Brunching on King William

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The French
37 King William Street, Hamilton
www.thefrench.ca
visited Sunday January 22, 2017

Is anyone as stoked as I am for all these amazing restaurants in the Hammer that are now serving brunch?!?!  And not just any old brunch stuff…like real boujee food, that is made from scratch, not greasy and totally innovative.  I’m so into it!  So I’m doing a double review on two amazing joints that have opened up on King William Street.  I’ve been to both The French and Berkeley North for dinner so was excited to try them out for brunch.  If you’re over reading this by now and just wanna skip to the pics that’s cool…final verdict on them both is that they’re pretty awesome.

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Ok the décor in The French is stunning.  Beautiful tufted banquette seating, chevron tiling, rustic stone walls a long sexy bar and an open kitchen to keep you entertained.  I followed along on Instagram as they were building this place and I drooled the whole way through the process…and that wasn’t even their food yet hahahha.  Plus this place is actually big inside so it can hold larger groups and a stroller can fit through the door if needed.  But reservations are absolutely necessary, especially on weekends for brunch.  I only have two negative things to say about The French and here’s the first.

Our group of three came at 10am pretty much just as it opened and it was fairly empty.  We didn’t have a reservation but they seated us anyway then proceeded to tell us that we’d have to leave by 11am because they were all booked up with reservations at that time.  UMMMMMMMMM???? WHATTTTTTTTT???? NOOOOOOOOOO… you don’t bother seating someone and then tell them they have a time limit on their meal…so that was a little annoying.  And even worse is that we left just after 11am (don’t worry we didn’t rush on their behalf!!!) and the place still wasn’t packed and there wasn’t people waiting to be seated.  Not cool.

Other than that the service was nice, the staff friendly and polite and the food arrived promptly..prolly cuz they wanted us to get the heck outta there lol?!

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Chickpea Pancakes $12- Pepperade, Coriander, Sesame, Manchego

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Duck Waffles $13- Duck Confit, Rosemary Blueberry, Almond, Crème Fraiche

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Raspberry Scone $4, Pain au Chocolat $4

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The food was spot on.  I had the Chickpea Pancakes which was a savory twist to your traditional pancakes.  The combination of flavours was something I’ve never had before and it worked perfectly for breakfast.  The roasted red peppers were slightly sweet and created a nice sauce for the pancakes to soak up.  And manchego cheese….you had me at manchego!  The portion was huge and I had leftovers for later.

I dug into my cousins Duck Waffle and it was so interesting and different…all in a good way of course.  A mix of sweet and savoury, soft and crunchy textures and just an explosion of flavour.  I would definitely order this next time.  I think the waffle could’ve been a bit thicker or crisper on the outside to stand up to all the toppings piled on it… but overall still amazing!

My girlfriends Eggs Benedict looked like it was cooked properly and had all the right components, but beside our two fancy dishes, the eggs benny seemed kinda pedestrian in comparison.  Classic breakfast dishes on a menu are necessary though.

The house made Raspberry Scone and Pain au Chocolat (I’m getting all francais on you here) were soooooo good.  Plus they came with house butter (not sure if that means they actually make the butter in house, but it sounds fancy and healthier than just store bought butter) and preserves which were perfect for smearing all over the scone.  If you don’t want a whole plate of food then a scone or croissant (they have both savoury and sweet options) are the way to go.

And negative point numero deux… our lattes were luke warm and didn’t have pretty foam art on top.  Ok the latter is just me being ridiculous, but the temp of the latte was not acceptable.  It was room temperature before our meal even arrived and ice cold by the end.  The flavour was good but I did not enjoy it cold whatsoever… and someone please learn to do latte art here, if not for me then the loads of IG pics!

Ok so overall…a hit!  I’m coming back sooner than later- I’ll definitely make a reservation and send my latte back if it comes cold again.

 

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Berkeley North
31 King William Street, Hamilton
www.berkeleynorth.ca
visited Sunday February 5, 2017

Love love loved everything about brunch at Berkeley North this past weekend.  Let’s start with the service which was in a word- sweet.  The hostess was just a little sweetie, bringing us purse hooks (extra points for purse hooks!!!), our server was sweet as pie and the rest of the staff just bustled along with sweet smiles on their faces.  Really a happy and inviting space to enter and you can feel that energy throughout.  And Mr. Bartender (sorry I don’t know your name)…you’re a lovely man as well ahahahah…you served my girlfriend and I back in the fall, when we sat at the bar, and you were engaging and sweet and not annoying.

