Having yet to take one step inside, I was already considerably amazed at the dining environment and superb choice of location - this was certainly a most serene getaway from city life!
The restaurant was spacious, with partitions to separate the bar area, and two smaller dining areas. I quite enjoyed the home-y aura; while previously having been told that The Farmhouse was essentially a large home that had been remodelled for food industry usage, it was consisted of none of the chipped wall paint or ancient, rickety stairs that I had been expecting. This was clearly no Vintage Garden Tea Room!
I scanned the sticky, double-sided laminated sheet of text and selected the Farmhouse French Toast with Dad's Maple Syrup and Berry Compote. Two Classic Farmhouse Breakfasts were also ordered.
Before making her depart from the table, she asked if I would like to order a drink.
"Do you have lattes?" was probably the wrong question to ask.
She responded with a nod and a "Yes, we do have lattes.", though I should have known better and opted for orange juice instead.
A lukewarm, almost foam-less white liquid arrived in a medium-sized, cylindrical glass cup a few minutes later.
"It's not hot." I thought, "But let's try it anyway."
The first sip confused me - was this just milk that had been heated up? There was no hint of espresso whatsoever, and the drink was completely bland to taste. I understand that I shouldn't be comparing to Milano standards, but this four dollar order was simply just too disappointing to even earn the title of a "latte".
I did ask our server if the drink had been made using an espresso machine, to which she returned a puzzled expression and slowly uttered, "Yes...that's how lattes are made...." Well, clearly this one wasn't made properly if that was the case.
Thankfully, the food items shared no similarities in quality.
While I didn't try any other elements of the breakfast plate, I can confirm that that the "homefries" were great! Instead of greasy, twice-fried strips of starch, the bite-sized pieces of potatoes were crispy, well-seasoned, and not the teensiest bit oily.
It's no surprise that they had been deep-fried, but the oil had been grained away meticulously, revealing behind a tasty, satisfying product. A variety of unidentifiable seasonings had been combined to provide the irregular cubes with flavour, but all had been done within moderation to ensure that sodium levels were kept to a minimum.
With a crunchy exterior and a warm, fluffy interior, these homefries surpassed JOEY by miles.
I couldn't taste much of "Dad's Maple Syrup", which was apparently sourced from Feltis Farms, but thoroughly enjoyed the toast slices. The berry compote had been concocted from fresh berries, allowing for the fruit to retain plumpness in addition to a vibrant intensity. Its tartness was a perfect complement to the chewy french toast. (I could have done without the blue staining of my teeth though.)
Truthfully, I had anticipated a thick slice of excessively sugary and eggy white bread, but couldn't hide my joy upon discovering that Farmhouse French Toast utilized texture-hefty multi-grain that was happened to be almost indiscernibly eggy.
My last remark would have to be that their washroom was unexpectedly pristine. Located at the foot of a flight of stairs covered in thick, red carpet, the interior was painted a muted blue with white polka dot and bow accents. In addition, the stalls were unusually roomy - a very uncommon aspect of washrooms in the suburbs/city.
Interior decor elements also proved to be on the odd side: I found neither the Alice in Wonderland chair covers, manga-like murals perceptibly completed by an art major, nor small homeware section to possess any sort of cohesive property. That being said, the pumpkin decorations and tabletop bloody handprint stickers didn't enhance the dining experience either.
The verdict was to order a small, overpriced platter of boiled spinach stalks doused in soy sauce and topped with a sad sprinkle of bonito flakes, in addition to a Coffee Mille Crepe cake slice (as the last slice of Matcha had been ordered as I was snapping a photo of it).
Frankly, the cake slice would have been considered a pass in my book had something not caught my eye:
Having worked in the same position as her, I was stunned that she was touching my card at all. It's common knowledge to allow customers to handle their own cards as much as possible, including the insertion and removal process. Clearly, this wasn't the case for her. I punched in my tip amount before gently handing the machine back to her, just to have my card aggressively withdrawn and almost thrown onto the table. She turned her head and strode away without another word. (Where was my "Thank you"?!?!) Needless to say, I regretted not being able to revert my actions and provide her with ANY tip at all.
Shiso Tree Cafe and Izakaya Ju were both largely positive experiences, but I believe it's time to scratch Green Tea Lounge off my list.
After engaging in afternoon activities and a quick pho dinner, we arrived at zenQ, primarily due to my unceasing request to try out their expanded dessert menu.
I must admit: ordering two desserts was a tad excessive for a small group, especially when only half is helping out. The fondue-less waffle wasn't as great as I had hoped, so it's likely that I'll just try Mango Mango during my next visit.