We've long been fans of Leyda’s. The atmosphere is warm and comfortable while at the same time capturing a tasteful, modern aesthetic. In our experience this is not always a balance that restaurants manage to strike. Beautiful, dark woods invite us to relax while rich, red accents add a vibrancy to the space. Vintage wooden crates and woven baskets decorate the walls, lending an air of muted quirkiness.
They offer a great menu with creative flavours, healthy options, and reasonable serving sizes. Leyda’s is often our “go to” when we're dining with friends who have dietary restrictions. They are always kind and accommodating when catering to requests, with staff that are very knowledgeable about what ingredients can be found in each dish. Of particular note - at least of us - is that we love this place in spite of the fact that all their offerings are gluten and nut free.
Meat and Potatoes
$8 - $17.50 Per dish
Let us explain: generally, we aren't fans of gluten-free cooking. In our experience sauces tend to have an off-putting texture, breads are often unpleasant, and nothing comes out as crispy as it should. But Leyda's seems to have figured all this out. Their pizza crusts are lovely, the bread is addictive, and calamari always has a crispy coating. It's a real pleasure to join gluten-free friends for a meal and not have it feel like a personal sacrifice.
Unlike other gluten-free restaurants we've visited Leyda’s has an wider range of appealing menu offerings, making a decision hard - which is part of the fun of dining out! So if you have some friends that love to share food we find that’s the best way to enjoy a meal here. Recently we rolled out of bed on a lazy Sunday and decided it was far too late to cook. Clearly the only answer to our growling stomachs was brunch out - but where to go? We'd been to all the usual suspects: Hometown Diner; Park Cafe; Calories; and, Delish by Tish dozens of times and were in the mood for something new. Pondering our options over coffee, we realized that Leyda's brunch was still uncharted territory.
As soon as we sat down at the table, the indecision began: A mushroom and spinach fritatta? A bacon breakfast sammie? Eggs Benny? And then there were the Toasties with all sorts of interesting flavour combos like Hummus and Charred Roasted Broccoli.
Sliced mango, goat cheese, tahini, fresh mint, spicy honey.
All the toasties were so appealing we just had to try one; but one in particular - the Mango Toasty - was calling our names. Reading the menu made our mouths water: sliced mango, goat cheese, tahini, fresh mint, spicy honey.
We each still wanted a main and were worried about over-ordering - again! But our server assured us that the toasty was a small portion - a single slice of bread – that people often enjoyed as an appy for one or two people. Fruit and goat cheese make for a beautiful marriage, and the tahini with spicy honey combination sounded brilliant.
We could imagine the dance of flavours and had to find out if the real thing would measure up to our lively food imaginations. As usual, their thickly sliced, moist bread held up beautifully to the ingredients. The mango was fresh and sweet, with generous amounts of creamy goat cheese underneath. A thin layer of tahini spread onto the bread added a lovely background nuttiness without drawing attention to itself. The spicy honey was so delicious – not too hot and adding a layered, complex sweetness - that we found ourselves licking it off our cutlery.
Stuffed French Toast
Vanilla French Brioche stuffed with mixed fruit and berry goat cheese filling. Drizzled with maple syrup and topped with Whipped Cream.
Generally, French toast isn't a go-to for us. We're just not big fans of dessert for breakfast and things like French toast and pancakes are too often used as a platform to add huge quantities of sugar to a plate. But, here was a berry goat cheese filling; we know very well that this lovely combination of savoury and sweet can be so wonderful. With vague thoughts of cheesecake dancing in our mind it was clear - this just had to happen. At first we requested that the whipped cream be left off, but our genuinely interested server gently persuaded us that it was only a small amount left off to the side, and that the coconut accented cream would enhance the flavour profile without being cloying. How could we refuse? The dish has a beautifully balanced sweetness, with lots of blueberry goat cheese oozing out. There was only the slightest touch of maple syrup to contrast against the lovely, salty egg batter. And she was right about the whipped cream; the lightly whipped cream formed a pillowy mound, allowing us to spoon over just enough to get the coconut flavour but not overwhelm the dish. And the bed of grains and pumpkin seeds was a particularly inspired touch. This was quite a filling dish that felt like a decadent breakfast without becoming childishly sweet. We've noted it down for some home cooking experiments!
Leyda's Egg Benny
Spinach and mushroom florentine on a buttery brioche muffin with two poached eggs, creamy hollandaise, sweet and local potato hash.
Rather uncharacteristically one of us opted not for a ham or bacon benny, but rather for a spinach and mushroom Florentine version (clearly a holdover from the earlier pining for the spinach and mushroom frittata). The Florentine was delicious, with mushrooms cooked to firm perfection and spinach that retained its texture and flavour throughout. The eggs were very nicely poached (though they could have been taken out of the water a wee bit sooner so as to provide an even creamier yolk), and were served on a perfectly toasted, buttery brioche muffin with creamy hollandaise, and a side of potato hash that combined sweet and white potatoes.
We’re quite particular about Hollandaise sauce, and this version was very well executed. It had just the right level of acidity, deliciously buttery without being too rich, and a perfect consistency that combined beautifully with the egg yolk.
Best of all was the quality of the brioche muffin that carried the main ingredients on the plate. As we mentioned earlier we’re often disappointed with the quality of gluten-free baking generally - particularly toasted breads. But this brioche muffin had none of the shortcomings we often encounter. It held up beautifully - carrying the various flavoursto the end of the meal without becoming the least bit soggy. It was perfect; and perfectly tasty!