King + Bannatyne, known for its tight, sandwich-focused menu, is now serving breakfast (Monday to Friday, 7:30-10 a.m. and Saturday, 9-11 a.m.) While the Exchange has plenty of all-day coffee and pastry options, it’s good to have one more neighbourhood place offering a rise-and-shine start time and "a proper cooked breakfast," as my grandmothers used to say.
King + Bannatyne
100 King St.
King + Bannatyne
100 King St.
● Breakfast menu: Monday-Friday: 7:30-10 a.m.; Saturday: 9-11 a.m.
● Breakfast sandwiches: $9-$10
★★★★ Very Good
No stars Not recommended
The morning menu centres on breakfast sandwiches, making for quick-and-easy eat-in or takeout.
King + Bannatyne has always been a meat-centric kind of joint, so it’s no surprise that you can now get breakfast brisket. Strips of K+B’s very good carved-to-order brisket are served up with a whole heap of scrambled eggs. (Things will get messy.) The eggs are pre-prepped, but they stay soft and curdy, and the brioche buns are soft and shiny-topped — though on one visit, one bun was slightly stale.
Brioche, brisket and eggs make for a rich combo, though, and the sandwich could use a little more counteracting assertiveness from the horseradish remoulade.
The bacon and egger is tasty, the meat with a spiced, slightly sweet finish but a little too flabby at the edges. It’s served with tomato jam and buttermilk ranch dressing, a condiment that can get a bad rap but here is house-made and subtle.
There’s another sandwich built around eggs and wonderful Winkler farmer’s sausage, as well as a meat-free option (unsampled), relying on Bothwell cheese sauce.
You can also order up breakfast potatoes. They aren’t crisped up, which is something you should know going in. These are chunks of soft red-skinned potatoes, comforting and homey, topped with intertwining lines of hot harissa and creamy garlic aioli and finished with a sprinkle of herby greenness.
As a lighter option, you can opt for seasonal fruit — melon and pineapple in a recent sampling — wrapped in yogurt and garnished with a crispy-chewy crumble of dukka.
The yogurt is a little thin, but the dukka — imparting a subtle, savoury, slightly unexpected cuminy undercurrent to the sweetness of the fruit — is genius.
Continuing on an early-bird kick, a recently opened second venue for Oh Doughnuts! (tucked into the Grant Park Festival shopping centre at 3-1194 Taylor Ave.), offers a convenient grab-and-go location. (Well, for south Winnipeg car owners, at least.)
A 7 a.m. opening time can catch people on their way to work — and earlier is better with Oh Doughnuts! because some of the flavours in its daily rotation will sell out by the afternoon.
The bakery offers doughnuts that are creative, colourful and beautifully presented, with eminently Instagrammable features like a jade-green matcha glaze or a bacon-studded maple finish or a swirl of torched meringue.
But the core of their doughnut excellence really comes down to fundamentals that are not always visible in photos, like a vanilla pastry cream that reminds us that no, vanilla is not a synonym for bland, and fruit curds that are more than just sweet.
And of course, there’s the all-important dough, which at Oh Doughnuts! is tender and a little stretchy and always beautifully fresh. This extends to their vegan varieties, which might include, on any given day, a complex thyme glaze or a lovely lemon poppyseed.
Speaking of breakfasts that skew plant-based, it’s one thing to have vegetarian options at cool indie restos and boutique bakeries. It suggests a much bigger societal shift when you can get a meatless sausage-and-egger at a fast-food chain drive-thru.
Getting into this increasingly accessible vegetarian spirit, I tried out the Beyond Meat Sausage & Egger that recently debuted at A&W, and it was just fine. (You can also order a vegan option with tomato and without egg or cheese.) The plant-based patty is tasty and sagey, the main difference being that it’s slightly less greasy than a standard meat version, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.