I suspect that Cafe Mosaics captures shreds of what Whyte Avenue used to be, prior to the domino effect of locally-owned businesses giving way to franchises on this popular thoroughfare. Indeed, Cafe Mosaics is a compact time capsule of bohemian laissez-faire washed with bright, primary colours and accented with inventive artwork. An herbivorous crowd packs Mosaics' chairs at lunch hour, where one may casually flip through a botanically-focused menu cleverly printed on brown paper lunch bags. A waving mascot may be found on numerous pages, but it is difficult to tell whether he's a hedgehog, an owl, or something in between.
The restaurant's namesake, Mosaic Salad, is a vibrant jumble of berries, fruits, and greens, with a few slices of herbed toast for good measure. Positively proteinaceous wedges of portabello mushrooms may been reincarnated tenderloin; they are that meaty. Pity there weren't more of them. At least doubling the biomass of fungi would have staved off afternoon munchies.
House Salad presents a different assortment of vegetation: lettuce, tomatoes (which, sadly, drifted towards the "crunchy" end of the tomato spectrum), and toothsome seeds. A light raspberry dressing hints of late summer afternoons where the shadows are long and the air is heavy with the heady breaths of flowers.
Cafe Mosaics manages not to slip into a vegetative state, even though such tragic fates have befallen many of this institution's conspecifics. This time capsule of Whyte's funkytown past survives because of solid kitchen chops and a dedicated roster of patrons. Just a word of caution, though; salads are lovely, but here I would not endorse them as a stand-alone meal. I kicked myself for passing up the desserts of temptation that winked and beckoned from behind the glass.