Tucked in the forearm of Kingsland, our most loved Canadian-come-deli-dealer, Al, has opened the latest addition to his deli domain and rightfully named it, if you hadn't guessed, Al's Deli.
On a bustling Sunday morning, artfully juggling an Uptown Bounce booking and an impending houseguest arrival, my multiple lunch dates and I decide to duck out to grab some nosh. On behalf of the fur friend joining our feeding frenzy, we nabbed a seat in the large covered front area. Entering inside, in search of a menu, I'm hit by a wave of noise. This long, lengthy space was absolutely rammed with humans. The counter, coffee machine and kitchen run down one side and a number of seats down the other. It oozes a rustic homely atmosphere, accompanied by a bright Al's Deli neon light at the end of the, er, sound tunnel.
A friendly staff member eyed me out and promptly reseated me with menus and an offer of coffee - one long black for the pretty one next to me ($4). When she returned with coffee in hand we ordered, starting with my mystery guests - The Plateau on a bagel ($12.50), Nutella and banana Moose Ear ($8.50) and a vanilla shake ($8.00). Then to my actual date and I - The Holy Tabarnak burger ($19), and on the grounds of a wings shortage, the boneless chicken Plateau Bites ($13) and a chocolate shake ($8).
Both vanilla and chocolate shakes arrived proudly topped with cream and a cherry. Our meals arrive shortly after and following a mandatory photo, we all dig in. For our half of the 'battlefield', while mentally noting to never suggest sharing again, the Holy Tabarnak burger was 'evenly' cut for sharing. Consisting of two beef patties, BBQ sauce, cheese smoked bacon and onion rings, it's everything needed for the post-Saturday night blues wrapped in two, dare I say 'solid', white buns. Eventually, I found myself adding table t-sauce for the buns to soak in. The unwanted but willingly suggested Plateau Bites were crispy little morsels served with a sweet and only at the first touch-of-the-tongue spicy sauce.
The Plateau Bagel was toasted, filled with crispy chicken and was visually very appealing. With no complaints from the right side, they seemed happy as Larry. Now, the Moose Ear, that was a Canadian surprise if I've ever seen one. A large, loose interpretation of a doughnut, almost naan bread smeared thick in Nutella and topped with chunks of fresh banana. Damn, it was good.
The newer and cleaner older brother of Al's first OG deli. Make sure you have room for both sweet and savoury.