By Michael Lowe
On a busy weekend it’s easy to skip the most important meal of the day. But there is a place that I’m sure will convince you never to do so again.
Tucked away in a tiny strip mall, Diner House 29 shares a busy corner with a variety store and gas station. Unless you’re there when they open you can expect to wait for a table.
Once inside, it’s like you’re back in grandma’s kitchen. Gleaming chrome and bright colours of tables and chairs from the ’50s and ’60s lend a homey feel to this quaint, bustling diner. But Diner House 29 is more than flashy colours and your basic bacon, eggs, toast and coffee.
Take, for example, the diner’s Black Bomber Quiche (below photo). It’s a crust-less version, the light and airy eggs brimming with the freshness of leeks and herbs and a rich core of aged cheddar. Seasoning and balance of flavours is in perfect harmony. We opted for the spinach pesto and bacon over the alternative offerings — maple-bacon jam and honey-garlic sausage – ours were good choices, but I doubt you could really go wrong.
There are many features at the diner including their breakfast bowls. The Veg Chili Molé (below photo) will entice any non-vegetarian to rethink this meatless eating discipline. It’s a hearty satisfying dish loaded with a bean-based chili, layered with crisp tostadas, chipotle black bean salsa, and creamy guacamole. These layers of deliciousness are then topped off with two fried eggs, more savoury chili and crumbled goat cheese.
These are some serious eats — not run-of-the-mill, greasy spoon grub — showing the hallmarks of high-end dishes prepared by a passionate chef. The diner is owned by husband and wife team Dave and Anne House. Dave keeps the wheels turning in the kitchen while Anne runs the front of the house and serves customers. I was so impressed by the overall experience of our first visit, and the fact that they also serve lunch, that I immediately planned a return trip.
Round two at the diner is equally impressive. On the menu, the lamb kefta bowl humbly states that two poached eggs are just one of the features of this amazing combo of Lebanese spiced ground lamb, Basmati rice, stewed tomatoes, feta cheese and yogurt. But just look at the beautiful presentation of those eggs (above photo). A crunchy breaded coating serves as a sort of surrogate eggshell, which you can “crack” open and drizzle that natural sauce over the whole.
I’m a sucker for pork bellies — any way, anywhere, any time — so something billed as the “Belly of the Beast” (above photo) is bound to get my attention. A thick slice, with a perfect fat-to-lean ratio, rests on a toasted bagel bun topped with two fried eggs. What makes this sandwich special is the habanero jelly, crunchy bread and butter pickles and Monterey Jack cheese. For the potato side dish, you can’t go wrong with the golden brown potato wedges.
Diner House 29 is, without a doubt, one of the best breakfast/brunch/lunch options around.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, they serve breakfast from 7:30 to 10:55 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Average price for two will be in the $30- $35 range, but well worth every penny. Service is prompt and efficient and the place just feels like home. Check out the web link below for menu, contact information.
Diner House 29
431 Welland Ave.,