When the Waldorf Hotel (1489 East Hastings Street) revamped its weekend brunch this September, the East Van establishment melded the Mexican-minded menu items like huevos rancheros of its previous incarnation with buttermilk hotcakes and other breakfast-table standards. Now, via the newly launched Cereal Bar, the Waldorf has brought on another a.m. idea that it hopes will stay crunchy, even in milk.
Hosted in the hotel’s bamboo-walled Café Nuba, the Cereal Bar boasts a menu of upward of 42 varieties of grain-bred goodness, offering everything from wholesome classics like Cheerios and corn flakes to sugar-spiked servings of Cap’n Crunch and Trix. There are also imported items like Fruity Pebbles, and resident cereal steward Juliana Moore noted that international acquisitions from Europe and even vintage stock are in the works.
Despite the countless choices, availability is subject to change. Recent social-media reports that Boo Berry, available only in the U.S., would make it onto tables brought me out to the Waldorf, but by day two of the Cereal Bar’s opening weekend, the azure-tinted collection of spectre-shaped corn puffs and blueberry-flavoured marshmallows was nowhere to be seen.
Those looking to punch up their regular brunch order can opt for a mini bowl ($3) or indulge themselves fully with a big bowl for another couple of bucks ($5). A more adventurous morning muncher might want to tackle the Big Mix ($6), which flings three different cereals into a palate-expanding, roof-of-the-mouth cutting experience. At $18, the masochistic all-you-can-eat entry, the Cereal Killer, might have even the most extreme sugar junkies rethinking their obsession, though.
My brunchmate and I both selected the Cereal Flight ($8), which serves up three mini bowls of your choice. Essentially a classier take on the Kellogg’s Snack-Pak sampler, your selections arrive on a cutting board armed with a silver spoon and a quarter-litre carafe of milk.
Although traditional moo juice is available, dairy doubters can soak their servings with almond, rice, or soy milk.
My companion ordered Lucky Charms, but a lack of Life and Cinnamon Toast Crunch led her to roll with Apple Jacks and quinoa puffs.
However, the server did apologize for the absent cereals and offered us a free order add-on item. Although an assortment of nuts and fruits were available, decadent chocolate chips garnished the breakfast-time booty.
Because the elusive Boo Berry wasn’t around, I went with a bowl of fellow General Mills ghoulish grain Franken Berry. Curiously also ghost-shaped, these neon-pink bits stole the show with a faux-strawberry flavour and added a fuchsia hue to the soon-to-be-slurped-up sea of almond milk. Cookie Crisp was less impressive, making it a wonder that the Cookie Crook spent the 1980s and ’90s trying to steal some of the barely chocolate-flecked, flavourless discs. I resorted to a crunchy round of granola-heavy Kashi to counter a potential sugar coma.
The Waldorf’s Cereal Bar clearly isn’t haute cuisine, nor is it intended to be. If, however, you’re a morning sugar addict looking to skip pre-meal wait times or a border lineup to get some U.S. breakfast favourites, this quick and fun fix is definitely worth shining your spoon for.