When I was a kid, brunch was just a big meal you ate on days when you slept in too late to eat two separate meals before evening. Only as I got older was I introduced to brunch as full-blown institution. More than a meal, it’s a social gathering that celebrates the power of food to bring people together. One of the gems of the Madrid brunch scene is The Toast Café in Chamberí, which offers American brunch staples in a charming setting.
As you walk into The Toast Café, the first thing you notice is the whimsical décor. The cozy space features details like hanging plants, an old typewriter, and a wall covered in empty picture frames. The best spot (if you can grab it) is in the front of the restaurant, where you can enjoy your meal as sunlight floods in through the floor-to-ceiling window. However, all of the tables get plenty of light from small bulbs suspended in mason jars.
This Madrid brunch is a fixed menu (similar to the menu del día you see around the city at lunch time). This menu consists of coffee or tea, fresh orange juice, and two courses, each with a number of different options.
The options for the first course focus on simple, satisfying flavors. You’ll choose between fruit salad, a green salad with strawberry vinaigrette, a croissant with butter and jam, toast with tomato, or pancakes.
We recommend the pancakes, one of their specialties. They come with toppings that include peanut butter and jam, apple compote, or salmon and cream cheese for a savory twist. Each order consists of just one pancake, but don’t be deceived by the size. These are dense and filling. The PB&J is a standout, with unabashedly American dollops of peanut butter and jam. Swirled together atop the pancake, they create one of the ultimate comfort food flavor combos.
For the second course, the dishes are packed with protein and employ more elaborate flavors. Most contain eggs (eggs benedict, huevos rancheros, breakfast burrito), with the exception of the salmon bagel.
The familiar choice is the eggs benedict, a brunch staple. This dish, practically ubiquitous on Madrid brunch menus, can vary in terms of execution. The version at Toast Café features a hollandaise sauce that is creamy, but without the heaviness that often accompanies it. Here, the sauce complements the poached eggs instead of suffocating them. Despite how rich the dish is, there’s a lightness to it – an appealing quality when you’re already on your second course.
The huevos rancheros, on the other hand, pack more of a punch in terms of both flavor. The first thing you see when the plate arrives are the eggs. These are fried sunny-side up to perfection, with crispy bottoms and two runny, golden yolks. Beneath the eggs is a layer of well-seasoned, slightly spicy ground beef mixed with red and green peppers, black beans, and corn. All that protein is layered atop a base of thick, just-fried tortilla chips for an added crunch. Sides of guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream complete the plate with some vibrant colors.
The Toast Café is the place to go on a weekend when you want to eat and eat well. The generous serving sizes ensure that you’ll feel like you ate two meals instead of just one. The tables tend to fill up, so be sure to make a reservation – this is one Madrid brunch that you don’t want to miss.
Address: Fernando El Católico, 50
Metro: Moncloa, Quevedo
Reservations: 915 49 38 02
Here are other Madrid Brunch spot to try after toast!