The Kensington Cornerstone – Restaurant Review

Move over Aunt Jemima.  I just found the perfect pancake.  It’s not just any pancake.  It’s gluten-free and doesn’t taste like cardboard.  There’s more to offer at this celiac-friendly restaurant in Kensington Market.

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Kensington Cornerstone

Who doesn’t enjoy a good weekend brunch?  Very few would turn down a hearty breakfast after a long week.   I’ve walked by this place at least 50 times and somehow its existence escaped me.  It was during my research process for gluten-free restaurants that Kensington Cornerstone was discovered.

Kensington Cornerstone patio

THE LOCATION:  2A Kensington Ave., Toronto (just north of Dundas St. West and west of Spadina)

THE MENU: 

At first glance, their menu looks familiar with your average American restaurant fare – sandwiches, entrees, appetizers and brunch.  Read a little further and you’ll realize it’s not average at all.  Boldly printed at the bottom of the menu are the words that sold me – “Entire menu is gluten-free”.  

Brunch spots have fallen off my radar since this Elimination Diet started.  I’d be longing for pancakes, french toast, yogurt and granola (everything I can’t have) yet settling for eggs.  Just eggs.  Life changed for me this weekend – I realized I can still enjoy a real brunch.    I inquired about the inspiration behind the GF menu and learned that the chef and owner is celiac.  He struggled with restaurant options in the city and solved for it by opening up his own place. 

OUR ORDER:

With brunch comes the recurring dilemma…pancakes or eggs?  I’m always torn between the two and am forced to sacrifice, choosing just one.  Kensington Cornerstone solves this problem (and breaks the breakfast rules) in what they call the Breakfast Bowl. 

Signature Breakfast Bowl ($13)

The combination sounds bizarre so brace yourself.  This bowl is layered with vegetables (spinach and mixed bell peppers), potato hash, mini pancakes AND 2 eggs done any way you like.  The sorghum pancakes were something else.  Perfect size, texture and quantity so you avoid suffering from carb overload.  They are sweetened with a maple butter (not dairy-free) which is to die for.  You can expect the syrup to find its way to the bottom of the bowl and intermingle with your vegetables and potato mash.   This is intentional, albeit may not be acceptable to some.   All in all, you get the best of both worlds with the Breakfast Bowl.   

Breakfast Bowl

Garden Vegetable Omelette Souffle ($10)

If you find it offensive when your peas and carrots touch on your plate, then I’d play it safe and go for one of their traditional breakfast dishes.  Or give this a go.   Three eggs baked with cheese, green peppers, onions, ham (we customized the toppings, so I’m assuming you can too!).  It really is an omelette served in a deep dish, but souffle rolls off the tongue much nicer.   The souffle is complemented with a side of fresh fruit, CRISPY bacon (yum) and potato hash. 

Garden Vegetable Souffle

THE SCENE:

We took advantage of the summer weather and grabbed a seat on the patio.  I took a peek inside and it’s a clean and airy, yet cozy space.  Not the norm for Kensington market establishments.  The staff was very pleasant and accomodating which added to the experience.  They even offered to take a photo of us just before we dug into our meals. 

On the Kensington Cornerstone patio

THE DAMAGE:

Both of us walked away feeling satisfied for $30 bucks-ish and I felt like we snagged a good deal.  The fact that I got both pancakes AND eggs on one plate was like a two-for-one special.

YOU SHOULD GO IF:

  • You can’t decide between eggs and pancakes.
  • You’re avoiding gluten and wheat products.  They even have sandwiches!  I’ve got my eye on the Turkey/Avocado Club.

The Kensington Cornerstone Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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About Danielle Nicosia