Showing posts with label vegetarian hash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetarian hash. Show all posts

Hazel’s Diner Mount Pleasant (Toronto)

As a society, we seem to be a nostalgic bunch. Possibly a by product of living through the pandemic, or just because we crave the “good old days” when things were just simpler. We’re listening to more oldies than current top hits, television reboots are sprouting up, and the excitement around Top Gun Maverick is palpable. Does this bleed into the way we eat as well?

Unfortunately, rising rents and COVID has also claimed several iconic diners across Toronto. For Midtown residents, we’re lucky that Hazel’s Diner is still around. Having been to their Yonge location on numerous occasions, I was invited to visit the newer Mount Pleasant outpost, which serves the same menu.   

While the Yonge location’s dark wooden interior provides a homey rustic feeling, Mount Pleasant’s dining room is full of bright colours and light, a nod to the retro diners of the 50s. I almost expected to find Archie and Jughead lounging around the restaurant, tucking into large frothy milkshakes.

The Mount Pleasant location also has an outdoor patio, hidden by beautiful foliage and a wide sidewalk so that there's more privacy. 

You can certainly find the staple breakfast fare of bacon and eggs at Hazel’s, although I think their signature creations are so much better and love that their menu offers so many meat-free options.

Bonnie’s hash ($17), named after the owner’s wife who is a vegetarian, is a hearty combination of well toasted potatoes mixed with corn, onion, pepper, spinach, garlic, and jalapeno, topped with two eggs done to your liking (my over medium was done perfectly). It’s a satisfying breakfast that’s also refreshing and delicious.

I only wish the rye bread was less crispy – it’s more akin to melba toast – and is great for dipping into eggs but not solo with jam. Sourced from a local bakery, the owner explains the lack of preservatives does mean it can crisp up quickly, so perhaps order it untoasted if you like your bread soft.

The TPA benny ($17) is a healthy choice as the poached eggs are accompanied by a mound of arugula salad, tomato slices, and asparagus. Of course, they are also slathered in a rich buttery hollandaise and sit on a large crispy rosti, but what’s a breakfast without potatoes?

Picture and experience of TPA Benny from Yonge location

Hazel’s rosti is crunchier than the traditional Swiss version; it’s more like deep fried shredded potatoes than a pan-toasted potato pancake. Yet, it starts to soften as the egg yolk and tomato juices begin to meld into the rosti. Everything was so fresh thanks to the owner’s dedication to buying most of the ingredients himself… he’s a touch and see the ingredients kind of person. Oh, and if you’re wondering what TPA stands for, it’s tomato potato arugula.

On the other hand, if you’re craving decadence, the eggs Natasha ($19) places poached eggs on smoked salmon and pancakes topped with hollandaise, sour cream, and black caviar. It’s a savoury, sweet, and smoky concoction, certainly a dish to wake up the taste buds and makes me wonder if it’s too early to have a shot of vodka.

For those who like it sweet, the French toast is made from challah so that it’s extra custardy tasting with a faint cinnamon finish. I particularly love that Hazel’s uses maple syrup instead of the overly thick and plasticky tasting table syrup. When you’re creating such wonderful dishes, go maple!    

After such a filling brunch, I didn’t think we could get through the loaded waffle ($16), but as I took a bite of the fluffy creation with a sweet berry, I wanted another bite and another… needless to say, it did not go to waste. And despite what looks like an insane amount of whipped cream, it was as light as air and seemed to vanish on the tongue.

One thing is for sure, you’ll leave Hazel’s feeling satisfied (if not stuffed) as that’s how diners are supposed to be. I picture a stout smiling women with a slight Southern twang urging me to eat another bite and ending sentences with “sugar”. Imagine my surprise when I find out Hazel is the name of the owner’s car … so, not a person. I guess that’s one thing about nostalgia, we look back with rosier glasses, and in my mind, there will always be a Grandma Hazel.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in the mission statement, I will always provide my honest opinion. 

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 523 Mt Pleasant Road

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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