What’s on the menu at Campechano Cafe, the popular taqueria’s new spot for Mexican brunch

What’s on the menu at Campechano Cafe, the popular taqueria’s new spot for Mexican brunch

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Name: Campechano Cafe
Contact: 374 Bathurst St., campechano.ca, @campechano.cafe
Neighborhood: Kensington Market
Owners: Raena Fisher, Daniel Roe
Chef: Daniel Roe
Seating: 40 indoors, 36 outdoors
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Mexican brunch in the form of bright, punchy small plates takes center stage at Campechano’s newest restaurant. Like the owner-operated brand’s other taquerias on Adelaide and College, a strong in-house masa (corn) program is the backbone of the menu. There’s not a prepackaged tortilla to be found in these kitchens: Campechano imports dried heirloom corn from small Mexican farms and processes it on site, from nixtamalization (an alkaline soak that enhances corn’s nutritional value and flavour) to grinding and shaping.

Owners Daniel Roe and Raena Fisher (and Rummy, their adorable Bernedoodle)

At the taquerias, masa is mainly processed into tortillas. Here, the foundational ingredient takes on myriad other forms: wrapped in banana leaf for a plush steamed tamale; fried into a tortilla-tostada hybrid; Or transmuted into tender, chewy hominy in a deeply spiced pozole. While the finished dishes appear deceptively simple, meticulous complexity underlies their components, like potent salsas and stocks concentrated made from thoughtfully sourced ingredients, including local meat and eggs.

Fresh tortillas coming off the line

Campechano’s take on the ranchero—aka huevos rancheros, the classic Mexican breakfast dish—tops fried masa with guacamole, a perfect runny egg, and a vivid salsa roja of tomato and guajillo chili. $9

Panucho, a Yucatán specialty, pairs black bean-stuffed fried masa with scrambled eggs, avocado, house-made Oaxaca cheese (also known as quesillo) and a gorgeous morita salsa of roasted tomatoes, cilantro, and adobo. $9

Huarache translates to sandal, and this dish is so-named for its slipper-like shape. Here, masa is stuffed with fingerling potatoes and topped with a lush salsa verde of tomatillo, garlic, onion and cilantro. The zesty base is finished with a drizzle of house-made sour cream, quesillo and a sunny-side-up egg. $9

The star of this dish is the salty, smoky, intensely meaty house-made chorizo. It rests on a tlayuda, a thin tortilla/tostada hybrid that’s griddled to straddle the line between chewy and crispy. The masa is spread with larded beans and topped with (more) lard, quesillo, morita salsa and a lacy-edged sunny-side-up egg. $9

Campechano’s quesadilla tops fried masa with quesillo, sour cream and a delectable salsa verde crudo—that is, one made with raw tomatillos. $8

In Campechano’s tamales, masa is steamed in banana leaf to a tender, pillowy texture and topped with salsa verde and a sunny-side-up egg. $8

Most pozole—a pork stew reputed to cure the nastiest of hangovers—is made with canned hominy since dried corn is fairly labor-intensive to process into that tender, soft-hulled delight. Not so at Campechano, which (no surprises here) makes its own fresh hominy. The chewy kernels bolster a deep, heady broth spiced with guajillo and ancho chilies and based on Linton Pasture pork head—whenever possible, Campechano purchases and uses the whole animal. Lettuce, radish, avocado, lime and oregano finish the soup. $8

If your breakfast isn’t complete without something sweet, try masa pancakes, simply adorned with Ontario strawberry jam and house-made whipped sour cream. Like so many things on Campechano’s menu, it’s an ostensibly simple, meticulously calibrated delight. $7
The drinks

There’s everything you could want for brunch beverages: coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice and tasty cocktails, including (of course) mimosas. Try the piña mimosa, which subs in the juice from grilled pineapples and lime for the traditional orange.

Here we have a duo of mimosas: on the left, your classic orange juice and Cava. On the right, grilled pineapple juice and lime take it in a decidedly different direction. $10 each

A play on a tequila sunrise, the easy-drinking Mezcal Sunset’s vivid hues are composed of orange juice, mezcal, hibiscus grenadine and warmly spiced tiki bitters. $12

The Cafe de Olla pairs cinnamon and clove-spiced cold brew with vanilla-infused Licor 43 and unrefined piloncillo sugarcane syrup. Take that, Four Loko. $11
The space

Behind the front counter is an impressive assembly of masa-processing gear, including a conveyor belt that churns out tortillas. Next to a handful of tables by the front counter, there’s a hallway into a bright, spacious dining room with hanging lamps and cheery minimalist decor. And, if you’re lucky, you may have an encounter with Rummy on the sunny front patio.

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