Last Saturday we thought we would treat ourselves to a “green brunch” and by that I mean a healthy meal made of locally sourced ingredients in a restaurant which prides itself on being kind to the environment. “You can park by the orange fence,” we were told as we looked for parking in an industrial area on Lois Street in Norwalk, Connecticut. A former factory turned brunch-haven, Sugar & Olives is a restaurant which has no signboard. Just a glass door framed with a flaming orange border which leads you to a cozy nook with an open kitchen and friendly faces.
Jennifer Balin, who owns the place, has been offering cooking classes and serving fine food on tables made of recycled wood for the past three years. She says she has been meaning to put up that signboard but never got around to it. I asked her about the eggs, the honey, the cheese and she said she buys local as much as possible. But of course, it is not possible to be hundred percent local when you run a restaurant, there are things like lemons and limes which one cannot get around here, so that’s when you have to do the next best thing, that is, buy organic.
We tried the skillet pancake with lemon curd, the lumberjack special (two cast iron eggs, nutmegged soft polenta, scallops, lime hollandaise), rolled eggs (stuffed with roasted tomato, womanchego and mushroom confit), and the twin duck eggs in a brioche basket with potato and veggie hash. Also ordered were plain coffees and fruity smoothies. If you are wondering about womanchego, it is a younger manchego made from cows’ milk provided by Cato Corner Farm in Colchester, Connecticut.
If I could change one thing about Sugar & Olives, I would make the rolled eggs more filling with all the good stuff they have in their stylishly stocked kitchen. The one thing I would go back for is the pancake. Soft and fluffy, the taste lingered even after a sip of the Gorilla coffee. And the reason I would be willing to spend an entire day there are the staggering piles of cookbooks and a lesson or two in the art of creative cooking by Jennifer herself.