For many years, I’ve considered Skewered Thai restaurant across from Trolley Square to be one of Utah’s best Thai eateries. What I didn’t realize until recently, is that Skewered Thai owner Lek Lekbox and her family also operate a lovely little lunch/brunch spot adjacent to Skewered Thai, called Trolley Cottage Cafe.
Trolley Cottage Cafe doesn’t take reservations and the small bistro-style restaurant can get crowded, especially on weekends, so plan accordingly. The good news is that with patio seating in warm weather the restaurant’s capacity is increased considerably.
The lunch menu at Trolley Cottage Cafe features salads, sandwiches and burgers, while the brunch menu offers a breakfast burrito, buttermilk pancakes, house-smoked salmon hash, avocado toast, eggs Benedict, and more.
Salad choices include a tasty Beet & Apple salad ($14), Hummus & Falafel Israeli salad ($15), and a Black Bean, Kale & Quinoa Bowl ($15), any of which guests can add egg ($2), tofu ($3), or grilled chicken ($4). My wife especially likes the Asian Salad ($14) with mixed greens, orange wedges, bean sprouts, cabbage, fried wonton strips, peanuts, crispy onions, coriander, scallions, and ginger-sesame dressing, to which she usually adds grilled chicken.
A French chef named Olivier Bouillot runs the kitchen at Trolley Cottage Cafe, which explains why French cuisine peppers the Cafe’s menu, including a grilled chicken and brie sandwich ($15), parmesan brioche toast with hollandaise ($17), pain perdu ($16), and the best croque madame ($15) I’ve ever eaten, including in France. Ham, Gruyere, hearty toast, Béchamel, and a fried egg come together to create one of the tastiest things I’ve ever gotten my lips around. The first time I enjoyed this sensational sandwich I hadn’t realized that the Cafe had a secret weapon in the kitchen: a French chef!
Being a French-trained chef, Olivier also knows a thing or two about omelets and the “Omelettes or Scrambles” section of the brunch menu offers vegetable, cheese, or meat versions ($16/each), served with breakfast potatoes and a muffin. My sister Ginger, who was visiting us when we enjoyed brunch at Trolley Cottage Cafe, loved her vegetable omelette with grape tomatoes, roasted red and poblano peppers, onions, mushrooms and spinach.
Beverage options include various juices, Mexican Coca-Cola, tea, cappuccino, latte, macchiato, espresso, coffee, sparkling Conquilla Cava, and mimosas. I like that one can sip bubbly or enjoy a mimosa, but wouldn’t mind seeing a smattering of still wines on the drink menu, as well. Perhaps there isn’t storage space for even a small wine selection since the cafe is fairly tiny and intimate.
Another fab menu item from Chef Olivier is his house-smoked salmon tartine with scrumptious salmon smoked in-house, hard-cooked egg, cream cheese, grape tomato, cucumber, pickled onions, capers and chives ($17). Service at Trolley Cottage Cafe is super friendly and accommodating and my wife really appreciated the kitchen plating her smoked salmon on a bed of greens and gluten-free bread since she is gluten-free.
I was surprised to see so many menu items that were prepared in-house, such as the house-smoked salmon and even some side dishes like house-made pork sausage patty ($4.50) and house-made jalapeño chicken sausage patty ($4.50). The fingerling breakfast potatoes ($3.50) are also the bomb, lightly seasoned with fresh herbs.
Simply put, there is nothing about Trolley Cottage Cafe that I and my family don’t like. The simple but beautiful decor, fair pricing, wonderful service, warm ambiance, and Chef Bouillot’s first-rate cooking will keep us coming back again and again.
Photos by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week: “Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.” – Montesquieu