School: Peanut Butter Pancakes in Homeroom
70 Fraser Avenue, Liberty Village, Toronto, ON
As far as theme restaurants go, School in Liberty Village pulls it off in a whimsical and clever way without being cheesy and without compromising food quality.
True to the restaurant theme, the waitresses are dressed in short, plaid skirts, the drinks are served in science lab beakers, and the dining room is decorated with classroom items: papers are pinned to the ceiling lights, a blackboard is on display, the side brick wall is covered with plain round school gym clocks. Our menus were written on three-hole punch loose leaf paper. We sat at the bar and the bartender was wearing a sweater vest over a white collared shirt and his reading glasses were worn around his neck on a strap. I thought I was in English class. When we asked what kind of scones were available that day, he put on the glasses to look across the dining room to the pastry display case. I couldn’t tell if he was playing the part or if he really needed those glasses. Nonetheless, I was getting major flashbacks of high school. The ambiance at School is that of the cool high school that you always heard about but it wasn’t the one you actually attended. It was the school that you’d cut class to visit, where there always seemed to be a party going on and no one actually went to class.
Since we were seated at the bar, we drooled over some pretty delicious-looking smoothies that the bartender made out of fresh juices. He noticed us watching and gave us a few samples of the mango, orange and pineapple smoothie that everyone seemed to be ordering. I was particularly amused that the samples were served up in mini beakers. We were won over upon first sip and ordered a full size smoothie to enjoy. The sweet and tart drink was the perfect start for brunch.
A friend recommended the scones here but as soon as I saw the brunch menu, I was instantly drawn to the peanut butter pancakes.
The actual pancakes were fluffy and moist, the perfect sponges for that sweet and sticky peanut butter. The peanut butter was not as overly sticky as the topping on my chocolate peanut butter waffle at Waffle Window, School’s peanut butter topping was lighter and runnier. The pancakes were amazing, the peanut butter topping was like eating ten Reese peanut butter cup middles, the nutty sweet and salty peanut butter was ultimately comforting and perfect for a freezing cold day.
The other amazing component of this dish were the deep fried bananas, covered in a crunchy crust of cinnamon sugar, the bananas were so soft, moist and sweet. This dish was so simple, yet so decadent. I now have daily cravings for it.
We did end up ordering a scone: the blueberry, white chocolate chip scone. It was so fluffy and buttery inside we had to share it. The tart berries were offset by that creamy, rich and sweet white chocolate.
I can’t wait to revisit School in the summer when the patio is open and summer fruits are incorporated into their menu. Until then, I highly recommend the peanut butter pancakes and blueberry scones.