Morning people in Vancouver have even more reason to rise and shine with the increasing variety of unconventional brunches available.
I’m a morning person. Given a choice, I’m happier to linger over a long, chatty brunch than to wile away the night over dinner. Luckily many of my friends are part rooster too and don’t mind my regular Saturday 8:30 am texts initiating brunch dates.
I’ve eaten in many an egg-fry across Vancouver. I’m just as happy with an Ovaltine $3.49 special as I am with a Pan Pacific breakfast buffet. I just need a few key ingredients: good friends, the ability to go slow and an egg or two medium poached.
I’m always on the hunt for quirky morning dishes that are just too much effort to make from scratch at home. Enter breakfast poutine, breakfast pizza and the fish and chip benny (I’m not kidding). Below you’ll find my picks for offbeat brunches around Vancouver.
Poutine Pulled Pork Benny – The Cannibal Café opened about a year ago and makes me extremely nostalgic for my early 1990s teen years. Decked out with 90s concert posters for everyone from Blind Melon to DOA to Chemical Brothers, Cannibal is a casual diner on Commercial Drive that serves up larger than normal portions of quirky goodness. The Pulled Pork Eggs Benny is stacked high with layers of Hollandaise, piquant, sweet pulled pork, an onion ring all on top of a fresh baked biscuit. Or if you feel like a more gooey dish try the Breakfast Poutine: layers of yam fries, sausage or bacon, cheese curds, cheddar, two eggs any way and boats of gravy.
How I love les poissons – Every time I eat at The Fish Shack on Granville I imagine the chef’s theme song to echo that of the crazy French chef from the Little Mermaid. While The Fish Shack is going for a decidedly maritime hipster feel, not upscale French a la my fave Disney flick, the food is just as fab as any upscale fish joint in town. Their brunch is no exception. Just because it is 11:00 a.m. doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy fruits de mer. Try the Fish and Chip Benny or the Salmon Cake Benny. For $6 you can add lobster to any of their brunch items.
The Italian Way – I discovered Campagnolo Roma one day after ditching an hour-long wait at another popular Hastings breakfast spot. I was starving and looking for a meal that was big on substance and flavour. My friend and I chose Campagnolo Roma’s breakfast pizza or Pizza San Benedetto. It’s a pie served with two sunny side-up eggs, Italian-style bacon (pancetta) and olive oil hollandaise. Though not the lowest calorie dish, it will fuel the rest of your Saturday or Sunday. The buckwheat waffles with hazelnut butter, stewed plums and amaretto maple syrup are also worth getting up early on the weekend.
Honorable mentions: Chicken + Starch = brunch bliss – Chicken and waffles are a culinary trend I’ve yet to exploit to its fullest potential. Rumour has it the Yolks food truck serves up a takeout container loaded with poulet tastiness: their take on the chicken’n’waffles trend. A new addition to the downtown brunch scene, Homer Street Café and Bar specializes in roast chicken. Perhaps that’s why I’ve heard rave reviews of their maple chicken cobbler offered during brunch.
Where’s your favourite spot for an unconventional brunch? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.