Any other day and I would have walked by this Villa Crespo corner spot, classifying it as just cualquier café. But on this particular stifling Sunday afternoon, my stomach was hot and bothered, and my nose took control, where fresh baked goods led the way into Café Crespin.
A modernized Yanquified style café, Crespín offers the breakfast-lunch-merienda ordeal, with an ample bakery cooking up delicious homemade goodies.
While most great Buenos Aires cafés only offer brunch specials on the weekends or breakfast in the morning, Crespín started the trend to give hungry breakfast lovers some weekday action too with their all day desayuno menu. Think French toast with Aunt Jemima maple syrup, scrambled eggs, panceta, homemade passion fruit yogurt, hot cakes, etc. Each breakfast special comes with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee or tea.
There’s no doubt that the brunch is the main event, and on Saturdays and Sundays Crespín offers two mega brunches.
#1: ‘Clásico’ that includes French toast with salmon or panceta, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, anything from the bakery, coffee or tea and a mimosa or lemonade. It’s meant for one person, but definitely enough for two to share. Hello creamy dreamy eggs. The huevos are cooked just right, low and slow.
But unfortunately panceta didn’t come out as successful: rubbery, squiggly, and not the crispy bacon rashers breakfast dreams are made of.
Brunch #2: ‘Estrellado’ includes two huevos estrellados with hollandaise sauce, two English muffins, smoked ham, hash browns, hot cakes, two items from the bakery, two hot and cold drinks. It’s a mother fucker of a brunch that’s meant for two, but enough for four.
The lunch menu is a bit random, a take on a mixmash of dishes you’d find at various North American restaurants: BBQ pork sandwich, pastrami, chicken quesadillas, “begel” with smoked salmon, and a few salads. I tried the ensalada liviana de pollo, because as you may know, I’m a very healthy and light eater. It had chicken, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg, cucumber, onion and kinda-sorta-almost CHEDDAR CHEESE that wasn’t the nasty queso cheddar so many restaurants claim to offer. But who am I kidding? Skip the salad, sandwiches, and go straight to the brunchfast route.
Moving along to the sweet stuff, the French toast – either with fresh berries and cream or served with maple syrup – are kinda the hotness. A thick brioche bread rammed with fresh blueberries, raspberries and cassis made for a killer sweet morning meal, while eating maple syrup (even if it’s the fake stuff) at any Buenos Aires restaurant is rare and wonderful.
Café Crespín became one of those places where I began planning my next visit before I finished the plate in front of me. Friendly service, a type of food that’s rarely done well, a casual atmosphere, WiFi & outlets, outdoor Villa Crespo seating – it’s one of those go-to neighborhood cafés you want to frequent on a weekly basis whether for a quick coffee merienda or a boozy brunch.
Vera 699 (y Acevedo), Villa Crespo
Tues – Fri: 8am – 8pm, Sat: 9am – 8pm, Sun: 12am – 7pm
Average price: AR$90
***THIS JUST IN! Café Crespín has recently (Oct. 25, 2012) opened up a second restaurant/deli/café on the same block called Don. Think even more Yanqui influenced goodies with coffee to go, bagels and donuts.