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

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

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Last name: Cafe Campechano
Contact: 374 Bathurst Street, campechano.ca, @campechano.cafe
Piece: Kensington Market
Owners: Raena Fisher, Daniel Roe
Chief: Daniel Roe
Seats: 40 indoors, 36 outdoors
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

Mexican brunch in the form of bright and punchy small plates takes center stage at Campechano’s brand new restaurant. Like other owner-operated brand taquerias in Adelaide and College, a strong in-house masa (corn) program is the backbone of the menu. There’s no pre-packaged tortilla in these kitchens: Campechano imports dried heirloom corn from small Mexican farms and processes it on-site, from nixtamalizing (an alkaline dipping that improves corn’s nutritional value and flavor) to grinding and to shaping.

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

In taquerias, the masa is mainly made into tortillas. Here, the fundamental ingredient takes on myriad other forms: wrapped in a banana leaf for a moist, steamed tamale; fried in a tortilla-tostada hybrid; or transmuted into tender, chewy hominy in a deeply spiced pozole. While the finished dishes appear deceptively simple, a meticulous complexity underlies their components, like potent salsas and concentrated broths made with carefully selected ingredients, including local meat and eggs.

Fresh tortillas coming out of the line
Campechano’s take on the ranchero — aka huevos rancheros, the classic Mexican breakfast dish — tops the fried masa with guacamole, a perfect runny egg, and a lively salsa roja of tomato and guajillo peppers. $9
Panucho, a specialty of Yucatán, combines a fried dough stuffed with black beans with scrambled eggs, avocado, homemade Oaxaca cheese (also known as quesillo) and a magnificent salsa morita of roasted tomatoes, cilantro and adobo. $9
Huarache translates to sandal, and this dish is so named for its slipper-like shape. Here, the masa is stuffed with fingerling potatoes and topped with a lush salsa verde of tomatillo, garlic, onion and cilantro. The tangy base is finished with a drizzle of homemade sour cream, quesillo and a fried egg. $9
The star of this dish is the salty, smoky and intensely meaty homemade chorizo. It relies on a tlayuda, a thin tortilla/tostada hybrid that’s grilled to straddle the line between soft and crispy. The masa is spread with larded beans and topped with (more) lard, quesillo, salsa morita and a lacy-edged sunny egg. $9
Campechano quesadilla is topped with fried masa with quesillo, sour cream and a delicious salsa verde crudo, that is, a sauce made with raw tomatillos. $8
In Campechano tamales, masa is steamed in a banana leaf to a tender, chewy texture and topped with salsa verde and a fried egg. $8
Most pozole – a pork stew renowned for curing the nastiest of hangovers – is made with canned hominy, because dried corn takes a lot of work to turn into this tender, soft-shelled delight. That’s not the case at Campechano, which (no surprises here) makes its own fresh hominy. The fluffy grains reinforce a deep, heady broth spiced with guajillo and ancho chiles and based on the Linton Pasture pig’s head – where possible, Campechano sources and uses the whole animal. Lettuce, radish, avocado, lime and oregano finish the soup. $8
If your lunch isn’t complete without something sweet, try the masa pancakes, topped simply with Ontario Strawberry Jam and homemade whipped sour cream. Like so much on Campechano’s menu, it’s an ostensibly simple, meticulously calibrated delight. $7
The drinks

There’s everything you need for brunch drinks: coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and tasty cocktails, including (of course) mimosas. Try the piña mimosa, which replaces the juice of grilled pineapple and lime with 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 bright hues of easy-drinking Mezcal Sunset are made with orange juice, mezcal, hibiscus grenadine and warmly spiced tiki bitters. $12
Cafe de Olla combines a spicy cinnamon and clove cold brew with vanilla infused Licor 43 and unrefined piloncillo candy cane syrup. Take that, Four Loko. $11

Behind the counter is an impressive array of masa processing equipment, including a conveyor belt that produces tortillas. Next to a handful of tables near the counter, there’s a hallway into a bright and airy dining room with hanging lamps and cheerful minimalist decor. And, if you’re lucky, you might be able to meet Rami on the sunny front patio.

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