Edmonton·food review

Brunch at District Café and Bakery – simple, fresh, delicious

The brunch menu is a welcome one in this city where a good weekend repast is hard find. The menu will appeal to all: the fussy, the picky, the hungry and the calorie-conscious.

'The menu will appeal to all: the fussy, the picky, the hungry and the calorie-conscious'

Campbell says the buttery waffles, fresh eggs and vibrant libations made for a refreshing brunch. (Twyla Campbell )

Nate Box's District Coffee Co. was doing fine as an on-trend coffee shop, charming in its minimalist venue and so small that two people with laptops took up most of the table space.

This spring, the café underwent a massive renovation, branching out to claim the area to the west and growing to more than five times the original size.

The menu, designed by Box's long-time second-in-command, Chael MacDonald, now extends to include dinner and brunch along with a very smart wine and cocktail list.

The brunch menu is a welcome one in this city, where a good weekend repast is hard find.

The newly vamped space features sparkling white subway tile and tables tops of light wood set against ceiling high windows. It is a comfortable and easy place to relax and while away the hours.

The menu will appeal to all: the fussy, the picky, the hungry and the calorie-conscious. MacDonald knows the recipe for Box's restaurant success well: keep it simple, classy, well-executed and interesting enough to entice — and never compromise on quality.

The eggs Benedict is served on Liege waffles, instead of typical English muffins. The Belgian style waffles are known for their buttery sweetness and golden, caramelized crust. They serve as the perfect vehicle for silky poached eggs and a swath of lemony hollandaise.

Steel cut oats make for a hefty helping of healthy grains. This is not your grandmother's porridge. This cereal has depth and texture with the added helpings of apple, raisins and cream to give it some sweetness.

Those in the mood for meat and potatoes won't be disappointed.

The breakfast bowl comes sans protein, but if you need to add to the mix of roast potatoes, fresh tomatoes, micro-greens, cheese, eggs and hollandaise, sausage and bacon are available for an extra fee.

 As well, the breakfast sandwich and the pot pies satisfy those needing hot and savoury items over fruit and yogurt.

The hit of the menu is the coddled egg, cooked at 63 degrees sous vide for 90 minutes atop a brown butter mash and sprinkled with chive and a controlled amount of Maldon sea salt. It is a lesson in simplicity and quality.  

The classic brunch cocktail, the mimosa, is available as well as creative libations.

Of course, lattes, Americanos and chai are de rigueur and made from beans by craft roasters, Bows & Arrows and Timbertrain, both of British Columbia.

District Café and Bakery, at 10011 109th Street, has everything going for it: venue, food, and service. Brunch, as any other meal here, is solid — as expected. 

You can hear Campbell's reviews on Edmonton AM every second Friday. You can also see more of her reviews on her blog, Weird Wild and Wonderful, and can follow her on Twitter at @wanderwoman10.

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