Looking for a fun, funky and elevated breakfast experience? Join the club.
When Angela Brown opened 125 Breakfast Club in downtown Orillia a few years ago, she was looking to fill a gap in the city’s culinary scene.
“Orillia needed a breakfast place,” she said.
She’s right. While there were plenty of places to have the so-called most important meal of the day, none of them focused solely on breakfast. That ship sailed when Bygone Days closed its doors.
Brown, however, wasn’t interested in serving only the typical breakfast fare. She offers some of the classics — bacon (or peameal or sausage) and eggs, omelettes, and waffles, but with her own twist.
Potato waffle. If those two words, in that order, sound familiar, you’ve probably been to 125 Breakfast Club. It’s a staple with most of her dishes. It’s exactly as it sounds: a potato mixture cooked in a waffle iron. Brown adds a dollop of sour cream to this side item that’s inspired by latkes.
“We don’t do anything deep fried, so the potato waffle was a nice option,” she said.
At many restaurants, breakfast can often be a heavy meal, with lots of starch and grease. Brown lightens things up a bit with a healthy helping of fruit on the side — and not just a slice of apple to try to make you feel better about yourself and your choices.
She serves a colourful array of fruit that can include any mixture of watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, Cara Cara oranges (a delicious, sweet variety), strawberries, bananas, dragon fruit and pear.
“If I see it and it looks like it’ll fit, I’ll buy it,” she said.
The fruit isn’t the only vibrant item on the menu. Like adults are drawn to the potato waffles, kids go crazy for the flamboyant unicorn pancakes.
These six thin, multicoloured pancakes include a unicorn horn and are topped with whipped cream and Lucky Charms marshmallows.
“I used to be able to buy them,” Brown said of the marshmallows. “Now I have to pick them out of the box.”
Dedication is a big part of the job for Brown. It’s obvious when you taste some of the classic sauces she makes.
Not everyone can pull off Hollandaise. It requires a delicate touch and attention to detail. Otherwise, it can break or you could end up with a scrambled-egg texture.
Brown adds her clarified butter, a dash of hot sauce, some lemon for acidity and slowly adds the eggs before topping one of her six varieties of eggs Benedict with it. The key: “low and slow.”
That goes for béchamel sauce, too. It starts with butter and flour, and then milk or cream is added slowly until the right consistency is achieved. That rich, creamy sauce is featured in the croque madame.
Yes, croque madame.
This variation of the classic French croque monsieur is a grilled sandwich that includes ham, Gruyère cheese and a sunny-side-up egg.
Where else are you going to get a croque madame in Orillia? Probably nowhere.
Sticking with the French theme, Brown also recommends the crêpes Suzette. This dessert is topped with a Grand Marnier sauce, berries and vanilla ice cream.
It’s OK. You can have it for breakfast. You’re an adult.
At this cozy, art-adorned diner, there’s something to appeal to everyone, whether it’s the frequently changing quiche or the namesake 125 Breakfast Club sandwich. There are options for vegetarians and two dishes to cater to vegans: a blueberry banana waffle and chia pudding. Brown plans to expand her vegan offerings, so stay tuned.
If you’re weighing your options for a tasty treat, don’t you forget about 125 Breakfast Club.
The good stuff
Most popular: bacon and eggs, followed closely by eggs Benedict
Angela Brown’s favourite: smoked salmon eggs Benedict
My favourite: smoked salmon eggs Benedict
Nathan Taylor’s local food and drink column appears every other Saturday.