The Breakfast Project: The Speak Easy Café

The Speak Easy-1

This week found BPC and I back on George Street. We figured it was about time we reviewed another downtown location as it’s a prime location. So we found ourselves at the Speak Easy Café at the corner of George and Simcoe.

BPC had eaten there before, but I’d never been so we figured it was as good a time as any to try it out. I’d heard mixed reviews about the place, but I tried to go in with an open mind.

I have to admit, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the whole experience. Don’t get me wrong – the café has a great atmosphere and I love all the decorations, but the breakfast wasn’t something to get too excited about.

It’s a really cool place, with an Al Pacino/mobster sort of theme. It’s small, but was packed the entire time we were in there – every time one table opened, someone came out of nowhere and snatched it up.

We found ourselves at the very back of the restaurant, nestled into the corner right under two fake guns situated on the wall. I guess it goes with the theme, but I found it a little disturbing personally.

As soon as we found a seat, our waitress came right over and took our drink orders (tea, of course, AND the teapot poured properly!) and we got ourselves acquainted with the menu.

It had the usual breakfast fare, but I was horrified to see that the breakfast special came with three eggs, not two. I’ve never understood the three egg thing; two always seems like plenty to me. So, BPC ordered the breakfast special with bacon, home fries, brown toast and three eggs. I ordered the same, but with two eggs because I just couldn’t stomach the idea of three.

Minutes after putting our orders in, breakfast arrived on the table, which is always a plus in my books. However, I was immediately disappointed when I looked down at my plate and saw dollar fries, not home fries, and four pieces of very cooked bacon curled into a sad little pile on the corner of my plate.

One of my biggest breakfast pet peeves is dollar fries or some sort of potato substitute that obviously came out of a bag and was dropped straight into a deep fryer. I believe part of the art of a great breakfast is a great home fry and I don’t get why any place would sacrifice this, even if it is cheaper and easier. However, I guess it worked for most people, so what do I know? BPC ate all of his but I had a hard time getting through all of mine.

The bacon was also very strange. It was all curled up and very small. I’m a bit of a bacon fanatic and I really prefer a thicker cut of bacon that doesn’t feel too thin or processed, so I found myself quite disappointed by this choice.

A friend of mine told me they deep fry their bacon which is why it gets that odd texture and curls up, but I’m not sure if this is true. Either way, it certainly wasn’t great.

My eggs were cooked to perfection, though, and so were BPC’s, which made us both happy. We always like to see a difference between my over-easy and his over-medium, and there was an obvious difference here, which was a plus for them.

I’m still not sure about the three egg phenomenon though. I would have at least liked to see a two egg option for those who can’t stomach the idea of three. They did take 30 cents off my meal, though, which I guess is the price of an egg?

The toast was very typical diner fare. It seemed like normal packaged bread but I’ve come to expect nothing more from most diners, so it was fine. There was also a whole container of jams on each table which delighted BPC who had a wide selection to choose from. However, my toast was sopping with margarine which I always find quite unappetizing. Considering how greasy breakfast already is, I think the toast should only have a moderate level, and personally, I’m more of a butter fan.

In the end, breakfast was $5.99 each (30 cents less for me because of the lack of one egg) and the special came with a tea or coffee which makes it a great price. However, BPC and I were quite underwhelmed by the whole experience. We really wanted to enjoy our breakfasts as we loved the feel of the place, but the dollar fries alone will stop us from coming back.

However, if you’re a fan of the dollar fry, and you’re not a total bacon snob, then maybe this is the breakfast for you. If nothing else, it gets points for a great location!

Below is my personal rating scale for breakfasts. Each component of breakfast will be rated out of 10 on my bacon scale. Overall atmosphere will also be rated. This includes the staff we encounter and the general ambience of the restaurant.

speakeasy score