Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE CHEESE. With Mac and Cheese on the menu at Collective Espresso this was always going to be a hotly anticipated brunch and WOW did it, but where did it also go oh so wrong...
Settled in a quiet spot off Burke Road, this a hidden cafe...as it literally it's tiny. Don't judge too quickly though because wow...the food is amazing and some of the best that I've experienced this year. Before I get to describing these amazing dishes, I have to say that this was one of the worst service experiences I've encountered, even for a Sunday morning. It took us an hour to be asked for coffees and get our orders in, were ignored a countless number of times when trying to get someones attention, waitress was kind of rude and offered no apologies and to top it all off...the food was so slow (30mins+) so I was extremely HANGRY. SO FRUSTRATING. END RANT.
ON TO THE FOOD...
The main dish that we came here for... the charred corn mac & cheese (Melted mozzarella, sweet corn, parmesan, bacon bits and smoked paprika crisps) and WOW (I know I've said it a lot) this was AMAZING. I loved the creaminess of the dish and the good balance of cheese and corn. The corn offered little pops of freshness through out it and kept it so light I could've had two bowls of this to myself. The bacon bits and parmesan offered a saltiness and tang that I really enjoyed. For those that are scared at the mention of paprika...you can't taste it and I actually didn't mind at all.
Next up...Eggs Benny (Poached eggs, crispy chipotle pork & potato hash, wilted spinach, apple & herb salad, hollandaise) which was by far the most average dish of the day but satisfactory for brunch. The wilted spinach was seasoned well and was made further pronounced on the dish due to the lack of pesto. There could've been more pesto and a stronger flavour to the hollandaise to balance the overall dish.
I am a huge advocate for sweet breakfasts but lately I've had some hits and misses but I will put it out these...'Stacks on' Banana pancakes (Caramelised banana, poppy seed whipped cream, berries, pistachio fairy floss and Canadian maple syrup) were probably one of the best sweet brunches I've had this year. The pancakes were light and moist with the sweetness balanced out with the expert use of whipped cream and banana flavouring. I honestly could not fault this dish and HIGHLY RECOMMEND everyone try this.
Overall...wow. Collective Expresso blew me away with its food and I definitely recommend dropping by just for the pancakes and mac and cheese. The service was so disappointing though...if only they could fix that they might've looked at full marks across the board :(
Presentation (5): 3.5
Taste (5): 4
Service (5): 1
Atmosphere (5): 3