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BRUNCH AND THE CITY: Almonak

BRUNCH AND THE CITY: Almonak

Almonak is doubling down on brunch. Now open Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the restaurant-slash-café-slash-juice bar offers a singular all-day brunch menu with a focus on healthier food options, wellness lattes, and fresh-pressed juice. Owners Chris Campbell and Kandace Homer want to position Almonak as the go-to destination for health-focused Haligonians who love brunch—and vitamin-rich juice. “We tend toward gluten-free, vegan, healthy based brunch—but done honestly,” says Campbell, who cites fundamental changes like switching from canola oil to avocado oil and sourcing from only small local producers. “Everyone says ‘local, local, local’ and then you get back in the kitchen and it’s not. We’re really doing it,” says Campbell.

When I stop in the bright, airy dining room is bustling with their Friday morning crowd, many with vibrant glasses of fresh-pressed juice on their tables. Their street-facing patio is buzzing, too. It’s busy all around. Campbell insists I try a coffee drink dubbed the Harvey Bomb. When it arrives at the table in a clear, short glass I can see icy almond milk swirling beautifully with the espresso—and my first sip leaves me surprised; it tastes so pure and clean, yet potent. The almond milk is made on-site at the juice bar, just three ingredients: almonds, dates, and water. It’s a great start.

Smashed Avo & Peas – $15

“The benny is our most popular thing. We make the biscuits,” says Campbell, as a beautiful order of eggs benedict with bacon, crispy potato cake, and market greens appears. I dig into the homemade biscuit, which is dense and buttery. The pale-coloured hollandaise is super aerated and lighter than usual, which works for me as I typically find runny egg yolk and thick hollandaise redundant. The potato cake looks like a perfectly formed puck, brown and crispy, well-seasoned, creamy inside with lots of savoury rosemary. The market greens are delicious too, layered with texture and dressed in a light vinaigrette that lets the flavours of the greens shine.

While eggs benedict is a classic (and highly sought brunch dish in Halifax), it’s not exactly the epitome of what Almonak is trying to do, and so Campbell also sends out a “super light, super health-focused” dish. On the menu, it’s called Smashed Avo & Peas. The two main elements—a mound of smashed avocado and summer peas topped with a poached egg, and warm, freshly baked focaccia—are plated separately. The focaccia is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. A perfect bite involves a rip and dip, picking up some of the smashed avocado and pea, and a bit of runny yolk on the bread. The mash is summery and delightful, with lemon notes and shredded Asiago cheese. I love it. To me, this is a perfect brunch dish, and Campbell and Homer were right about how I felt after eating—like the smashed avocado and peas, I didn’t feel too heavy or bogged down, just satisfied.

ALMONAK
5659 Almon Street, Halifax
BRUNCH ALL-DAY, WEDNESDAY – SUNDAY
EATERY & CAFE

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