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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Holiday weekend brunch

Holiday weekend brunch

Finding new brunch appeal in Haile Village

By Melissa Kahan, GLOB Correspondent

HaileBistroSFEver since the closing of my beloved Sisters restaurant in Haile Plantation, its big-as-my-plate omelets, perfectly poached eggs, and savory baked breakfast goods luring in all who dine, I have been skeptical but hopeful as to whether another establishment could take its place. I was more than satisfied with the Jones Eastside brunch, but of course it has also closed, leaving an even bigger whole in my heart for a consistently tasty, locally-owned brunch joint for my treasured weekends off of work. Some chains are certainly up for the task: Peach Valley Café regularly leaves me yearning for their hot and fresh apple fritters and extremely tasty Picker's Skillet with the best breakfast potatoes I have ever consumed. However, I have been checking out local joints one by one for one that could fit the brunch bill.

A friend suggested brunch on Saturday, and anyone who has read my other reviews knows I can never say no to a brunch outing. I was intrigued when Erin mentioned Haile Village Bistro tucked away in Haile Plantation on the same street as the late Sisters. I could not shake the hope that this small bistro and brunch spot could possibly be the new Haile go-to.

haileDINING

On arrival at about 10:45 on a Saturday morning, I was expecting a long wait as Haile Farmers Market patrons were bustling along the street parallel to the bistro. Instead, I was greeted with available indoor and outdoor patio seating, plus, outside the front doors, there was a live band entertaining diners and market-goers.  Although the daunting grey skies did not scream "nice day," I am an advocate for outdoor seating and live music when possible, so I took to a small patio table in earshot of the band. By the time Erin joined me, it started sprinkling, and we quickly huddled indoors to find the quaintest little dining room area attached to the Queens Arm Pub where many a FIFA game has been watched.

haileFRIENDI wanted a warm beverage, so I ordered one of the drink specials: Godiva white chocolate, coffee, and some Baileys for good measure. I wish the drink had been a little hotter when I got it, but the almost 10-minute wait time for it and my friend's Cuban coffee indicated that the drinks had probably been sitting for a while before making their way to us.

We scanned the menu, brunch fare ranging from the typical pancakes or waffles (combo) and breakfast sandwiches to less ordinary items like the Irish Benedict with corned beef hash. To my delight, each week a brunch special menu provides unique, one-time-only options. I was beyond delighted to see two of the items in particular: Red Velvet Pancakes (!) and the Winter Omelet Soufflé. Being the ideal dining companion, Erin agreed to split the two limited-edition dishes with me.

haileOmelet I could not have been happier to see the food. The omelet was everything I want in a unique omelet. The sausage provided a hearty contrast to the crisp, very distinguishable texture and taste of kale. I wished there had been more cheddar and Gouda cheeses--I like to see cheese oozing or stretching across my plate after removing each bite. While I am not usually a fan of onion reels (thin spirals of onion), they proved a flavorful, sporadic addition to the omelet, while the scalloped potatoes that lined the bottom melded perfectly with the kale and cheeses. The side order of hash browns was pretty good, not too mushy and with an outer crisp, but nothing to write home about.

haileREDdessertOn to the pancakes: While I do not ordinarily opt for a predominantly sweet meal, aside from dessert, a half order proved the perfect amount of sweetness alongside my omelet half. I think the thought of something being red velvet makes it seem more exotic, but its red color is merely from a dye. Honestly, without the sinfully sweet cream cheese frosting nestled between each of the three layers of pancake, it wouldn't have tasted remarkably different then a slightly chocolate flavor pancake. However, the frosting was absolutely delicious, and I could have put that on any breakfast baked good and called it a day.

While the service was pretty slow and the water refills were sparse, it was a charming dining area with a very decent brunch menu. The ingredients tasted fresh, and it did remind me a tad of Sisters, but that could have been due to the scenery shared by both Haile Bistro and Sisters. I will certainly be back to try more of these brunch items, specials specifically, as well as the English Afternoon Tea the restaurant hosts on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. Any takers?

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Standard prices, sizeable portions, good food and fresh ingredients, cute indoor atmosphere, nice outdoor entertainment/scenery, unique specials, does typical breakfast items and specialty ones well.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: limited parking during busy times, Haile is a tad out of the way, slower service.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

English bistro lunch was 'a bit of alright'

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

The Village Shopping Plaza in the Haile Plantation subdivision is not in my usual navigation circle. So I was excited about meeting my UF Entomology & Nematology friends Jane Medley and Kathy Milne at the Haile Village Bistro for lunch late last week,

HAILEwindowThis neighborhod shopping plaza is the perfectly planned village center of narrow streets, side walks, and store fronts depicting an era that time has swept away.

The Haile Vilage Bistro fits this neighborhood style to a tee. The HVB creates an old English pub experience complete with fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and an assortment of European beers.

This bistro/pub is divided into two areas with a friendly, bright dining area replete with large windows suitable for viewing what is happening in the village. The pub part of the HVB is a cozy bar suitable for conversation over your favorite dark beer, stout, or ale that any pub-meister would appreciate. Did I just say pub-meister? Maybe I should have said bistro-meister.

The HVB dining room is nicely appointed with ample available light from the large windows around the perimeter of the room. We picked a table near a window that lured us into ideas of being a part of what was happening in the village outside, as we were lunching inside.

Caught up in the sense of dining on another continent, the English-themed lunch entrees caught our attention. Salad Olivieh, the aforementioned Fish and Chips and Steak & Kidney Pie tantalized our sense of being natives of that village we imagined we were part of.

Timeout: I was just checking the online HVB menu to verify some lunchtime information, when I noticed the online menu does not mention any of the English entrees. Well, the GLOB Master is mentioning them for your future eating out consideration.

BistroJANcruditiesWe started our lunch adventure with an order of hummus that was served with pita bread, carrots, celery, and black olives. The black olives were the 'most valuable player' in this appetizer. The tart, spicy flavor of the olives added tremendous flavor to the hummus.

HAILElunchI ended up picking the more American Steak and Cheese Sub for lunch, The sandwich consisted of ample portions of flavorful steak, onions and melted cheese that had great texture and flavor: It was a good sandwich. photo at top of this feature.

Kathy's quiche looked very appetizing, Jane's Fish and Chips was large enough that all three of us could have lunched on her entree.

HaileFISHJane's fish was fried to perfection. Ms. Medley smartly included a healthy dash of malt vinegar to the fish to pump up the flavor level and bring the white fish filet to life.

With 3 very satisfying meals testifying to consistent quality, if I lived in Haile, I could see me visiting this bistro/pub regularly.

BistroJANesfA a trip back to the HVB with an English pal of mine to get his take on the authenticity of the HVB is on my bucket list. Of course, that perspective would be taken with the accompaniment of a good number of English stout, porter and/or ale.

The Pluses and Minuses of Haile Village Bistro:

Haile Village Bistro + indicators: Ambience, setting and friendly environment.

Haile Village Bistro - indicators: This neighborhood bistro/pub is convenient for the Haile residents. Living outside of Haile makes this trip less practical.

Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Haile Village Bistro .  Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments.  - THANKS!

Last modified onMonday, 16 December 2019 12:05
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