THE BUZZ: Quietly located in Post Alley, Cafe Campagne has no right to be so unassuming. Between the food, drink and ambiance, nothing short of center stage is good enough for the French eatery.
The menu boasts French classics but also a few abbreviations for the uninitiated. This notion is easily spotted on the friendly lunch menu stoked with both open- and closed-faced sandwiches, some complete with fried egg and most with France’s version of slim, fried potatoes.
Even simpler, they offer two items that I feel hesitant to call a combo — but alas, with one comes the other. I speak of the Prie Fixe, which starts with the soup of the day (my cream of cauliflower was smooth and unobtrusive) and ends with an epic niçoise salad stacked with St. Jule’s tuna, haricots verts (French green beans), olive tapenade, anchovies and plenty more. Personally, I went for a personal favorite — the cassoulet. It appeared to me in an orange pot being labouringly carried by the lunch bartender. My keep, forearms flexed, placed the steaming cassoulet on a preset napkin and spooned the first helpings onto my plate for me. The dish was already a treat, and I hadn’t even taken a bite yet. All that was left was for me to get after it, and it wasn’t hard with duck meat falling off the bone simply by gravitational forces. The French stew was toasty and the flavors were a perfect meld of its featured proteins: The already mentioned duck confit, pork shoulder, lamb and garlic sausage. All these surrounded by sensitive white beans, and you have yourself the perfect lunch, and then mid-afternoon snack, and then breakfast with a fried egg, as advised by my new lunch bartender.
To find your peace with France, swing by Le Campagne on Post Alley and Pine.