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Reserved fare for modest brunchers

Bankers Hill's remodeled Royal Cafe expands breakfast menu with some lighter options.

Quark pancakes
Quark pancakes
Place

Royal Cafe

3401 First Avenue, San Diego

The doorway between the Royal Cafe and the Royal Food Mart in Hillcrest disappeared during the recent remodel. In its place, a bigger menu materialized, replete with more substantial breakfast items (about $6-$10), and some small plates for later in the day. The “Grand Opening” flag still flies out front, and the Hillcrest brunch crowd hasn’t yet descended en masse.

Rather than mimicking the grotesque brunch platters of other neighborhood hotspots, Royal’s tiny kitchen turns out reserved fare, in human-sized portions, with a touch of inventiveness.

A trio of pancakes made with Quark (a British semi-liquid cheese) isn’t the sleep-inducing carb-bomb it might be. The sweet, dense cakes come topped with chopped fruit and a drizzle of syrup.

Quinoa porridge

Quinoa porridge, boiled in coconut milk and lightly sweetened, is fair competition for more conventional oatmeal. The Royal’s scrambled egg breakfast includes a light vegetable ratatouille in place of potatoes, and a modest portion of toasted baguette.

Despite the refreshing modesty of the Royal’s brunch, it’s the compelling tea selection that catches the eye. Quirky, off-color names for teas (Hipsters in Wonderland, Bi-Curious George, et. al.) make light of clever blending by the T-We tea company; whose penchant for adding coffee beans to more traditional tea preparations is not to be overlooked! Tea this good can make a breakfast.

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Quark pancakes
Quark pancakes
Place

Royal Cafe

3401 First Avenue, San Diego

The doorway between the Royal Cafe and the Royal Food Mart in Hillcrest disappeared during the recent remodel. In its place, a bigger menu materialized, replete with more substantial breakfast items (about $6-$10), and some small plates for later in the day. The “Grand Opening” flag still flies out front, and the Hillcrest brunch crowd hasn’t yet descended en masse.

Rather than mimicking the grotesque brunch platters of other neighborhood hotspots, Royal’s tiny kitchen turns out reserved fare, in human-sized portions, with a touch of inventiveness.

A trio of pancakes made with Quark (a British semi-liquid cheese) isn’t the sleep-inducing carb-bomb it might be. The sweet, dense cakes come topped with chopped fruit and a drizzle of syrup.

Quinoa porridge

Quinoa porridge, boiled in coconut milk and lightly sweetened, is fair competition for more conventional oatmeal. The Royal’s scrambled egg breakfast includes a light vegetable ratatouille in place of potatoes, and a modest portion of toasted baguette.

Despite the refreshing modesty of the Royal’s brunch, it’s the compelling tea selection that catches the eye. Quirky, off-color names for teas (Hipsters in Wonderland, Bi-Curious George, et. al.) make light of clever blending by the T-We tea company; whose penchant for adding coffee beans to more traditional tea preparations is not to be overlooked! Tea this good can make a breakfast.

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Comments
1

T-We I tried the coffee teas. Me gusta.

Dec. 4, 2014

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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