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Lawrence:

Mother Lode of Awesome

RESTAURANT ENGLISH MILE-END CASUAL <$20

The Pitch

Few occasions call for impressing and pampering someone in broad daylight as much as brunch on Mother's Day.  This year we sought out Mile-End's Lawrence, often heralded as a top brunch destination in town.  This high praise was confirmed upon arrival, as we stepped into a packed dining room – not to mention a small lineup of diners – for our first visit to this five-year-old eatery.

tagged:  BETTER RESERVE BRUNCH

The Mood

Mood image

The cramped, bustling space was pleasantly flooded with an abundance of natural light made possible by the restaurant's positioning on the corner of hipster and hip – Fairmount and St-Laurent if you prefer.  Today's Mile-End crowd was predictably young and cool, while also incorporating a number of families with children of various ages – ours included.

tagged:  BRING THE KIDS CLAUSTROPHOBIA ANYONE? HIPSTER SCENE

The Food

The brunch menu strikes a nice balance of sucré/salé with crowd-pleasers such as scones, french toast and smoked salmon, in addition to lesser-known items including kedgeree, scrapple and bubble & squeak (say what now?).  It may be wrong to tie this offering down to any regional cuisine, but there is a marked English influence, which comes as no surprise given chef/owner Marc Cohen's British origins.

Bloody Mary thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$8

$8

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Bloody Mary

Spicy but watery, making this a lacklustre start to brunch. Also, call us purists, but a wedge of lemon would have fared better than lime here.

Scone thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$4

$4

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Scone

You can't get any more English than this.  A flaky/dense cake is served with rich clotted cream and jam.  We had to order a couple more.

Doughnuts thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$5

$5

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Doughnuts

"chocolate, custard, lemon".  Don't be deceived by these sugary bite-sized treats; their luscious, unctuous filling will ooze out on impact.

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$15

$15

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Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs

Thick-cut salmon served alongside the creamiest eggs we've ever had atop grilled toast combined for a clever rendition of a brunch staple.

Kedgeree thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$15

$15

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Kedgeree

An Anglo-Indian tradition combining rice, flaked fish, hard-boiled eggs, curry and everything else that belongs in a true breakfast of champions; sublime and underpriced!

Scrapple, Fried Eggs & Bacon thumbnail (click to enlarge)

$15

$15

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Scrapple, Fried Eggs & Bacon

Scrapple, panhaas, pan rabbit – call it what you want – is a pan-fried loaf of pork trimmings, coupled here with eggs, bacon and a fresh salad to cut through all that delicious evil.

tagged:  GREAT VALUE

The Service

Our waitress – also a partner here – was friendly and very knowledgeable.  Naturally, we had a slew of questions concerning the aforementioned funky dish names, all of which she expertly clarified in detail.  Our sole complaint would be a handful of bouts of absenteeism on her behalf, which was understandable given how busy things were today.

tagged:  WHERE'S THE WAITER?

The Verdict

In a recent Town & Country article, food writer Alan Richman made a bold statement in naming Montreal North America's food capital.  The veteran hinges his claim on three factors: our dining culture's French as well as English lineages, our wholehearted embracing of casual fine dining and our chefs' championing of local products.

Few places embody those elements more than Lawrence, which was appropriately mentioned in said article as a symbol of the city's modern ideal of refined yet unpretentious cuisine.  Today's spectacular brunch ensured everyone at our table was more than satisfied, mothers included; mission accomplished!

tagged:  SOLID

Price per person:  $19.50

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514eats

Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink.  We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.

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