Good Brunch in Vancouver is not easy to find. Lots of places serve breakfast and lunch items but not items created specifically for brunch. For the longest time my friends and I would just go to chain restaurants as it seemed they were the only ones to serve items specially for brunch. Even then it seemed the only different items were various types of eggs bennies.
After a while even the egg bennies got old as well. In other cities, Brunch is a bigger deal particularly on the east Coast. New York is a brunch city and so is Toronto.
It has improved in Vancouver as more independent restaurants have begun to add a dedicated brunch service and more interesting dishes.
One of the few places that serve unique brunch entrees is Cafe Medina. Cafe Medina is a breakfast, lunch and brunch operation only and is a companion restaurant to Chambar and the Dirty Apron cooking school.
Every time I walk by it on my way to work there’s a line-up and a line-up when I walk by it on my lunch break. When’s there no mass of people milling around its entrance I know either:
A) I’m going to work at an obnoxiously early time OR
b) Craps hit the fan and there is an unusual event happening in the city
I really love the Fricasse served at Cafe Medina. It is 2 fried eggs sitting on top of braised short ribs, roasted potatoes and balsamic onions. It also comes with watercress, smoked applewood cheddar and not mentioned on the menu, julienned apples. It is all served in a small skillet and you get a side of grilled Foccacia bread.
It’s a hearty meal but not as heavy as you would think it would be. All the components of the Fricasse balance out the other ingredients. The acid of the balsamic onions actually does a lot of work in the dish as it helps cut through the richness of the egg, short rib and cheese. The watercress (bitter) & apple (sweet) also serves to balance out the other flavours as well.
It’s a brunch dish that is unique and full of flavour. It’s got sweet, sour, bitter, saltiness and creaminess all in a skillet.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE (A bit of a What the Hell????): Although Café Medina states that they are open 8am – 4pm on their website it’s not entirely true. They shut down their food service at about 2:30 – 2:45 ish but keep their coffee service running until 3:30pm. This would piss me off if I showed up at 3pm expecting tasty food and they turned me away. I wish they would change that on their website, so plan accordingly.