If there were a single set of resources that we simply could not have done without during our trip to Toronto, it would have been our rental cars. Everything else that we had with us – our smartphones, our laptops – (even each other) – were expendable, but our rental cars were the foundation of our entire trip. Should anything have happened to them, we would have been stranded and forced into poverty by the time we had finished using public transport and cabs. We traversed the state of Ontario in a proud convoy of Chevrolet Malibus (well, as proud as you can be of a Malibu), and alhamdulillah, despite the fact that Canadians seem to be adamant on driving on the wrong side of the road, we had not had any hiccups or accidents. Yet.
Cue the halfway mark of our holiday. A hot day of glaring sunshine – blistering yet blissful in nature, and a busy day ahead at High park and Woodbine beach to soak it all up. We were enroute to “The Good Fork” for breakfast – a popular brunch-based bistro with an amusing and thoroughly-Canadian slogan of “Have a good forkin’ mornin’!”, and a “good forkin’ mornin'” is exactly what we were having – until we arrived at our destination. As Timon parked up behind Yogi-Bear in the traditional Canadian way, (on the wrong side of the road, from the wrong-side of the car), he nicked the wrong corner of the kerb at the wrong angle. BANG. The car jerked. We all grimaced. Pedestrians gasped and recoiled. (As they do when there’s a loud bang near a group of young brown men). The front-right tire had been slashed by the sharp kerb, and was now flatter than a piece of toast. Filled with dread and uncertainty as to whether we would lose our excess or be able to carry on with our day, we walked on to the Good Fork to sit down and figure things out. None of the meat here is halal, but there are plenty of non-meat options. Alcohol is served.
Timon was in good spirits considering the situation, but was no longer in the mood to eat, and went straight onto the phone with Enterprise. Naturally, the rest of us decided to offer our moral support in this stressful situation, by eating breakfast for him. What else are family for, if not to eat food without you? Glancing over the menu, the first item I noticed was the “Hulk smoothie”. Now, as grown-up and as mature as I am, if something is given a name like “Hulk”, I will buy it – no questions asked. Hulk smoothie? Sold. Hulk water? Done. Hulk air? I’ll buy 10,000 bottles. I also ordered a helping of their signature red velvet pancakes to go with my green beverage, (inadvertently creating some sort of breakfast-tribute to Bangladesh), as well as a cappuccino.
The hulk smoothie was the first to arrive, and it glared at me with such a vibrant green that you’d think I’d flirted with its wife. (Just kidding. Astaghfirullah. A brick wall could flirt better than me anyway). The smoothie was made up of a concoction of banana, coconut water, honey, spinach, and mango, with the banana taking complete dominance in terms of flavour. It could have done with a touch more sweetness, but as a whole, it possessed a pleasantly clean feel amongst a thick consistency, and was very well-balanced.
By this point, Timon had been told that given the circumstances, we would not lose our excess, and could get a replacement car from the nearest branch. Whilst on the phone, he disappeared out of the restaurant without a word. We presumed he had gone to either change the flat tire, or to change his trousers after being startled by the big bang.
As Timon tended to his business, I tended to my monstrous red velvet pancakes. They were large in size, plentiful in number, and accompanied by two generous tin pots of cream cheese frosting and pure maple syrup. The pancakes were extremely moist and soft, with a light and airy density that meant they simply tore and crumbled with ease, and soaked up the syrup like a sponge. The pancakes themselves did not possess an overwhelmingly dominant flavour, but this was a good thing, given the extremely heavy stopping-power of the accompanying cream cheese frosting and maple syrup. The frosting was extremely thick and creamy in consistency, and possessed a very rich and strong sweetness with a subtle background tang. The syrup meanwhile, possessed a rich and sharp sweetness, and was ridiculously thick in consistency. The sheer quality and purity of the syrup was explicitly evident in the luxury of its viscosity, which simply wrapped around the tongue in a truly indulgent embrace. The maple syrup combined with the cream cheese frosting and the red velvet pancakes to create a wonderful mix of soft textures, and together, delivered a powerful concoction of flavours to the palate. The mild tang and rich sweetness almost became a little overwhelming towards the end, but even if I had eaten myself into sickness, it would have been completely and utterly worth it. If you don’t have a particularly strong sweet tooth like myself, I’d recommend you order this to share. If however, you’re the kind of person who makes your Dentist cry by taking 655 sugars with your coffee or tea, soldier on alone. Either way, The Good Fork’s red velvet pancakes are simply a must-eat.
Whilst The Good Fork’s red velvet pancakes are exemplary, the same cannot be said for their coffee. My cappuccino possessed a thick, velvety layer of foam, but sadly, the brew was incredibly thin and weak, with no presence or punch whatsoever. Save yourself some money and some disappointment, and opt for one of their smoothies instead.
Value For Money: 4/5
The red velvet pancakes cost $13.50 (£6.25), whilst the cappuccino came in at $3.75 (£1.88), and the hulk smoothie at $6 (£3). In Canada, HST (their equivalent of VAT), is, (rather annoyingly), added at the point of transaction, rather than included in the displayed price. Thus, my total bill amounted to approximately $26 (£13) after HST was added. Other breakfast items range around the $12-$15 mark (£6-£7.50) before HST, whilst teas and coffees range around $2-$4 (£1-£2), and smoothies range from $5-$6 (£2.50-£3). This is more or less in keeping with what you’d expect in Toronto, and given the quality and the more-than-generous portion sizes, I’d say breakfast at The Good Fork is well worth your precious cents.
Staff members here stay true to classic Canadian form, and are friendly, welcoming and helpful. Service can be a little slow at times, but overall, you’ll be well looked after.
The Good Fork spans two floors, and is a fairly large establishment with a simple, elegant, and clean-cut modern decor. The restaurant is filled with comfortable black-leather booths, white-leather chairs and an assortment of dark tables and overhead lamps. All these elements blend together seamlessly within a spacious layout, forming a comfortable dining environment. There are also plenty of parking spaces on the main road, though they tend to fill up quickly, and you may have to park within walking distance of the restaurant. (Just watch out for sharp corners in the kerb).
As mentioned already, the attractive decor and spacious layout helps to create a relaxing and comfortable ambience within The Good Fork. The mellow, upbeat feeling that accompanies a weekend brunch very much resonates throughout the restaurant in a gentle manner, and helps soothe the troubles around you. Indeed, we became so absorbed by our food and our surroundings, that we completely forgot that we were one car down. That is, until Timon suddenly reappeared towards the end of our meals and declared that he had fitted the car with its spare tire. At first, I felt guilty about the fact he had completed the task alone, but then I glanced down at my stomach, and realised that I had managed to fit a spare tire onto myself in the mean time. Satisfied with my hard work, we all headed out to collect a replacement car, and salvage what we could of our day.
With utterly indulgent breakfast options and a comfortable, upbeat environment, The Good Fork is the perfect venue for a lazy breakfast or brunch if you ever find yourself in Toronto. Whilst the cheerful inhabitants of Toronto will ensure that every morning you spend there is a good morning, it’s only breakfast at The Good Fork that will ensure you have a “good forkin'” morning. (And that’s hopefully the first and final time I will be almost-swearing in a blog post. Apologies).
The Good Fork
Address: 2432 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S 1P9, Canada
Telephone: +1 647-352-5955