By Lori Bosworth
Since moving to Leslieville a few years ago, I have been slowly discovering the area, along with the adjacent Beaches neighbourhood. The core of the Beaches is Queen Street East and Lee Avenue, where a cluster of well-known chain stores stake their claim. But several blocks east of Lee, Queen Street East becomes a bit more residential with a spattering of retail establishments interspersed. It’s this part of the Beach that I really love since it’s a little quieter and more remote than the bustle you’ll find at Kew Gardens. Even the boardwalk ends as you get closer to the eastern section of the Beaches, which means fewer visitors will venture eastward along the beach.
Just around the corner from the majestic homes on Neville Park Blvd, you’ll find ViVetha Bistro in an unexpected strip plaza.
I arrived on a Thursday morning at 11 a.m. to meet a friend for brunch. When I entered the cozy restaurant, it was almost filled with earnest breakfast-goers. Cozy red banquettes and stone walls provided warmth in this decidedly traditional room.
Our server quickly brought menus over and asked if we wanted coffee. ViVetha Bistro’s menu features omelettes, salads, all reasonably priced.
My dining partner opted for the Grand Marnier French Toast, $10, while I ordered the Baby Spinach Salad with organic enoki mushrooms, smoked bacon, roasted pecans, grilled shrimp, scallops and goat cheese, $15. Other items on the menu include omelettes ($9-$11), sandwiches ($8-$11), and various pasta dishes.
Our food arrived within five minutes and we couldn’t wait to dig in.
My friend loved her Grand Marnier French Toast, especially the delicious peaches and pecans, which elevated this dish from the standard. The French toast was served with bacon and sausage, which my friend couldn’t finish. For $10, this is a great deal in this neighbourhood.
I really enjoyed my Baby Spinach Salad. It contained two large scallops and three large shrimp, all grilled. The scallops were fresh, with that deliciously slightly chewy texture. The smoked bacon added some saltiness while the orange raspberry vinaigrette was a perfect complement to the seafood’s acidity.
We both really enjoyed our brunch dishes and never felt rushed by our pleasant server. When we left, there was a line forming in the entrance, which, in my view, speaks for itself. If you find yourself in the east end, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the warm ambiance and excellent fare at ViVetha Bistro.