And another drool worthy, out-of-a-magazine design on this place.  From industrial metal chairs, exposed brick, white shiplap and ikat inspired tiles it’s a great mix of fresh and new with cozy and inviting.  The feng-shui must be spot on in here cuz I just felt really good in that space.

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Shaq-Shouka Skillet $12- tomato romesco sauce, poached eggs, olive flatbread

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French Toast $12- Brioche, blueberry sauce, whipped mascarpone, coconut caramel sauce

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CB4 $10- cold brew, vanilla infused vermouth, Campari, tonic, Aztec chocolate bitters

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Mexi-Mosa $10- orange, lime, pomegranate, tequila, sparkling wine

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fresh baked scones

K I love myself a good latte in the morning and especially at brunch, but guys this CB4 drank was way too tempting not to get…and I was not disappointed.  It hit that desperate coffee spot with a touch of sweet and a gentle slap-in-the-face-wake-up-girl kinda feeling to it.  Plus there’s nothing cooler than swirling around a big square coffee ice cube in a sexy old fashioned glass all morning long.  Please get this drink when you go!
And my girlfriends Mexi-mosa was refreshing and awakened the taste buds.  It needed a bit more garnishing just to add some pretty to it though.

We split both the dishes and I thoroughly enjoyed starting with a savoury dish and finishing with a sweet one.  Isn’t that always the dilemma at brunch?  It is for me anyway….my taste buds will always crave the pancakes, waffles or baked goods but my brain says get the hearty filling protein filled dish to sustain you all day.  Brunch dilemma averted this day YAY!

The Shaq-Shouka Skillet was that perfect gooey egg dish with an abundant amount of bread for dipping and scooping.  The housemade olive flat bread was fresh and doughy and studded with so many spices and flavour.  We broke our eggs into the tomato romesco sauce that was thick but refreshing, and we just dunked away.  I would’ve never thought to create a dish like this in a skillet but it was so genius and then kinda obvious that this would work so well after the fact.

And this brioche French Toast was dessert on a plate, disguised as brunch…need I say more!?!  Besides being executed perfectly the coconut caramel sauce took it to the next level.  And as with all dishes that I just adore, I will try to my darnest to recreate this at home.

And you probably will not even notice that this place is all vegetarian….yup I said it…no meat…EVER!  Trust me when I say that even the most hard core carnivore will find something if not a couple things that they’d like.  The dishes are all created with so much thought and flavour that you just won’t miss the meat.  I PROMISE!!!! I’m kinda swooning over Berkeley North’s brunch….it’s in my top three fav brunch spots now! GO NOW…or this weekend I guess ha!

Berkeley North Food: 5/5
Berkeley North: Service 5/5
Berkeley North: Value 4.5/5
Berkeley North: Décor/Ambiance 5/5

4.5 Awesome

Brunch + Hamilton = FINALLY!!! With the addition of The French and Berkeley North now serving brunch on the weekends you can rest assured that Hamilton is the place to be Saturday and Sunday mornings. These two spots on King William are sophisticated in style, innovative with their ideas and are banging out some delicious food. Plus they are filling that resto void that the Hammer once had....French bistro- check, West Coast Vegetarian joint- check, brunch experts- double check!

  • The French: Food 4
  • The French: Service 3.5
  • The French: Value 4
  • The French: Decor/Ambiance 5
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About Author

I thought I’d be a useful contributing citizen of Hamilton and help you all decide where to eat your next meal. Your hard earned money should be put to good use and your bellies and taste buds deserve to be satisfied and tantalized. As a born and raised Hamiltonian I’ve come to love introducing people, (mostly just some friends n family that don’t get out much, the odd out-of-town visitor and now YOU my loyal followers!) to all the wonderful places the Hammer has to offer. The food scene here is experiencing quite the revival and I’m happy to do the dirty work for ya and check out these new and old restos, then give you my review. Happy eating and exploring #hamont!

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