By Annabelle Goodman –Café Belong at the Evergreen Brick Works 550 Bayview Ave 416 901 8234
My dear friend is going back to South Africa and I wanted to show her one more part of town. Neither of us had been to the Brick Works so this was going to be an adventure. The Brick Works is on a forlorn bit of property on the Bayview Extension. It was the former operation of Toronto Brick Works but has long been a desolate piece of property. The Evergreen Foundation has developed this property in the most exciting environmentally possible way. On the weekend the place is bustling with a Farmer’s Market.
We opted to view the property on a quieter weekday. How exciting to see school groups wandering the property doing environmental studies.
Cafe Belong is a great discovery. As you enter the door there is a takeout café. We thought this was the whole restaurant and quickly ordered. We were unaware that table service was available at the actual café.
My friend had the Eggs, Greens and Biscuit. A buttermilk biscuit (delicious) was filled with a scrambled egg and fresh kale. My friend raved about it all the way home. The egg was cooked to perfection.
I opted for the Squash Soup with Apple. I enjoyed the distinctive curry flavor. It was hot and very tasty. The Blueberry Scone was the best I have ever eaten. With a drink the total bill was $17.80.
We took our food to a table and were told that this was the seating for the regular café and the take out had a different seating area. Frances a most pleasant server, insisted we stay at the table and in fact brought us cloth napkins and made sure we were happy.. He cared for the other clients and was kind and charming to us.
Café Belong is open 7 days a week all year from 7:00 am to 10 p.m.
It is visually very pleasant. The brick walls and unusual lighting make it distinctive. Colorful Creuset pots are lined up on shelves and can be purchased. The large windows look out onto the yard of this environmental site. Unfortunately no buss comes in this direction. It is a bit ironical to have to drive to an environmentally positive site. Make sure you look for the electric cars plugged into the station in the parking lot. While visiting the café go to the 5th floor of Better Place Centre on the grounds. A film and an explanation of the new electric cars are absolutely fascinating.
Back to Café Belong. All the fish is ocean wise. Chef Owner Brad Long has carefully planned his menu.
Lentil and Beet Salad is served with kale and preserved lemon dressing.($11.00)
St Lawrence Salad offers a combination of greens, grains, nuts, fruit and cheese with browned butter vinaigrette.($14.00) Frittata is served with a mixed salad.($13.00) Grilled Vinegar Chicken is served on a warm potato salad.($28.00) Vegan Cabbage Rolls are stuffed with almonds, apples, squash, beans and wild rice.($!8.00)
I can’t wait to try the Communal Dinner Special Each of the communal evening meals is served family style with appropriate accompaniments in a five course presentation. Frances explained it all to us. The chef prepares all the food and each course is a surprise created by the chef to be shared by the group at the table. Vegetarian is $60.00 per person. Fish is $80.00 and Red Meats is $80.00 per person. Check out the gift shop as well. The total concept shows vision, creativity and intelligence.