Review of Valens on Baldwin Street

Annabelle Goodman 

During TIFF I stopped at Valens Restaurant for a breakfast en route to my first film of the day. I was so amazed I promised myself a speedy return visit. It is so affordable. How do they do it? The plates are a work of art. There is so much food I cannot possible finish it all but I certainly make an effort to try. Mateja was serving all the tables on this day. She was amazing. She had time to chat. She was efficient and very warm to all the guests. It is probably the last chance I will have to dine outside this year. The sun just seemed to come out when I arrived and I had to take advantage of that. So what if it was pouring rain by the time we finished. The big tree in the front kept us dry for a while. Two of us were brunching on this first day of October.

I celebrated the end of summer with a Mimosa. What a great way to start a day. My dining companion opted for the Eggs Benedict. Two perfectly poached eggs were on an English muffin. Hollandaise Sauce topped the dish. The side of roasted potatoes was awesome. The green salad was lightly flavored with tasty vinaigrette. The mounds of fresh fruit were amazing. Large pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew were tasty, refreshing and obviously very healthy. Nobody could finish all that. The coffee was served in a large cup that was more like a soup bowl. My Macchiato was served in the perfect little espresso cup. It was hot and delicious. The menu offered several types of Eggs Benedict. I almost ordered the Natasha Benedict. Smoked salmon is served under the poached eggs. Shrimp Benedict offers grilled shrimp on top of the eggs. I was aware of the large quantity of superb food. I was satisfied with Two Eggs any Style. I asked for lightly scrambled. It is just impossible to finish all that good food. I certainly gave it a good try.

Lunch was also being offered. I will come back again another day for a lunch treat. A Grilled Salmon Salad with walnuts, apple, goat cheese, mandarin orange and baby spinach is topped with lemon vinaigrette. The Fish of the Day was a Pan-Seared Tilapia with a red pepper sauce and steamed vegetables. Provimi Liver was pan-seared with shallots in a red wine sauce and served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Large wild mushrooms are prepared in the Ravioli with roasted red peppers and spinach in a tomato cream sauce. Pizza or a Burger was also on the daily special menu. A full menu is always presented with a lengthy list of other desirable items.

One could enjoy this restaurant just looking at the artistic presentations presented at the tables. The food is really amazing. At those prices you can take your whole street out for a festive occasion. I love Sunday brunch but will be back for a lunch and dinner to try some items from those menus. I do congratulate the chef. He or she is very talented. I must express my appreciation next time I go.

I always enjoy walking along Baldwin St. It is an interesting street only a few blocks from the AGO.