Bonjour, mes amis! Earlier this year, the French-inspired Café Cancale opened in the heart of Wicker Park, and I am happy to say they recently started serving brunch. So – of course – my boyfriend, Alex, and I had to check it out. The restaurant sits directly on one of the corners of the six point intersection with blue and white striped awnings. The ocean-hued blues continue inside the establishment, with cute booth and hightop seating. The lower half of the windows are covered with a sheer fabric that provide some privacy from the busy intersection while still allowing light to stream through. I have to say, One Off Hospitality did a great job making me feel like I was on the French seaside.
Alex and I began with coffee and tea while we waited for our cocktails. Café Cancale has several teas to choose from (the usual black, herbal, oolong, green), and I went with oolong, which came out in a mini glass teapot. I was pleasantly surprised to find they use loose leaf tea here, and it tasted lovely. I opted for a classic mimosa, served in a stemless wine glass and made perfectly with more bubbly than orange juice. Alex went with “the blinker,” a raspberry and whiskey cocktail served in a frosted highball glass with a bamboo straw. You’d never know it was a whiskey drink from its pale pink color and raspberry-garnished presentation, but it packs a punch and was so good; they did a great job marrying the whiskey and fruity flavors together.
Obviously, when at a French restaurant, you have to have something from the raw bar. Café Cancale offers a rotating selection of oysters that you can buy individually, but they also offer a “chef’s selection,” which is a great deal for six or twelve oysters. My chef’s selection of six oysters came with a good mix of east and west coast varieties with lemon wedges and mignonette sauce to drizzle on top. I tend to prefer east coast oysters and those were definitely better in my book, but the oyster from Compass, WA was also fantastic. Honestly, I would have ordered any of them again. If you’re really just here for the oysters and cocktails (and we wouldn’t blame you), Café Cancale has a happy hour from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. with $1 oysters and $7 martinis!
For his entrée, Alex ordered the steak frites. Café Cancale prepares this dish by the book, meaning his steak was very rare. So make sure to specify how the steak should be cooked if you want it cooked differently. That’s not to say the dish wasn’t excellent. The perfect amount of salt and herbs were used on this dish and the fries were reasonably crispy, making this an enjoyable dish for Alex.
I chose the galette complète for my meal, which is a buckwheat crêpe with ham, cheese, caramelized onions, egg, and dijon folded inside. This dish doesn’t photograph especially well, but it was delicious; much more flavorful that I thought it would be. Juices seep out of the crêpe as you cut into it. It was a little odd that each ingredient was in its own little section of the galette. I found myself mixing it up myself as I ate it. I loved the addition of the truffle dijon. That – with the savory ham and sweet onions – gave it the big flavor I wasn’t expecting.
The Bitches Say: Four Champagne Flutes!
Café Cancale provides a casual yet sophisticated ambiance and menu, making it a great option for brunch in Wicker Park!
Café Cancale serves brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.