Cover story: Joanne Kates on the new T.O. brunch

North Toronto Post - - Contents -

Maha’s Brunch

How is it that an unas­sum­ing 24 seater on Green­wood Av­enue has cap­tured so many hearts? Me­thinks it’s Maha Bar­soom’s fault. She is the ma­tri­arch and head chef who, along with her daugh­ter, son and a small army of cooks in the cramped kitchen, make Maha’s such a hot brunch des­ti­na­tion.

Maha’s Egyp­tian cook­ing is what turned falafel et al from fast food into fine food. Her small falafels (home­made of course!) come as crisp half-spheres over­flow­ing with per­fect soft-boiled eggs in dreamy gar­lic mayo. With clas­sic Mid­dle Eastern chopped salad and cumin-spiked un­greasy home fries, this might be Toronto’s best brunch item. Maha’s grilled cheese is a dream sammy, but­ter-sautéed dates in melted Havarti, Swiss and Gouda on pressed grilled egg bread. Her bas­turma scram­ble is Egyp­tian heaven — thin-sliced cured beef with fenu­greek and gar­lic in scram­bled eggs. Even the clas­sic foole is bet­ter in Maha’s deft hands: She stews the fava beans with tomato and onion and gar­nishes with hard-boiled egg, falafel, tomato-in­flected feta and charred snazzy pita.

Chef ’s justly fa­mous lentil soup sells out early most days, so caveat emp­tor. Also be­ware the week­end line­ups, for Maha’s is a poorly kept neigh­bour­hood secret, and they don’t take reser­va­tions. One more caveat: do not leave with­out in­hal­ing the hazel­nut latte. The combo of strong espresso with hazel­nut syrup in foamed milk and Nutella on top is pure Eros. Maha’s Brunch, 226 Green­wood Ave., 416-462-2703

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