Monday, 26 August 2013

Jack and Lois

301 James Street North
Hamilton, ON


In her opinion:
I had heard about this restaurant from Urbanspoon...not shocking! Jack and Lois was one of those places that I had read about and placed on the must eat here list in my brain. So this past Sunday, we needed to be in Hamilton early...what a great opportunity to visit Jack and Lois for breakfast!

We got there as they opened up at 9:00 am for breakfast. Jack and Lois are the owner's grandparents and their portrait holds a special place near the bar. The restaurant has a retro vibe to it...tables and chairs don't match and there's a kitschy feel to the place. The restaurant quickly filled up as we sat there having our breakfast, this tells me it's happening!

Our server was friendly and attentive and although she was the only one working, she kept things moving. She brought over ice water even before we were completely seated...nice. We ordered coffee to begin. They serve Red Hill Coffee. It was a full bodied coffee and maybe a little too bold for my taste...but still good.

We studied the menu but were told that if we wanted any of the daily features we would have to wait about 15 minutes because the Hollandaise wasn't done yet...I decided to wait. Hollandaise makes everything better in my humble opinion anyway and it is definitely worth the wait.

I decided on the "Mexi-Morning". This consisted of two poached eggs on toast with garlic chili sauce, avocado, maple bacon, aged cheddar and spicy Hollandaise. We also got an order of "Stuffed Angels". Stuffed angels are black bean, cilantro, portobello and onion stuffed into a wanton wrapper and deep fried...they are served with the chef's house made sauce.

The "Mexi-Morning" was spicy and delicious. It had a burst of flavour in every bite. The garlic and chili sauce along with the spicy Hollandaise were runny nose hot...not too much that you couldn't enjoy but the right amount to of heat to wake your taste buds up early on a Sunday morning. It was served with cubed potatoes and fresh fruit. Just an excellent rendition of eggs benny. The "Stuffed Angels" were heavenly...really delicious with a little bit of heat as well...they tasted very Mexican or at least what Mexican tastes like in my head. Just excellent. 

Overall, I had an amazing breakfast at Jack and Lois. I loved the gum instead of candy that came with the bill. Jack and Lois serves fresh, excellent food in downtown Hamilton. James St. North is a foodie's dream...between Work Restaurant, Harbour Diner and now Jack and Lois...the "Hammer" definitely has something to be proud of.

In his opinion:
We have of late been on an unintentional streak of visiting good restaurants in Hamilton. Thus, proving that in fact Hamilton can be taken seriously in the food department! In comes Jack and Lois, a hip place that plays vinyl, serves an eclectic menu and doubles as a drive in?

As with most good restaurants on this part of town, it has an inconspicuous location and facade, easily missed if you are not looking for it. During the summer days, the front of the restaurant is opened completely giving it more of a "urban sexy" look and feel which can be a good thing or bad thing for some. This place is tiny, seating maybe 25 person max but has that mom and pop appeal to it. The decor is extremely confused, a little retro but with an identity crisis, not affecting the overall charm of the place.

On this day, we practically opened the place and were quickly greeted and seated by our waitress. We were also told that a couple of items on the menu were going to take a bit longer to make given that the preparation for this dishes had not even started. All in all, we browsed the features menu on the wall as well as the printed menu to see if anything would "pop" in our minds as a must have for breakfast. the place was by then filling up and its eclectic atmosphere was beginning to unfold.

I ordered a cup of coffee that I have to admit was pretty damn good. The cup of java was well balanced, lean and robust, and as it unfolded became the perfect way to start this morning. I chose the "Cobra" for breakfast, a more traditional approach to a breakfast meal than the others being offered. It consisted of 3 eggs cooked your way (I chose over easy), 2 strips of peameal bacon, 2 sausages, 2 strips of regular bacon served with hash browns and grilled American cheese fingers. As well, a couple of pieces of fruit lay there on the plate to attempt to "mask" the meatiness of the dish. The peameal was extremely good and the eggs perfectly done. The regular bacon was good (kind of hard to screw that up) but the hash browns felt dry and flavourless. The grilled american cheeses fingers were just ok, slice bread toasted with cheese in them. I used them to soak the egg yokes and that turned out okay.

The meal was overall good but I felt that somehow there was something missing in the experience. Maybe returning for one of their famous burgers in the newly opened patio might give me a different sensation and actually feel the experience and hospitality of Jack and Lois. Lastly, the bill came with cut up "extra" chicklets from a flat pack, nice touch to end the day.

The Good: Good meal, well prepared and carefully thought out menu items. The "charm" of its decor is a plus for anyone that is looking for an inviting restaurant.
The Bad: Don't make it a large family outing as you may take over the whole restaurant. Also, don't go too early or you will have a 20 min wait for some dishes.
The Verdict: The restaurant seems to be a hit with the regulars, no questions about it. The patrons we observed eating matched the great reviews the restaurant has. The addition of the back patio is a great help to the limited seating inside and goes well with the feeling of the restaurant.

I give it 3 out of 5 Olives as rating

Jack & Lois on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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