Brunch at The Cheeky Neighbour Diner
The Cheeky Neighbour
6024 Quinpool Rd, Halifax
The Cheeky Neighbour replaced Relish Gourmet Burgers late last year when owner Drew Voegeli decided to rebrand the last remaining bastion of the now-extinct franchise.
The new concept is a “modern diner” with tweaked classics.
“Oh, yay! It’s actually a diner,” remarked The Side Dish as we approached. Refurbished diner seats, pastels, wood, and whim. It is exactly that: a modern diner.
As I write this, The Cheeky Neighbour is still in its post-lockdown reopening phase. The menu has been reduced to three breakfast options and four dinner options, with two additional “brunch” (read: Hollandaise) dishes Friday to Sunday. But I am told that they will be changing the menu very shortly, and that a full and fun daily brunch (10AM-3PM) is on the way!
We decided to try the two weekend-only brunch classics, which will be on the new daily menu when it launches.
The Side Dish ordered the “Eggs Benji” with house sausage ($13.99) which is served on a sourdough roll with a side of house hash.
The first bites were magic. A thick, bright hollandaise sauce complimented the spice profile of the sausage. The Side Dish deliberated over the merits of the sauce (was it too custard-like?), but had no complaints about the taste, which she described as “very rich, fresh and flavourful”. She pierced the yolk, which oozed into the medley of flavours and textures with its silky seduction. This was a real good benny.
The only complaint we had was that the sausage juices made the sourdough rolls soggy, especially the second one to be addressed, having had more time to sit and soak. The Side Dish wondered if the sausage could have been patted down a bit before placement. Also, her second egg had continued cooking a bit, so the yolk wasn’t as creamy. It was a fall from paradise, but despite these faults, The Side Dish was quite pleased with her meal and has vowed to return for the burger.
I am told that The Cheeky Neighbour has been experimenting with different benny bottoms, so you will probably see a different base in the coming weeks.
I ordered the Breakfast Skillet ($12.99): house hash, cheese, tomato, onion, kale, sunnyside eggs, green onion, hollandaise, chipotle mayo. You can throw on bacon or sausage for $2.49. I did not.
The main thing I worry about when ordering skillets at “modern” restaurants is that the potatoes will be big and chunky. It’s a classic example of form over function. Sure, it look good in your Instagram photo, but my mouth has a difference of opinion! Therefore, I’m happy to report that the hashbrowns at The Cheeky Neighbour are flawless! A small hand-cut hash, crispy and spiced to perfection, you’ll want to snarf them off your plate! (I was also concerned when I saw that they snuck sweet potato into the mix, but the sweeter, softer tubers were tastefully applied).
The hashbrowns were the star of the show, but they had a great supporting cast. Tomatoes and onions provided depth, while the chipotle mayo kicked things up a notch. The kale was a welcomed diversion, robust and earthy, while the Hollandaise, rather than smothering the dish, was daintily applied. I thought the dish was well balanced, but others might find the Hollandaise somewhat lacking.
When ordering, I was asked if I was okay with the default sunnyside eggs. I like sunnyside eggs, and they make better photographs. But given the option I might request poached eggs next time to maximize the yolk factor.
The masterpiece was complete once I unleashed the runny yolks and painted the delicious mess with hot sauce. I’d give it an 8.5 out of 10. Would order again. Will return.