Positioned at a strategic point close to the energy of South Street, and in the upwardly comfortable Old City, Bloomsday Cafe, 414 S. Second St., lets their menu and customers do the talking.
Part bakery, part coffee house, part wine bar, Bloomsday’s identity is fluid, shifting with the time of day. One could easily breeze by the cafe’s unassuming storefront if not paying attention. But this cozy space, with its modern and comfortable setting, offers a locally-sourced and imaginative menu that highlights small, shared plates and colorful cocktails.
The starters offered adventure; Bloomsday’s scrapplesada ($11), is an upscale rendering of the breakfast staple, spread in a thin, savory layer on crisp baguette bread. Part scrapple, part sobrasada, this mystery meat, PGN was told, is free of offal and offers spicy and bitter notes contrasted exquisitely by the sweetness of a grape and apple mostarda. The beet-cured gravlax toast ($15) is bright in appearance and flavor, delivering a decadent explosion of creamy and briny hits to the palette. The cod cheek dip ($15) was hot, cheesy and unique. It’s not going to give a traditional crab dip any stiff competition, but it scratches an itch and gives diners a different take on the favorite. The peach tea wings ($13) were cooked perfectly with a charming Southern-influenced sweetness. The cucumber salad served on the side as a garnish adds a nice acidic punch.
Bloomsday’s small plates push the envelope even further. The duck merguez sausage ($16) is served up like an over-the-top gourmet hot dog. The strong gamey flavor of the duck holds up well amid the mint yogurt and eggplant caponata that adorn the dish. The Maine mussels ($18) are a masterpiece, with spicy fennel sausage dotting the luxurious buttery broth, accented with green onion and tomatoes for a delicate, savory balance.
Bloomsday Cafe tries to be a lot of things to a lot of people in this bustling part of town, and it succeeds. If you want to explore distinctive Philly flavors, we recommend Bloomsday Cafe.
If you go:
414 South Second Street
Monday-Saturday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5-10 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.