Roundel Cafe: No Crazy This Day
Needing a cheap place for breakfast on Saturday and feeling a little like I’ve been slipping behind in my posts, I tweeted a plea for (inexpensive!) restaurant ideas. @blackisblack suggested Roundel Cafe on Hastings. So to get a feel for the place, I checked out Roundel Cafe on urbanspoon. Yikes! User reviews fell on a continuum from great to crazy and I’m not talking about the fun kind of crazy. This wasn’t my kind of crazy.
I told my husband that I was taking him to a place where people complained about service and hit-or-miss menu items. High off our visit to his favourite breakfast place the weekend before, he was not pleased. “Why can’t we just go to Choppers?” He asked. “Because,” I replied, “I need to do a review and I’ve already reviewed Choppers.” My cold, hard heart was not softened by his puppy-dog eyes. We went to Roundel Cafe.
Roundel Cafe is a little half-retro/half-eclectic diner that was filled with the sound of bopping oldies when we arrived. Similar to the look, layout, and feel of The Templeton, this diner has windows that let in the bright light toward the front of the house, booths that run up the left wall and a counter at center-right. As we entered, there was one clean table open and one dirty table that had just been evacuated, but we chose to eat at the counter.
The place filled up to the brim right after we took our seats and a line began forming out the door. It looked like we got there just at the right time. With the whole place packed, I couldn’t help but notice that the only open seat in the entire place was the counter seat right next to mine. What did that mean? I showered that morning and I remembered deodorant. Was it the lingering smell of Tub & Tile Cleaner from my morning cleaning spree?
Whatever that was about, from the second we arrived, the two waitresses on staff were very warm, bubbly, and friendly. This was not the grouchy service that I had anticipated. I took a look at the menu. Prices were very reasonable and some meals were even a bit cheaper than Choppers. Plus, I noticed the staff composting. So far, so good.
I managed to order the least healthy thing on the menu and that was a pretty impressive feat, considering most items looked at least somewhat nutritious. They “cook with fresh, often organic, locally sourced ingredients” and many of their “proteins are specialty non-medicated.” They serve salad with breakfast. It doesn’t really get more healthy than that. Who eats salad for breakfast? I was about to find out.
I ordered the Corned Beef Hash for $9. It turns out that it wasn’t like any other corned beef hash I had ever had (which really just means that it wasn’t like the corned beef hash that my mom used to make). The corned beef was kind of greasy, but I guess that’s what I get for ordering corned beef, right? The rest of the meal was great: two over-medium eggs that were actually over-medium; “roasted potatoes” which included regular and sweet potatoes fried up with onions and peppers; the aforementioned salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and a light dressing; and multi-grain toast with jam.
Little Man ordered the Little Breakie, which supposedly comes with 1 egg; bacon, veggie bacon, sausage, or tomatoes, and toast for $3.50. Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, it was even better than we anticipated because the breakfast also came with roasted potatoes and salad! Little Man would not even touch the salad of course, but he did say, “This sausage is really good!” The sausage was not your typical fat-packed breakfast mystery meat, but a farmer’s sausage, cut into slices. Yum, yum.
Me and the Little Man also shared a Banana Shake for $5. (I told you that I ordered the least healthy items for breakfast!) The Big Man ordered the Strawberry Shake for the same price. They were both good, but very sweet.
Big Man also ordered the Two Eggs w/Meat option, which also comes with roasted potatoes or brown rice, salad, toast & jam for $7. He said that the bacon was good, but not as good as Choppers. Whether this was just his way of saying “I told you so” or whether the bacon was actually inferior, I will never know as he practically swallowed the slices whole before I could even think to ask for a bite.
I did notice that the owner, mentioned multiple times in the urbanspoon user reviews, was there and I am pretty sure I never saw her crack a smile. But then, neither did I have to interact with her, so it made no difference to my experience. While we had good breakfast and service, I still feel like this is another one of those places that I should try a second time before passing final judgment.
As for our Saturday morning breakfast at Roundel Cafe, there was no craziness encountered and the food was tasty and filling.
2465 East Hastings St.