This Sunday morning I found myself struck by a craving for a croissant from Patachou. I should know this by now but Rosedale’s ultimate home for French pastries is closed on the Lord’s Day so we proceeded further down Yonge to search for other options. After passing on the relatively new Avant Gout we ended up at relatively ancient Rebel House. The heated patio was full so we were directed upstairs, not at all disappointing because my favourite setting for brunch is an upstairs table under a sunny pub window. At peak times the second floor of the Rebel House can be quite difficult to navigate but the light crowd allowed us to spread out comfortably.
I know from past experience that they have one of the best selections of Ontario beer on tap but for brunch a Bloody Caesar seems much more appropriate. This one is well-balanced with the perfect level of heat and a nice horseradish kick. Also, I’m a sucker for any drink served in one of those Mason jars with a handle on it. Coffee top-ups came perfectly-timed and without charge.
More than half of the time that I end up eating brunch in a restaurant I choose from the half of the menu that leans towards lunch rather than breakfast. In my opinion, nothing cures a hangover like a Cobb salad full of avocado and blue cheese or a bowl of well-executed fries. Sure, breakfast does have those two pinnacles of cured flesh in its corner–smoked salmon and bacon–but as one of the very few holdovers from my days as a certified Picky Eater I sometimes can’t stomach eggs cooked by someone else.
Sticking closely to this trend I opted for the Rebel Poutine ($6.25) which features the Rebel House’s kettle fries instead of the usual french fries. These thin wedges of potato are a cross between the shape and appearance of a fancy potato chip and the taste and texture of a french fry. The poutine comes absolutely smothered in cheddar cheese curds and smoked mozzarella and is bathed in an excellent gravy. The curds don’t squeak but that is a standard that only dedicated poutine joints and those closer to the Ontario/Quebec border seem to manage. The smoke from the mozzarella plays well with the earthy potato flavour and richness of the gravy. If anything the serving size here is too generous and this dish would best be split between three or four diners who are eating something else as well.
The Rebellion Eggs ($10.25) from across the table are definitely a keeper. Two poached eggs (well-dried so that they weren’t at all slimy) were topped with an excellently lemony hollandaise sauce and laid on top of smoked salmon. All elements were held together by the traditional canvas of a toasted english muffin. I can only quibble (and then only barely) with the temperature of the dish. I’m sure it is a tough series of events to coordinate but for this dish to really shine the english muffin has to still be hot from toasting and the eggs need to be as close to their poaching temperature as possible so that they contrast perfectly with the much cooler smoked salmon.
The service was well-paced and friendly–in a lazy Sunday brunch-appropriate manner. I’m sure most readers are familiar with the Rebel House’s comfortable Canadiana decor that smoothly manages to seem like it has been collected over a few decades without appearing affected or dog-eared. Between the excellent food, great service, and comfortable atmosphere the Rebel House has earned a spot in my regular brunch rotation.