Sadly Closed in 2016 (or 2017?)
9 Stars. AUGUST 17, 2007
UNDERGROUND CAFE. 70 Arthur St. SILPIT BUILDING
from $2.95-$3.25 + coffee & tax.
The Underground Cafe reflects the area it’s in to an extent… very artistic, flamboyant and in an odd place/building. It truly is underground, go through the hobbit-like door as soon as you go through the building’s main doors and you’ll descend into the den of artistry and yummy food. While the clash of colours on the walls may induce seizures in those prone, the wall-to-wall mural is the main attraction. Including such visages as Salvador Dali, Spider-Man ‘twixt some flying chillies. Captain Picard in the grass with lounging frogs and Mr. Toad make for a delightful mishmash of pop culture and forest creatures.
This place is as laid-back as you’d want a restaurant to be. The music is always good and there is plenty of interesting reading materials about. Copies of The Sun were beside issues of Prairie Fire and books of brain teasers. Only about 50% of the chairs have matching mates, the rest being unique. To my knowledge there are no doubles in the coffee cups either. Caffeine possession issues are averted easily in this place.
Now, while the Underground Cafe does not serve up the traditional Breakfast Special that we review, they do serve up “Eckers” (with various prefixes). It’s basically eggs and a meat with cheese on a bagel. The meat is cooked into the egg itself so that the taste seeps in. Very nice. The mayo was a bit heavy so plenty of napkins were required. Our table sampled each type of Ecker: Becker (w/bacon), Checker (w/chicken) and Pecker (w/pickle).
The big surprise was how good the Pecker was (laugh all you want). The pickle is actually put onto the bagel instead of to the side. Nice touch. The sausage version had no cute name, but was tasty regardless. The coffee was tremendous, but not included with the meal. Our bill came with the word “Dragon” written at the top, in script. We are still not sure if it referred to our table or the waiter’s name.
The cafe was not at all busy when we arrived (about 15 minutes before the end of breakfast) but 10 minutes before we left, a deluge of Asian students with a couple of English-speaking guides poured into the café. I got the fear that we would actually drown in Asian people… so to calm myself I created the best band name ever: Asian Asphyxiation.
(I am assuming this would be a death metal band but everyone is wearing Pikachu outfits. Leif)
The only complaint possible for the meal was that there was apparently only one bagel toaster in the kitchen. All five of us ordered bagels (Three of us ordered two of them which turned out to be the perfect amount to fill us) and they came out one at a time. Some of us were done our first one before the others were served. There were five staff working in the kitchen besides the servers, but apparently everybody was prepping for lunch. Could have been quicker; however, we were not short of interesting things to look at while we waited.
Other interesting things to look at in the cafe: plenty of framed b&w photos alongside kitschy trophies/misc on the walls provided endless amusement. The hallway to the bathroom is actually a large area leading to other parts of the building, and for some reason that’s exciting. Some of the staff weren’t too bad to look at either…
Totally unique atmosphere with delicious food. What more could you want? Well, except an actual “Breakfast Special,” but that’s just the way they roll. The general food prep speed could be improved, but you get real quality for your time.