Forgive me this: I need to whine a little bit. Every time I have breakfast with James, he always gets the better breakfast. Every time! Either he has awesome breakfast karma or I have lousy breakfast karma. I reckon I need a serious attitude adjustment or I need to order whatever he’s having. This morning, James and I didn’t have a particular destination. Yesterday we were going back on forth on potential places and finally James suggested we just drive up and Main until something caught our eye. Well that was Helen’s.
I can’t remember what my breakfast was called. When our lovely waitress Athina listed off her breakfast recommendations, I was half listening. I heard 2 this, 2 that, 2 the other thing. So I said, I’ll have the 222 thing. What arrived was two pancakes, two scrambled eggs and two strips of bacon. It was good. But take a close look at the eggs. They had this funny colour. When I bit into them, I knew why…they were cooked on the same part of the grill that cooked James’ steak. I am not objecting to that, it gave the eggs a beefy flavour I wasn’t expecting. Beefy eggs notwithstanding, I really liked Helen’s. It was retro, and genuinely so. It looks like it hasn’t been renovated in about 50 years, about the time it first opened. Helen’s also had those awesome thick diner dishes from England that last forever…the perfect serving dishes for comfort food. The other interesting thing is that the restaurant was absolutely spotless. You could eat off the floor, should the desire ever strike. And service was quick, friendly, and unobtrusive.
Five score and one, that’s how many years Helen’s Grill and Restaurant, firmly rooted at the corner of Main St. and King Edward Ave. has been around. But there’s life in the old gal, and she delivers a delicious breakfast in a tidy setting with some age-appropriate style (check out the black velvet painting near the entrance). Today’s visit started with a large pot of tea, and when our cheery waitress took our order, I went with the steak and eggs ($9.95). The order arrived on a small platter, and there was nothing wrong with the eggs (basted), hash browns (processed) and toast (sourdough) – all tasty, but the Oscar for best performance by a breakfast offering goes to… the steak! Often breakfast steaks are about as thick as a deck of cards (and about as tender). Not this one – a sensible portion, thick, juicy, perfectly seared and cooked as ordered (medium). I’ve paid far more for bigger steaks that didn’t have the flavour of this notable cut of beef. Helen, take a bow.
Breakfast for two cost us $25.00
Theresa’s rating: 3 eggs out of 5
James’s rating: 3.5 eggs out of 5