Got a message from my good friend Vandelay wondering if I wanted to have lunch at Salade de Fruits today. Well, I really wanted to go there; but, I wasn't sure if it would be a good experience if I brought both kiddies. That's when Vandelay suggested that we try Little Nest. Unlike Viv, I had no idea what Little Nest was about. Well, Little Nest is a cafe just off The Drive (Commerical Drive) on Charles. It serves up organic food in a casual setting where there is a play area just for the kiddies. A kid friendly cafe? I was skeptical. How good can this place be if it caters to parents with kids? Viv convinced me to give it a try even though it wasn't the "sexiest" place to eat.
So we get the family ready for a "family edition" of my food adventures. We arrive down on The Drive and we do what we always do down there - drive around looking for a parking spot. This is a frustrating exercise, especially when the restaurant of choice is not near Il Mercato. You see, you can park free at Il Mercato for the first hour (shhhhhh, it's a secret). Anyways, after endless circling, I had to do a "pull the car into a lane and reverse maneuver" to get my parking spot. Luckily for us, Vandelay and his wife Donna Chang (not her real name) had already scored a choice table right beside the children's play area. The play area consists of various toys and a kitchen play set on foam mats.
Looking over the menu on the wall, I decided to go for the Prosciutto Baguette which consisted of prosciutto, fig jam and Cambozola (combination of French cream cheese and Italian Gorgonzola). The saltiness of the prosciutto was perfectly offset by the sweetness of the fig jam and the smoothness of the Cambozola. However, the multigrain baguette was way too hard and it hurt my mouth when I bit into it. I also ordered the Confit Albacore Tuna Salad which consisted of Tuna on a bed of romaine, avocado, cilantro and pickled daikon/carrot. There was some chili-mayo on the plate for the tuna as well. I thought the Tuna was excellent, being just slightly cooked. The pickled daikon and carrots gave the salad a nice zing and the avocado contributed a level of smoothness to the dish. Viv had the Slow-Roasted Organic Chicken Baguette which consisted of free-range chicken, toasted almonds, arugula, pickled red onions and harissa-spiced mayo. It was also good, but again, the baguette was too crunchy and it was difficult to eat.
Vandelay had the Brioche French Toast with Organic Bananas, which was topped with cinnamon-whipped cream and toasted pistachios with a marsala-spiked butterscotch caramel syrup. I tried this and it was good. The French toast was soft and the syrup was flavourful without being too sweet. Donna Chang had the Middle Eastern Spiced Squash Puree Soup, which was topped with cilantro oil and toasted pistachios. She also had the Organic Chicken Baguette as well. Unfortunately, I didn't get a comment from her about the soup, but it appears that the regular baguette is less hard to eat than the multi-grain baguette.
Naturally, there are also items on the menu for the kiddies and we choose cheese sandwich; no word from the kiddies whether it was good or not. They just wanted to finish and start playing. So what's the verdict from this place that I was skeptical to visit? I must admit it is a pretty neat place, reminds me of some restaurants I've visited in Portland. It's pretty cool you can bring your kids in and the place is already setup for families. The food in general is pretty good, being organic is a plus. However, the food isn't cheap in relation to what type of restaurant this is. Although the service is friendly, it is a bit slow, due to the place being quite busy. But it states on the menu that "good food takes time".
- Great for families
- Food is organic
- Creative menu items
- Food comes out a bit slow
- If you hate kids, don't come here
Little Nest Cafe
1716 Charles Street
9:00am - 4:00pm (Tue - Sun)