A photographic tour of one of Toronto’s best brunch menus

A photographic tour of one of Toronto’s best brunch menus

A mere six months after opening, the brunch at the Hoof Café has become the city’s most coveted (witness the lineups snaking out the door). Co-owner Grant van Gameren and chef Geoff Hopgood combine the Hoof’s snout-to-tail philosophy with breakfast standards, creating a menu that is both playful and indulgent. Beautiful and inventive cocktails by co-owner and house mixologist Jen Agg round out meals that are satisfying to the eye as they are to the palate.

Here, our side show tour of the west end’s hottest brunch menu »

Suckling pig’s Benny
The menu is full of porcine tributes, including this popular dish: a pair of biscuits topped with supple shredded pork, poached eggs and silky Hollandaise sauce. The pile of salad greens are studded with seasoned pork rinds. $13. 

Blood sausage crêpe
Savoury and sweet unite in this delicious collision of rich blood pudding and flour crêpes, milky fresh ricotta, crushed walnuts and a reduction of maple syrup, butter and dates. $13. 

Foie French toast
Thick slices of egg-soaked grilled bread, a slab of pan-seared foie gras, crushed macadamia nuts and warmed fresh strawberry sauce. $12 (plus $14 supplement for the foie gras).

Hay ham
Stranger in concept than in taste, the hay ham ($3) is brined pork that’s been gently boiled with hay. Supported by fiery Dijon mustard, it’s like leaner peameal bacon. $3.

Ploughman’s lunch
Depending on the day, this hefty sampling platter may include venison and mustard seed sausage, Genoa salami, cacciatore, summer sausage, duck terrine and ribbons of Ontario prosciutto sided by raw milk cheese. $14.

Tongue grilled cheese
Think of this as a cross between a croque monsieur and Black Hoof’s signature tongue sandwich. Delicately shaved meat alternates with layers of melted brie and gouda, all packed between thick grilled slices of brioche. $14.

Pork belly pastrami
Brined, grilled and bathed in a sweet maple gastrique, the thick fat layers literally melt in your mouth. $4.

Spot shrimp and grits
This special—with spot shrimp flown in twice a week from B.C.—is seasoned with fennel, paprika and coconut. Served over a humble bed of polenta with a soft poached egg, sautéed kale, crisped pork belly and maple gastrique. Available until early July. $15.

Hoof café caesar
Lemon juice, Clamato, Worcestershire sauce and diluted Marmite make up the bulk of the Hoof’s caesar, but the real kick comes from Jen Agg’s pink peppercorn-infused vodka and homemade cayenne sauce. The cocktail classic gets fancier with crushed celery seed, Maldon salt and dehydrated horseradish rimming. $8.

Jam and bone marrow doughnuts
Available only on weekends, these cake-based doughnut holes are fried to order and served by the half dozen. The bite-sized balls are tossed in sugar and have a molten centre made from melted bone marrow and jam (rhubarb-vanilla is our favourite). $5.