Brunching in Philadelphia: Cafe Estelle

May 2012

A friend sent me this list based on my predilection for brunching. When brainstorming my goals for Memorial Day weekend, three points earned Cafe Estelle a spot on my list:

1.  Cafe Estelle serves brunch on Saturdays.
2.  According to the cafe’s website, they were voted “Best of Philly: Best Brunch.” (Not that I live my life according to ratings and lists, but I do take them into consideration).
3.  The cafe focuses on local, sustainable and organic ingredients as much as possible.

Thus, we found ourselves outside a gated apartment building parking lot on a sunny Saturday in Philly. The locale and facade are not major selling forces for the cafe, nor was the interior brimming with style, but it did offer a few worthy accents.

Cafe Estelle
444 N 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Neighborhoods: Spring Garden, Northern Liberties

Cream Cheese Walnut Sticky Bun
Cream cheese, walnuts, brown sugar, warm cream cheese icing

We spied the remains of one of these monstrous rolls on another table, and those remains were enough to convince us to order our own.  This cinnamon roll was more like cake rolled around itself either because the roll was still very warm and hadn’t set yet or possibly because some woman named Estelle had a very different idea of what a cinnamon roll should be.  Either way, it was a pleasant enough sweet treat for an indulgent morning, but it wasn’t exactly what one would expect when ordering a “cinnamon roll” and therefore, slightly disappointing.

The perk of the self-serve coffee was the variety of options.  I chose a Costa Rican variety for my pretty floral mug.

Strawberry, Rhubarb and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
Rhubarb compote and Warm maple syrup

Colossal!  These stacks of French toast were impressively colossal, and the filling was so secretly piped into the center, it was almost magical.  I would have sacrificed some size in exchange for more rhubarb compote and a fresher filling.  The cream cheese filling tasted a bit too runny, as if it had been cut with a strawberry flavored yogurt.  This brunch entree was still worthy of repeated forkfuls, even excessive forkfuls, but again, it didn’t quite live up to the appeal of its description.

Eggs Juan
Poached eggs, salt cod brandade fritters, smoked paprika-tomato hollandaise with homefries and toast

These eggs were just as good as the description!  I’m not sure who Juan is, but I highly recommend his spicy, creamy eggs over fishy fritters!

Overall, I didn’t walk away disappointed, but I probably wouldn’t make a point of returning.

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