bite and pop. Ringing in at a mere $16, this is the most expensive item on the menu.
Sweet treats are equally elevated with exciting ingredients. A thick Brussels-style waffle is brightened with hibiscus syrup, lemon imbued curd and poppyseed crumble for spectacular crispy bites.
Through a grid of windows into the open kitchen, diners see the action, head chef Chris Gama leading a full brigade, frying, chopping, saucing and simmering marvelous creations.
A range of side dishes make for a light breakfast or a sharable addition to an indulgent brunch. In every sweet treat or savoury dish, main or side, the food at Clementine clinches the most important meal of the day.