Vino – Hidden Gem of NDG
My goal to visit every brunch spot in NDG keeps getting delayed because everytime I think I’ve covered them all another place shows up on my radar. Vino is one of those places. In fact, it was submitted by one of our readers who raved about it and after seeing their menu on their site I could see why. Normally places need to get in line before I review them and I usually go to places I found out existed over a year ago. Since I tend to do brunch both Saturday and Sunday, you can imagine how backed up I get. However, just by seeing Vino’s menu for brunch, I was motivated and decided that this place needed to get reviewed sooner than later.
At 1st glance
When you walk up to Vino you notice a nice clear sign and stairs going down into the restaurant. Vino is situated down 1 floor from street level although there are windows that let in tons of light. There is a piano at the entrance, a large bar next to it at the right and an ample seating area with church pew style seats along the walls. The place was empty when we went so this makes it a great find since people have not discovered it yet. I could see it working well for group events or just a drop in for non-groups.
The menu is a one pager that takes all your favourite dishes and puts a spin on them. For example, they don’t just have yogourt, they have greek yogourt and not just ordinary pancakes but ricotta ones and not normal French toast, but Challah bread French toast. This gives you an idea of what you can expect when you get here. They even have a shakshouka which is a Tunisian dish which I have never seen on a breakfast menu before. With that brief description here is a breakdown of the menu:
There were three of us this day so we got a decent sampling of the menu and decided to start off with the scones ($6) that came with clotted cream and marmelade. The scones were some of the best ones I have ever had. They were moist with a little crispyness so as to not be soggy and they were topped with little berries that tasted like raisins but looked like tiny blueberries. The clotted cream is basically whipped cream that does not have the same consistency. I found it a touch heavier that normal whipped cream. We shared this dish among 3 people and was a nice way to open up the meal along with our coffee that were included.
My friend had the Greek Yogourt ($10) which is a strawberry Greek yogurt with granola, spiced roasted nuts, honey and mint. This dish was very impressive it came served as mound of yogourt and topping in a deep bowl. You got plenty of yogourt and topping in that dish. The yogourt itself was very tasty and fresh you tasted the strawberries in it and that taste definitely delivered as opposed to other yogourts which often come short. The topping of honey and nuts is a nice touch and added an extra dimension to the dish. It was large enough that my friend could not finish it all so I got to have a little extra and I was very happy to do so.
My other friend ended up having the western sandwich ($14) which is a western egg scramble sandwich with red onions, roasted red peppers, chorizo & kalamata olives on a grilled sourdough bread with home fries (my friend dropped the chorizo) . The egg portion was thick and kind of like an omelette. It was light and very tasty. This dish scored well on taste and fillgness and it also came with a side of fries that our resident potato expert, Batata will now weigh in on:
“A little expensive, I found, for the ensemble but the quality of the food was definitely not an issue. These were home fries that accompanied my omelet dish and the quantity was satisfactory. I believe that the home fries were hand-cranked machine cut due to the irregularities in the shape of the stick shape formed potatoes. Furthermore, the potato skins were left on and the colour of the home fries were a much darker brown than normal. They resembled almost as if they were sweet-potato fries. This could be due to one of two reasons. First, the frying oil has not be changed for quite some time therefore, giving the fried food that darkish hue from all the sediments left in the oil from previous frying. Second, the potato used for the fries were darker in nature. I am confident that it is the latter since they did not taste as if the oil that used to fry was old and the fact that we were one of the first ones there that weekend. I give them a 3.5 and encourage them to continue what they are doing. The condiments (including dijon for the home fries) were nicely presented but I still believe it was slightly too expensive for what I got.”
Lastly came my dish, the Lemon Ricotta pancakes ($13). One would think that it is a little much for pancakes but. this is where even I disagree. You get a tall stack of pancakes and the fact that they have ricotta in them makes them truly unique and tasty. The lemon and ricotta work so well together with neither overpowering the other but rather working in unison. The pancakes have that nice moistness you get from ricotta cheese but they are not too liquidy so it’s well done. I love this dish and can think of only one other place in the city that does this (and that place closed down) recently. This dish is brilliant and you should try it. The dish also came with a side of carmelized bacon which is not as crispy as normal bacon and I believe was superior in taste.
Our service was great but keep in mind that we were some of the only people there for a while. Our refills were frequent and she actually suggested the scones which we all loved.
There are some vegetarian items on the menu. Keeping in mind it is a short menu, you can also ask them to drop a meat ingredient in their menu and the dishes will work the same way more or less. I should note that they have a gluten free crepes which is a nice touch for those who are gluten intolerant.
You need to check this place out! I feel it’s a great little secret that has an impressive menu. If you like a well thought out menu which combines different culinary styles and ideas in a successful manner then try out this place and you will not be disappointed.
| 5674 avenue de Monkland
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|Bottomless Cup Of Coffee||YES|
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