Restaurant review: Creative pancakes can be found at Syrup and Eggs
If you are going to
> Where: Syrup and Eggs, 4501 St. Elmo Avenue.
> Hours: 7 am-2pm Fridays, 9 am-3pm Saturday Sunday
> Prices: $ 1.50 for an egg to $ 10 for the “Break-an-Egg” lettuce salad.
> Alcohol: No
> Phone: 423-600-9595
> Website: www.facebook.com/SyrupandEggsTN
If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Syrup and Eggs breakfast / brunch spot has already written a classic novel. Succulent photographs on social networks of his pancake creations not found elsewhere made me salivate long before I stepped in the door.
This cute little restaurant opened last year in the historic Saint-Elme fire station. They’ve retained the original brickwork and beautiful wood and glass doors in the truck bay, and the blue-gray walls are adorned with an eclectic mix of old and new artwork. There are 10 mismatched tables of varying sizes, each with jugs of syrup and raw sugar, creamer bowls, and pairs of vintage salt and pepper shakers. A large table hanging on the wall details the daily specials. The room is quite small, but the tables aren’t crowded and the high ceilings give it an airy feel.
An added bonus for spring: I saw on her Facebook page last week that a patio should open up to the front, a welcome addition for busy weekend mornings.
The menu is divided into three sections plus sides: mostly eggs, pancakes, and take out snacks.
Most eggs include a plate of grit ($ 8), egg tart ($ 7.50), and a cookie and gravy ($ 6.50) which can be made with sausage sage or whatever. I heard is a delicious mushroom and thyme sauce. The “Break-an-Egg” Lettuce Salad ($ 10) is near the top of my try list next time around. Arugula and butter lettuce are topped with poached egg, pickled onions, tomatoes, sunflower seed granola, goat cheese, olive oil and candied lemon. I love menus that offer something beyond the basics, and this is a perfect example of how Syrup and Eggs embodies that idea.
For snacks, there’s a cookie, a cookie, and bread, but the Everything Bagel ($ 4.75) is another must-have for me, sparking my interest in its cream cheese, apricot jam toppings. , jalapenos and rainbow nuggets.
The pancake-of-the-day menu includes a sweet option and a savory option, which can change seasonally, and there’s a special stack of the day. Right now, you can choose the Orange You Glad It’s a Poppy Pancake ($ 9) or the Blue Cornmeal “Taco” Pancakes ($ 8.25). The citrus poppy seed cakes are topped with blueberry butter and sweet chili sunflower seeds. Savory cakes look like cornbread pancakes topped with a poached egg, pickled peppers, cream, cilantro, and a maple pico.
The special stacks live up to their name, with unique combinations served in a three-cake tall tower. The cakes aren’t huge, but they are really thick and substantial. Past creations include: Chocolate coated cherry pancakes with hazelnut crunch and honey whipped mascarpone; pineapple inverted pancakes with cinnamon pecans, brown sugar caramel and a touch of cherries and vanilla salt; and carrot cake pancakes with cashew cream, ginger syrup and toasted coconut. I think you can see what I mean by special.
I was laser focused on the pancakes before I even got there, but choosing from my three options was harder than I imagined. Syrups and Eggs declared Friday its vegan day, so the special stacks every Friday are still animal free.
I don’t usually go vegan, but the option that day called me: Chai Tea Pancakes with Orange Cinnamon Syrup and Maple Cashew Cream ($ 9.50). The waiter encouraged me to try the special, explaining that the pancakes were made with mashed bananas instead of oil and eggs, and cashew cream instead of butter.
I followed his advice and was blown away by the lovely plate served to me. The chai pancakes were denser and fluffier than the typical pancakes, but the flavor was wonderfully spicy. The cinnamon orange syrup drizzled over half of my stack was sweet but lighter than regular syrup. The orange flavor burst out and was the perfect complement to the lightly sweet maple cashew cream of the other half. I’ve never had cashew cream before (it’s made from raw cashews soaked in water, then blended to a whipped consistency). In short: phenomenal – mellow and decadent with a hint of maple. Is it weird to say that I would go back to a restaurant just for their cashew cream? Because I totally would.
My friend ordered the Egg Pie Special of the Day ($ 7.50), with a side of chorizo ($ 3.75). The farmhouse egg tart, nestled in a solid, flaky crust, was perfectly made and in one bite you could clearly taste the roasted peppers, white cheddar and pesto. The chorizo was a link sausage that tasted fresh with not too much spice. Both dishes required a moment of silence and eyes closed to savor the first bite.
Our server was helpful, offering advice and explaining the menu. She looked after us, but seemed to expect us to prefer a quiet meal. If you are the type who goes out immediately after you finish eating, you may need to report someone for your check-up. I wouldn’t have thought twice if I had been out for brunch on Saturday or Sunday rather than breakfast before work on Friday.
The syrup and eggs were as good as I had hoped. I’ve already made a habit of keeping an eye on their Facebook and Instagram feeds at the end of each week to see what the next spectacular pancake creation will be. I predict this place is going to be hard to resist.
Contact Sara Jackson at [email protected] or 423-757-6594.