Located on a sleepy street just off of Smith Street - this brunch spot might as well be my new local haunt being just around the corner from work! A chic industrial, homey feel awaits behind the door of South of Johnston with a menu to match.
Known to the locals as 'Sojo' - South of Johnston looks industrial enough from the outside but the inside is so warm and inviting that you feel like you're at home on the couch in front of a fire place (which you can literally do here!).
On to the food though! The Croque Monsieur (Leg ham, bechamel, gruyere cheese, mustard) was admittedly quite oily which I feel had a lot to do with the massive amount of cheese in the sandwich. A massive amount of cheese was matched with a very generous serving in general. As much as I love richness and cheese - there needed to be some freshness and texture on the plate which was obviously missing. It was also not the prettiest thing I've ever seen - but who wants a pretty croque monsieur anyway?! Try this artery clogger on a cheat day if you like!
Ahhhh the Pancakes (Poached strawberries, macadamia, coconut crumble, vanilla ice cream) were just...good. I feel like to really enjoy this one you have to prefer a denser pancake as it is quite doughy and dry pre-syrup pour. The batter otherwise has a good amount of sweetness in it and works very well with the delicious stewed strawberries that gained some tartness in the stew. The main complaints were the outside of the pancakes was tough to cut through and the crumble did not need to be there at all as it gave the dish a strange texture and did not taste good at all. I think the saving grace of the dish was the maple syrup though. A good dose of maple syrup will turn any sweet dish into a good one and the way it melded all the elements of the dish was simply great
Sojo is inviting and the atmosphere makes you want to stay there forever but the downside to it all is the busy-ness can cause a lot of ambient noise so try and stop by which its quieter if you're looking to chill. Service is a bit slow when busy but friendly and attentive so come in for a chat and chill session on an off peak time when you're in the area and prepare to zone out in front of the fire :)
Presentation: (5): 3.5
Taste (5): 3.5
Service (5): 3.5
Atmosphere (5): 4