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Last weekend, I discovered the best French toast in L.A. at Michelin-starred chef John Fraser’s Ardor restaurant inside The West Hollywood EDITION.
The California chef bakes a big and thick brioche cinnamon bread and turns it into a magical soft French toast that has a spread of fig jam and is topped with a cream cheese and powdered sugar whipped topping. Sweet ripe figs are sliced in half and placed on top. A small carafe of pure maple syrup is served with the dish for a touch of extra sweetness.
Located on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Doheny Drive, the recently re-opened restaurant offers an elevated breakfast.
The hotel, designed by London-based architect John Pawson, is a mastery of space and sensibility with wood, metal and sliding glass walls with louvered teak shades. Potted plants and trees are everywhere you look. The expansive light-filled and sleek-lined lobby has a yellow felt pool table and a small back patio with a fire.
Following a narrow pathway to the lush and verdant Ardor restaurant, we were seated in one of the French vanilla-colored crescent shaped leather booths. Across are linen banquettes in the color of chartreuse with modern cane-backed chairs. The colors offer tranquility while enjoying Fraser’s artistic vegetable-forward, globally-inspired dinner dishes and comforting breakfast fare.
This talented chef has previously worked with Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Yountville, as well as the kitchen at Le Taillevent in Paris and Maison Blanche. He also opened his own Mediterranean restaurant, IRIS, in New York and created a hospitality group, JF Restaurants.
During breakfast and weekend brunch, diners have a few fresh juice options that include the Green Beauty made with kale, cucumber, parsley, green apple and lime with a touch of jalapeño. My husband selected the Life Flow made with heirloom carrots, ginger, beets and orange juice. These delicious juices are strained, and not pulpy or too sweet.
The friendly servers were happy to recommend their favorite dishes. They all liked the forest mushroom omelet filled with an array of mushrooms and feta cheese, which I ordered. I discovered it’s more like a French-style omelet that is lighter in color and texture. It’s cooked under low heat and served slightly underdone with a side of cut sun-kissed sweet tomatoes and salted fingerling potatoes.
The avocado toast is served on slightly charred bread with a mound of a guacamole-style spread that has a touch of jalapeño. On top are a variety of seeds and micro-green herbs offering a pleasant earthiness with each bite.
Other sweet dishes include the muffins of the day, which were lemon poppy seed and blueberry, pain au chocolat, a mango smoothie bowl and four grain porridge with seasonal fruit compote.
Savory fare includes a black forest ham and Gruyere cheese croissant with a mustard mornay spread. Egg dishes also include a healthy white omelet, a skinny frittata and prime skirt steak with eggs any way you like them.
For Mother’s Day, Ardor is offering a celebratory brunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and will offer a fresh seafood display and a variety of farmers’ market items, along with freshly baked pastries and desserts. Guests will also receive a welcome cocktail and can order an additional specialty drink or choose a la carte specials. Mother’s Day brunch is $150 for adults, $50 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. Table reservations are available for two-hour increments, starting at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Cancellations are fully refundable up to 48 hours in advance. However, cancellations within 48 hours will be charged in full.
Breakfast at Ardor is served Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. $$ Reservations can be made on OpenTable. 9040 Sunset Blvd., (310)953-9899.