Every once in a while, we stumble across a restaurant that has seemingly been around forever, yet we have inadvertently avoided eating there. Cafe le Matin, formerly Coffey’s Cafe, was one of those establishments until quite recently. I can’t put my finger on the exact reason as to why we’d ignored this place for so long, but suffice to say the strong lineup of breakfast and brunch nooks in downtown Kingston has something to do with it. Since our first visit to Cafe le Matin a few weeks ago, we have attempted to return for a second helping of their all day breakfast, while each time we have been faced with crowds of hungry patrons, which are a testament to its untold popularity. Who knew?
Located on the Princess Street side of the LaSalle Mews, Cafe le Matin attracts hungry passers-by from the street as well as those who work within the 6-storey mixed use office building. The atmosphere is a mix of cafeteria and diner, where customers place their order at the counter then grab a seat in the small dining area that seats no more than 30 people. The restaurant itself has rather dated decor with flowery table cloths, vintage pendant lighting, and various displays of coffee beans that are for sale, but it is by no means stale. Diners will instantly recognize and appreciate the pristine cleanliness of Cafe le Matin, which is illustrated in the photo (above right) by the gleaming floor.
Cafe le Matin was rather quiet when we first paid them a visit, however the crowd surged shortly after we took our seats. We hoped for a quick service, and thankfully we were not disappointed, having to wait no more than 5 minutes for our meals. That proved to be just enough time to enjoy the first few sips of our coffee, which you have to serve yourself at the main counter.
First up was the Big breakfast ($6.99) 2 eggs any style, toast, homefries, choice of bacon, sausage, ham or peameal, with coffee or tea. As you can see in the photo, this is a very respectable amount of food for the price, which is generally the case for all of the dishes we spotted coming out of the kitchen. While I am not the hugest fan of peameal bacon, and although it looks a touch on the crispy side in the photo above, I enjoyed a small piece in exchange for one of my links.
Next up was my Western Omelet ($7.99) with cheese (upgrade), homefries, toast and a side of sausage ($2.99). Due to the fact that I added cheese and the side of sausage, this was the most expensive plate at our table, but the cost was still under $15 with taxes and tip. Although you cannot tell based upon the photo, the omelet was stuffed with onion, ham and cheese, so much so that I had a difficult time finishing the entire meal. This is another deserving nod to the generous portion sizes at Cafe le Matin. I was also very impressed with the homefries, which had particularly crispy edges and a nice soft interior. They were not greasy nor overly seasoned in the slightest.
Last up was the Big Breakfast Sandwich ($4.99) fried egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise. My other dining companion said this sandwich was exactly what she was hoping it would be. The egg was cooked enough not to run but wasn’t over-cooked to the point of being rubbery. It was just right. The bacon was crispy and plentiful, the tomato and lettuce were fresh and there was just the right amount of mayo to hold it all together without overwhelming the sandwich. For the price, this was a very satisfying buy and a great option for those on the go.
Cafe le Matin was an unexpected surprise hit as far as I am concerned. It perfectly nurtured the three of us back to life after a night of self-inflicted indulgence, earning top marks for speed, value and cleanliness. I would categorize it as more of a vintage diner rather than a greasy spoon, and as I hinted at above, I didn’t find their traditional menu overly greasy to begin with. In addition to their all day breakfast, those on the run during the lunch hour rush will be happy to know that take-out sandwiches, wraps, soup, salad and other homemade hot menu items are available for well under $10. Since our first visit, I’ve attempted to return to Cafe le Matin only to be met with long-ish lineups and the prospect of having to wait a bit longer than our first go around. I will definitely pay them another visit soon and would encourage anyone who has passed this place without entering to give them a well deserved chance. You won’t be disappointed.