Twitter, you bastard! I’ll be honest and confess that I don’t pay much attention to what’s trending on Twitter (to much hate, shaming, look how ‘cool’ my life is and a platform for general nonsense). However, when you notice the people you respect in the culinary world gushing about a restaurant, your first inclination is to give that spot a test-drive. And so after getting Tehya from her early shift at work, we decided that Papa Leo’s restaurant would be the latest episode of #Gallivanting. I’m starting to really enjoy this Sunday brunch thing!
Papa Leo’s Restaurant
638 Concession Street
Hamilton, ON L8V 1B5
Always a plus when the metered parking on Concession Street is free on a Sunday and you score a spot a couple meters away from your destination. We were immediately seated and proceeded to work through the menu. Everything sounded delicious and though I came with the intention to try the “Uptown Crab Cake Benny” (succulent cakes topped with poached eggs and a chipotle & cheese sauce, served with pan fried potatoes) I had to almost pry intell from our server as to what was the most popular item on the menu.
I ended up with one of the most delicious cups of coffee and…
PAPA’S EGGS: Two poached eggs served on a fresh avocado and your choice of sweet chorizo sausage,
smoked salmon, smoked bacon or roasted red pepper, topped with a cheddar and cilantro sauce.served with fresh cut pan fried potatoes and toast. $13
While Tehya was torn between the Steak and Eggs and Huevos Rancheros.. the latter took precedent after a gentle encouragement from me (I wanted to sample).
HUEVOS RANCHEROS: Fresh corn tortilla, refried beans and two sunny side eggs, topped with Jensen cheddar, sweet chorizo, avocado, fresh mango salsa and cilantro $12
Let’s look at positives and (unfortunately) some negatives of our dining experience at Papa Leo’s Restaurant, as we normally do in these review type posts.
- best decaf coffee I’ve had in quite some time and the refill came just at the right time
- perfectly cooked and seasoned potatoes
- Sweet and Fresh fruits (mango and pineapple)
- the salsa on Tehya’s Huevos was brilliant.. fresh with that lovely cilantro undertone
- food came relatively quick from the time we ordered (and hot)
- large portion (see additional comment below)
- perfectly cooked sunny side up eggs (Tehya)
- always a plus when there’s hotsauce as a condiment
- bright and very clean space (you’ll notice that I don’t normally comment on the ‘space’ as I much prefer to speak about the food, atmosphere and overall dining experience)
- while Tehya’s eggs were perfectly cooked as mentioned above, the poached eggs I received were a bit overdone to MY liking
- while I noticed the heaping portions on Tehya’s and the ladies sitting next to us plates, unfortunately (the video does not highlight this) I cannot say the same about mine. There was ample on my plate (keep in mind I’m training to climb Kilimanjaro) but I think there should be some level of consistency.
- while the avocado on my plate was near perfect, it was discolored and nasty looking on Tehya’s plate (watch the video for more on this)
- VERY loud as it got busy
- the way the chef treated the Chorizo was a bit disappointing
- other than the lack of engaged customer service as I mentioned in the video, I found that I disliked having a stranger share a table with me, without letting me know first. We felt crowded and trapped against the wall and what was already a loud setting, got worse when the ladies started to chat. I’m sure we were also a distraction for them as well.
- felt hurried (I do understand it’s a business which depends on covers) as it got busy
- with the line of people at the door you almost got the feeling that you had someone looking over your shoulder. I do realize that there’s no way around this for Papa Leo’s as the overall space is small and unlike bigger restaurants where there’s a defined foyer.
I find it very difficult to speak negatively about businesses and restaurants in particular, as I much prefer to find the positives and give my readers an opportunity to visit and judge for themselves. However I think we have a moral obligation to speak about the less than perfect issues, with hopes that the restaurant will make suitable corrections or at least be aware of customer’s gripe. I will not be like many of the people who publish review type features and be the chorus boy singing praise to sound good. You see it too often where people on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube just want to be ‘friends’ with a chef/restaurant and don’t really speak with honesty. That sort of approach is not good for the next diner nor the restaurant themselves.
Have you dined at Papa Leo’s? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.