Mousse Café &Bakeshop
1 Monument Way, Portland
Breakfast served all day. Those four little words — so simple, and yet so meaningful.
All-day breakfasts are typically offered at greasy spoons and international pancake houses out by the mall. So it was with no small amount of joy that I discovered an ungreasy eatery, right smack in the middle of downtown Portland, that cheerfully serves a delicious sit-down breakfast well into the afternoon.
With my wife and our 6-year-old daughter in tow, I visited Mousse Café & Bakeshop in Monument Square on a recent Sunday morning. We were ushered to a table right away — it was 9:30 a.m.; we were the first patrons of the day — and served hot, freshly brewed Wicked Joe coffee in mugs that would be refilled promptly and repeatedly throughout the morning. We scanned the menu. Homemade granola with milk ($5.50), huevos rancheros ($8.99), corned beef hash with two eggs and toast ($8.99), and an assortment of muffins and scones ($2 each) all jockeyed for our attention.
I ultimately decided to create my own omelet of bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms and gruyere cheese ($9.98, including 99 cents for the fourth ingredient). Enormous, generously stuffed and expertly cooked, the omelet kept me sated and elated until dinnertime. Outstanding red-potato homefries, grilled crisp and not the least bit greasy, were just the sidekick this dish was looking for.
From the specials board, my wife ordered one of her favorites, Eggs Florentine ($9.99). She couldn’t have been happier with her plate of large, pillowy English muffins topped with perfectly poached eggs, sautéed spinach and a light, lemony, homemade hollandaise sauce. But at the risk of gilding the lily, she also got a half order of biscuits and gravy ($3). I’ve never been drawn to sausage gravy — which is usually a gloppy, greasy, salty heart attack on a plate — but I have to admit this was a pretty good rendition. Neither too heavy nor too salty, it was more like a minor infarction than a full-fledged coronary episode.
My daughter ordered the vanilla-scented challah French toast ($7.99) and kindly offered me a morsel no bigger than a book of matches. I greedily dunked it in maple syrup — yes, the real stuff, the kind that comes from trees — and immediately started pleading for a second bite. (I eventually got one, for the cost of a couple homefries.) Lightly crisp on the outside, moist and custardy on the inside, with just the slightest hint of vanilla, this was some of the best French toast I’ve had in ages. After polishing off both slices, my daughter also ate the small bowlful of fresh fruit included with her meal, and then finished the rest of my sourdough toast (dipped in syrup, of course — that’s my girl).
Mousse has been open about two years, and I regret not eating there sooner. I assure you I will be returning to Monument Square for breakfast in the near future, no matter what time of day the mood strikes.
— Dan Zarin
Mousse Café & Bakeshop is open Mon.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m, Sat. 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sun. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.