Hello 123: Say Hello to the Latest Vegan Brunch Hotspot
Hello 123's brunch comes to us from the owners of Kupfert and Kim, a well-known vegan salad chain that's popped up in several locations across Toronto's downtown. Since I love going there for lunch (and since being vegetarian sometimes makes it difficult to find the perfect brunch) I thought I'd give Hello 123 a try.
Close to the Drake Hotel and the Gladstone Hotel, Hello 123 has an adorable interior to rival both. However, large groups beware: we came in a group of five, and they didn't have a very well-organized space to fit us in.
However, their great patio helps make up for this. You'll get the perfect people-watching opportunity (or just enjoy brunch in the sunshine if you're not a creep like I am).
But how did Hello 123's brunch compare to its adorable décor?
Our waitress told us that their most popular options were their Hello Pancakes, their Benny Benny, Irene's Massive Breakfast, and the Almond and Banana French Toast. We had the chance to try the first three of these.
The first brunch we sampled were their Hello Pancakes, which were light and fluffy despite being made of buckwheat. They were also nice and crispy around the edges, despite being liberally doused with maple syrup and chocolate sauce.
The next dish we tried was the Benny Benny, which was an interesting twist on the typical Eggs Benedict that's such a brunch staple for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it was cold (which came as a surprise, and caused our table to discuss whether or not this was a mistake or not). Secondly, the texture of the tofu ricotta and spinach was, although not that similar to real eggs, still quite satisfying. Finally, the addition of turmeric in their hollandaise sauce was a nice addition. Although the flavour wasn't that strong, it had a pleasantly creamy texture.
Finally, for a combination of sweet and savoury flavours, try Irene's Massive Breakfast. In my opinion, it was the best of the three (but then again, I just really love tempeh). Note, however, that it was indeed massive -- bring your appetite!
The thing I liked most about this dish was the variety of flavours. The omelette, made with chickpea flour, had a texture that was surprisingly similar to real eggs. The toast was also well "buttered" (margarine-d?) and pleasantly crispy. Their homemade tomato sauce (much better than ketchup!) and the hot sauce first created by Kupfert & Kim made a great addition. However, the salad and potatoes here were nothing to write home (or on this blog) about.
Overall rating of Hello 123 brunch: 3/5
Although I enjoyed my meal at Hello 123, it wasn't one of the standout brunch spots I've visited lately. Although I appreciate the all-vegan menu, the flavours they used felt a little too "salad-y" for me (much like Fresh). Although it would be a good option if you're trying to be healthy but still want to indulge a little over brunch, or are looking for a great vegan spot, it's not going to become one of my go-tos.
Hello 123 brunch at a glance:
- Their brunch menu is here
- Good for: small groups
- Entirely vegan food
- Brunch hours:
- 10 am - 4 pm Mon - Fri
- 10 am - 3:30 pm Sat - Sun