As a firm believer that breakfast food, particularly eggs in any way, shape, or form, is appropriate at any time of the day, I love brunch. I think brunch is the best part of the day and I sincerely wish restaurants will offer brunch 7 days a week, rather than during weekends.
I recently got to visit Linh Cafe, a cozy spot on West 4th that offers French-Vietnamese fusion. I love French and I love Vietnamese food. Linh Cafe offers a lunch and brunch menu that’s served throughout the week(they are open everyday but Monday and Tuesday), with plenty of egg options. It’s like they knew my heart.
We went in with the plan to be open minded to try new food, but cautious, so that we do not over-order. Ha.
This is the Toulouse Breakfast. It has poached eggs, house made sausage, white beans, bacon, chorizo and a lightly dressed salad. This may sound meat heavy, but it wasn’t. The house made sausage had strong, herby flavors and not too oily or salty. The bacon and chorizo only added to the aroma of the whole dish, but they weren’t overwhelming. The white beans in the bottom of the cast iron skillet was tender and stew-y and seems to soak up all the juices and flavors. The poached eggs of course were perfect, with a creamy runny yolk that was delicious mixed in with the rest of the sauce. The dish as a whole was gentle, warming and not too salty or meaty that it was nauseating. A great brunch option.
This is their mussels and frites. They used Salt Spring Island mussels, cream, white wine and fresh herbs. Now, just to be practical, the mussels were $13.99 and they gave us 12 decently-shaped ones. The mussels were not overly cheap, but I think they were reasonable. The mussels also were quite tender, juicy and they were gentle on the white wine, so the dish did not have a strong alcoholic taste. The light cream and herbs mixed with the mussels’ flavor also made a great sauce to mop up with the bread. The fries were also quite crispy, nicely cut, though I wish the potato was cut a little thinner.
It seems remiss to go to a French-Vietnamese restaurant and not order something Vietnamese. We ordered the Banh Mi Cay Hai Phong or Spicy Baguette Sticks with chicken and pork liver pate, spicy sauce and fried shallots. We ordered 6 because the menu said it’s a better deal than ordering only 3. Now, I would just like to first say that we had no idea they would come in this size. The baguette sticks were substantial like mini sandwiches and delicious. Each mini baguette were toasted to a crispy golden brown, smeared with chicken and pork liver pate and spicy sauce. The baguettes were crunchy, creamy from the pate and a little spicy. I doubt I would order 6 again, just because they are so big, but they were definitely yummy. However, people who are not spice eaters may need to be careful.
I would definitely return to Linh Cafe to try out more dishes. The Cassoulet, Pho Bo, lamb chops and pastries all look promising. But I probably will not order their Vietnamese coffee again. I thought the Vietnamese coffee would come in the stainless steel filter and condensed milk like they usually served in other Vietnamese restaurants. Linh Cafe’s Vietnamese coffee actually came in a large latte cup with the coffee and condensed milk already mixed. Strangely this seems to make the coffee taste more like a regular milky latte with less of the usual swooney caffeine-ness. Also, the Vietnamese coffee was more expensive than other coffee and tea beverages. Disappointed.