Bonjour Brioche is a breakfast place in Toronto. It’s inconveniently situated on Queen Street East about midway between downtown and the Beaches, at the corner of Queen and Broadview. It’s small, cluttered, and there’s usually a wait to get in. The hours are annoying and too short. And it has some of the best bread you’ll ever have.
The croissant is superb. The baguette transcends belief. The coffee is good. Amusingly, the brioche they are named for is only just sort of OK — if you’re in the mood for a pastry, skip it and get the croissant instead.
Bonjour Brioche sports a full breakfast menu, so if you want an omelette, or some bacon, or some scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and caviar, no problem. Their non-pastry breakfasts are good, but kind of miss the point. The highlight of any of the omelettes, inevitably, is the piece of baguette that comes with it.
One notable item on the menu is the “baked French toast.” This is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s really a slab of bread pudding about the size of a loaf of bread. It is loaded with cinnamon, and sugar, and butter. In a pinch, it could be used to feed a family of four for an entire night. It’s a bit overwhelming, but is definitely worth convincing someone else at your table to order.
My recommendation? Just get a whole baguette and some butter and homemade preserves. This is not intended as an insult to the rest of their breakfast food, which ranges from serviceable to good. Rather, it’s an indication of how excellent their baguettes are. There’s a belief I hear expressed that you can only get good baguettes in France. That’s false. The main issue with baguettes is that they are breads with minimal fat, and high surface area. This means that the amount of time in which a baguette is truly fresh can be measured in a small number of hours. Baguettes are consistently better in France not because of some unknown mysterious secret baguette-making technique, but simply because, being smarter about food, they eat more of them and the ones you get are, usually, fresher.
There are also a variety of fruit tarts and quiche. All are excellent. If you’re in Toronto over the weekend, and don’t mind waiting for your breakfast, it’s definitely worth a visit.
I considered making a short film of my last trip to Bonjour Brioche, but realized that they were too busy to talk to me, so basically all you would have had was a movie of me eating food that was better than whatever you’re eating right now. So I skipped it. My new plan is to contact them and ask them to let me spend a night in their kitchen and film them while they bake bread. That would be a good short film.
Bonjour Brioche is closed on Mondays. Other days, they open at 8 am and close at 5 on Tuesday through Friday, 4 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday.