After a few weeks in cottage country, it has been nice to return to the city, refreshed and with, hopefully, a new perspective. Although I love being by the lake in the summer, I also enjoy the vibrant city life of Toronto in the summer! So I was excited to be invited to sample the brunch at Casa Madera on a hot sunny Sunday in August! I had been to Casa Madera when it opened in 2022 and was impressed with the quality of food and service so I was eager to try their brunch.
Owned by Noble 33 Hospitality Group, Casa Madera is helmed by Executive Chef Daniele Pisanu. The exciting Mediterranean-Mexican fusion menu features brunch favourites such as Poppy Seed Pancakes, Salsa Verde & Eggs and Churro French Toast among others.
We arrived at noon and were seated in the light-filled Garden Room, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Victoria Memorial Square, light neutral furnishings and a plethora of hanging plants basking in the sun.
Our server greeted us promptly and explained that we would be ordering from a special menu, which was a condensed brunch menu. She also took our drinks order: an orange juice and water – too early for alcohol for us; however, they do offer some refreshing cocktails. For example, the Casa Madera ($22) is made with tromba blanco, lime juice and organic agave) while the Mayahuel ($25) is prepared with siete misterios mezcal, pineapple, nopales & kiwi puree, lime juice, agave, mint and fernet sidecar.
I ordered the Mixed Berries, a side dish, as a starter as I like to eat fruit at the beginning of meals. I neglected to tell our server that I can’t have dishes with added sugar due to a blood sugar issue. I assumed the Mixed Berries would be served plain, but they are in fact served in a sugar-based sauce. The seasonal fruit (strawberries, blueberries and blackberries) was plentiful, but alas, I couldn’t eat it. My dining partner, however, enjoyed the sweetened fresh berries!
The other starter we selected was the Whipped Aubergine, which is prepared with charred cascabel oil and served with warm oven-baked pita ($22). Eggplant often leans toward bland-tasting so the addition of the smoky tasting cascabel oil was an inspired creation. I loved dipping the still-warm crispy pita in this addictive dip!
We also ordered Hamachi Serrano (yellowtail fish), accompanied by fresh lime, cucumber, pickled onion and crispy garlic. The Serrano chili pepper added some exciting heat to this mild, buttery-tasting, melt-in-your-mouth fish. My dining partner found the pepper made it too spicy for her so I ended up devouring the whole dish!
As much as I enjoyed the enticing Latin rhythms from the live performers including the drummer and violinist, be warned that the music accelerates to the point where conversation is near impossible. Those pulsating beats do wake you up on a Sunday morning though!
My dining partner and I both ordered the Greek omelette as we were craving protein! The omelette was lovingly prepared and tucked inside were perfect slices of ripe avocado, tender baby spinach leaves, and an adequate amount of sharp feta cheese, that did not overpower the egg dish. Accompanying veggies included a refreshing tomato and cucumber mixture and the plate was adorned with Balsamic reduction.
This is me enjoying my Greek omelette – it really was delicious!
Thank you for inviting us to sample the thoughtfully-prepared brunch. It was delightful! If you’re looking for an upbeat restaurant for a fun weekend brunch, Casa Madera is your ticket.
1 Hotel Toronto
550 Wellington Street West
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