Lawrence – The wait is over
Lawrence is a new addition to the plateau/Mile end area with an interesting story to tell. It had its roots as being the kitchen staff from The Sparrow which was one of the hottest brunch spots in the city. They came on the scene and turned a whole lot of heads and changed things up. Recently, in late 2010, the Kitchen staff from the Sparrow moved. It was a mutual arrangement since the Sparrow no longer wanted to do brunch and the kitchen staff had made quite a name for itself pumping out some seriously tasty brunches. So, recently they opened Lawrence and started to serve weekend brunch. For those who loved the Sparrow brunch, it’s still here; it just moved a block over. Now we can see what changed, what stayed the same and if it’s 4.5/5 rating still stands up after the move.
At 1st glance
Lawrence is right at the corner of St Laurent and Fairmount and although there is no giant sign, it’s kind of hard to miss since the street opens up and you see it smack dab at the corner. The interior has lots of wood small tables, a sofa near the entrance and washrooms in the back left with cool floor tiles near them. The entrance has a large curtain near the door which is intended to cut the cold in the winter. Having seen these at many places, I told my friend we had to get as far away from that area as possible since the cold wind blowing in can make for an unpleasant experience, not to mention the people who choose to hold the door open not realizing that it’s affecting people’s dining experience. So, keep in mind the tables closest to the door might feel cold.
For those of you who liked the Sparrow’s menu and have been mourning the loss of your morning fix, the wait is over. The menu is almost exactly the same with all of their classic English pub style dishes back for your taste buds to enjoy. In fact, I had an old picture of the menu and compared it to this one side to side and the only thing that is different is the order of items and the prices on some items have changed. The menu is posted online on Twitter although, last I checked they did not post the brunch menu but they may end up doing so at some point (follow us on Twitter as well) . The menu we had that day is as follows:
We started with a coffee which had refills included. I was worried I would not get drip but was very pleased when they said they had it. We ordered up some chocolate stuffed donuts. I wanted to start off with them but my friend felt it should come at the end like a dessert. I disagreed and when I asked our waitress she sided with my friend. I think that’s because she heard my friend and wanted to side with the losing side. But, since it’s my site, I will review it first even though we ate it last. They were tasty as always and it was easy to tell that nothing really changed in the recipe. The filling was fresh and the outside had a little resistance at first then gave away to release all the delicious filling. In theory, you can start your meal with this or close it up as a dessert at the end. The taste is nice and not too sugary.
Next came the Eggs Florentine which was also a carbon copy of their dishes from the past. The eggs were well poached, the spinach was good but it didn’t come with any sides, which, they never had before but, I still think it would be nice to add some now that they are at a new place and can experiment with maybe changing up the menu. I mean this dish was $12 and although quite tasty, other places offer similar dishes and throw in something on the plate extra. I liked this plate but my friend was slightly disappointed.
I ended up ordering the Baked egg and celeriac at $16. This dish was quite generous and piping hot. The dish is quite filling although I felt the celeriac was a little too pronounced and since I am not a huge fan, it wasn’t something that I liked. This dish was not in my initial review but I have had this in one of my last trips back in 2010 and I generally liked the dish and did not see any deviation from it. They also had some toasted bread on the side which is helpful when you are mopping up all the left over food your fork cannot get.
I noticed some familiar faces there and I always felt that service was good; they are nice, helpful, laid back and funny. Turn around time on meals is good and bills come quickly. I should note that they may know who I am so my anonymous approach may not work here but having dealt with them before I can tell you nothing much has changed.
There are some vegetarian options with around 1/3 of the menu being vegetarian friendly. With an English breakfast theme, do expect to see some meat in the rest of the dishes
Some of the things I loved that have changed are the fact that you can use a credit card and debit card. Finally, a payment option other than cash. Some of the dishes are still there with that old British style to it. There is a sofa and trunk like before which is comforting. The menu is still solid and still tasty, I mean nothing really changed. On a personal level, I would have liked to see some changes maybe some side dishes or a new creative dish. This in no way takes away from the quality of the food, it’s just a personal wish. If you loved the classic Sparrow Brunch well, it’s back and didn’t move to far.
| 5201 BLVD. ST. LAURENT
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