March 2, 2019: “A new brunch place uptown!!!” is a phrase that gets everyone excited because it is true. “It’s about time that Markham/Richmond Hill has more good brunch spots” is another common phrase after discovering that Elephant Coffee Grind has opened. 😛
Natalie and I visited Elephant Coffee Grind after our Zumba class to the thrill of waiting in line for a table. Luckily, Natalie arrived just before I did and had put her name on the waiting list while I was looking for a parking spot. (The parking spots at this plaza are plentiful but it might mean that if the spots near the restaurant are full, you might have to circle around to the back to find one.) We were here just after 12 p.m., the prime time for people to awake from their restful Saturday lie-ins and come out for brunch (don’t come during this time because your wait time will be about 30 to 45 minutes — especially if you don’t like waiting). Luckily again though, we were a party of two and the second table on the list to be called (the rest on the list were party of four’s). We were able to get a table after about 30 minutes of waiting in total.
This place is similar to Alchemy Coffee in Markham where you pay first for your meal and then get served (but at least you can get a table first). I ordered the Chicken & Waffles (I had heard great things about it from Priscilla) while Natalie ordered the Elephant Grind Sandwich and an iced coffee. We paid at the counter and received a number to display on our table so that our orders would be served to us.
The servers here were pleasant and easy-going. It didn’t take too long for our food to arrive and I was so happy with the presentation, portion, and taste!
The Chicken & Waffles was a giant portion! I was super hungry from Zumba and the wait and surprisingly finished everything on my plate. There were three large boneless pieces of fried chicken on top of the thick Belgian style waffles. The chicken pieces were lightly seasoned and had a light batter. I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t fatty or oily at all and was an amazing piece of chicken both when eaten together with the waffles or by itself. The accompanying maple syrup and spicy aioli were the perfect complements!
We both complimented the house salad as it wasn’t overly saturated with dressing but yet each leaf of the salad was adequately seasoned and well dressed. It was a light vinaigrette and was perfect to open up my appetite again during the mid-point of the meal when the fried chicken was starting to get slightly heavy.
Natalie said she enjoyed her Elephant Grind Sandwich. It was made with house char siu pulled pork, pickled veggies, cucumber, gochujang, tofu & goat cheese emulsion, and arugula. I found these ingredients to be very Korean fusion style which is unique.
I already know I want to come back to try more of their brunch items. For example, the Smoked Salmon & Yuzu Avocado Spread Eggs Benedict, Ricotta Pancakes, Lap Cheong Hash, and Frittatas are all items I want to try on my next visit (in that order). 😀
I really liked the relaxed environment of this restaurant, the generous portions and quality taste of the food, and the reasonable prices (average price is $13 to $15, which is commonplace and not pricey at all). There are no reservations allowed. Seating is first-come-first served, so again, make sure you arrive early to avoid the busy line-ups! There were people lining up for a table from the time we arrived to when we left at around 2 p.m.
Also, we found out from one of the servers (who asked the owner for us) that their namesake comes from the owner’s son whose favourite animal are elephants! (And the “grind” part just comes from grinding coffee beans). Such a cute meaning behind the restaurant’s name! 🙂 I hope this place continues to do well. We uptown foodies really could use more of these nice restaurants.