“They’re confident,” I mused to my friend, referencing the large floor-to-ceiling windows as we walked into 80th & Ivy. The windows were perfect for allowing passer-bys to glimpse at the festivities inside. Generally large windows are a risky move, amplifying the crowd and ambiance, or lack thereof. They are reserved for bold restaurants, and I reckon 80th & Ivy is one of them.
The entire set-up reminded me of the restaurants in Melbourne, where the restaurants design their decor with a degree of purposefulness and taste, to make guests feel like they’re walking into a premium establishment. 80th & Ivy was split into three sections: the lounge-type area with high metal bar stools surrounded by the well stocked bar and 10-foot-ish high windows, the patio and heaters separated by the sliding door facing 17th Ave, and the raised dining room joined by the open kitchen. Metal chairs and wooden tables are the furniture of choice. The corner of the lounge section has a fabric couch and large coffee table – its as if you’re sitting in your own living room where you can eat breakfast or have a glass of wine. The three sections cleanly combined metalwork seatings and mission-style tabletops and decor.
We came right at the 10:00am Sunday opening, so we were quickly seated and served by Simon. Simon guided us to the back of the menu to the brunch section, and highlighted that the orange juice was freshly squeezed, pointing to the tabletop appliance at the bar. The menu itself was written with a bit of creative flair, as the Orange Juice was listed with a feature of “Vitamin C.” I opted for the French Press coffee ($3.50, sourced from Coffee Concepts), while my friend opted for the freshly squeezed glass of the orange juice ($4.50).
My friend and I then opted for the same dish: The Eggs Benny, with Broek Farms rotisserie ham, herbed hollandaise on a croissant ($15.00), which was also accompanied with a small side dish of sliced fruits in syrup, and evenly seasoned hash browns. We weren’t requested to specify preference when we ordered the eggs, so we somehow got a varying degree of firmness between soft and medium across our four eggs. The hollandaise sauce was enjoyably sweeter than others restaurants, mildly acidic to cut through the creamyness. Upon inquiry to the chef, Simon mentioned that they used clarified butter, which attributed to the less-than-salty characteristic of the hollandaise. The ham which was cut like back bacon, was peel-off tender, not salty and the texture reminded me more of pulled pork than traditional ham, but was still a tasty accompaniment to the flaky croissant, drenched in hollandaise.
There is a certain feeling of indulgence of when eating a standard Eggs Benedict, as the hollandaise sauce is most certainly egg yolks and butter. Now, imagine consuming this on a flaky-because-of-excess-butter croissant, and the horrible realization that civilized society has done something wrong for decades: All Egg Benedicts should be served on croissants, english muffins be damned.
$40.00 (sans tip) for Sunday brunch puts 80th & Ivy into the “standard price for brunch” category. I am glad that if I ever feel like indulging protein with my croissant, I know just the place.