I made the decision to check out The Federal because I like mushrooms. Simple as that. Also, I am a big fan of Eggs Benedicts. When I read in a review that The Federal offers an Eggs Benedict with a mushroom sauce on their menu, I had to try it. Regina and I arranged to meet here for brunch on a weekday, and I almost walked past the restaurant. It is a tiny but cozy space. Regina was already here when I arrived, and we were the only 2 people in the place. As soon as I sat down, I began to look around and took some pictures. The guy at the counter did not seem happy with this. First thought, the attitude better not continue during our brunch. If it does, the food better be pretty damn spectacular to overshadow this bratty attitude.
Started out with coffee. Free refills, so that was a good start.
I loved the seating. Seemed like a great place to hang out with a coffee and book. I would not however, because even though the seating was great, the vibe was not. I did not feel relaxed or welcomed here.
They have an array of daily specials. But I came in already knowing what I wanted to order.
Regina ordered the Smoked Trout which came with a lemon cream, capers, cucumber with a savory scone, greens and potato rosti, $12. Regina really enjoyed this. This is where Regina’s taste and mine differ. I found the potato rosti bland, I am not a fan of onions and I felt that almost every component on this dish had an element of onion in it (onion dressing on the salad, onion relish, green onions in the scone, chives on the trout), and I did not expect the trout to be cold. Even the cream was lacking flavor. I had to sprinkle salt on it to get flavor out of it. Separately there were some good parts to this dish, but together all I could taste was onion.
I ordered the Eggs Federal, which consisted of poached eggs on English muffins with mushroom tarragon cream and bacon (or spinach) with greens and potato rosti, $11. I wish I had loved this. I really wanted to love this. But the sauce did not have the necessary kick to survive the overzealous hand that sprinkled the chives. You could not taste the tarragon, or the mushrooms for that matter. Maybe if the mushroom pieces had been larger, and the chives were omitted and tarragon was sprinkled over the sauce instead. There was definitely potential since the bacon was nice and crispy, and the eggs were perfectly poached. Close, but not quite there.
The whole experience felt like we were in fact in a new restaurant trying to find itself. So many things were working for it (i.e., the seating, location, menu), yet the execution was still a work in progress. When you eat a dish and you think to yourself, “this part tastes good, this part is not necessary, this alone would make a good dish….” Really, all elements on a dish should compliment each other rather than detract from one another. But then that is my opinion. I was disappointed, and Regina seemed quite pleased with her meal. Opposites attract I guess.
I would not return.
Oh yeah, CASH ONLY! How annoying.
True, I really do like onions. I do agree that the mushroom sauce could have been a lot better on the Eggs Federal. One extra note to add, I did NOT like the scone. Took one bite and put it down, didn’t touch it again.
I looove mushrooms. I’m always so disappointed when restaurants tout “wild mushrooms” and you end up with pureed mushroom sauces that have no discernable flavour or texture .. such a waste of ingredients!
Sad to hear that this place was such a flop!
I 100% agree. I need some texture. Why mask such a great ingredient?
Thanks for your comment! 🙂
I walked into the Federal today, just around the corner from me, as I was told this was a great place for brunch…I guess, if you’re a plus one and not single. I was told I could sit at the far left of the bar, where the chair was wedged in a corner and there wasn’t enough space on the bar to place a plate, let alone move your arms to eat…I said,’ no, thank you’. Then I was told I could sit at the miniature ledge of a bar along the window on an uncomfortable stool with no back, again no place for a plate or any sense of relaxation on a Sunday afternoon at 2pm. As I stood there, a little perplexed, I noticed a table open for two, and another open for four, there was no line up, just lil ‘ole me looking to munch on lunch…I asked the waiter when he returned, ‘what about there, can i sit there? ‘No, that’s a table for two’…huh, i thought, as i said ‘forget it’ and walked out, noticing 3 people sitting at a table for four, how dare they! The Federal discriminating against a single…there are a lot of singles in the city of Toronto, my friends…
Wow! How dare they? I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience. Sadly I can’t say I am surprised with the service you got at The Federal. I eat out alone all the time and in Toronto it is not unusual to dine solo. We are paying customers after all! Arghh! I think I should start a section called “best solo dining establishments.” 🙂