Healthy and Heavenly: Roasted Fennel Tofu Scramble at Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop, 3598 West 4th Avenue
Vegans often draw the short straw, especially at brunch. Not at Aphrodite’s, where vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dishes aren’t treated as an afterthought. Quality ingredients and imagination rule here. Case in point: at lunchtime, Aphrodite’s offers the inventive Roasted Fennel Tofu Scramble, which comes with vegan cilantro cream and fresh salsa. Even committed carnivores might be converted.
Farm to Fork: Hazelmere Hash at Edible Canada Bistro, 1596 Johnston Street
One of our favourite brunch spots, Edible Canada, is killing it at lunchtime with its farm-to-fork cuisine. The Granville Island bistro and retail store pay plenty of attention to sourcing all ingredients, but we particularly love how the sweet, roasted root veggies in the Hazelmere Hash pair perfectly with salty wild boar bacon. Add two sunny-side-up eggs on top and it’s brunch perfection on your lunchtime plate.
Comfort Food Extraordinaire: Pulled Pork Pancakes at The Red Wagon Restaurant, 2296 East Hastings Street
Weekend brunch is about indulging. Think about it: bacon, sausage, biscuits, Hollandaise, hash browns, maple syrup–these are comfort foods to the nth degree. The Red Wagon delivers that same stick-to-you-ribs experience mid-week. The order: Pulled Pork Pancakes. It’s not enough to just smother succulent pulled pork on top of the triple stack of buttermilk beauties; it’s layered in between, offering even pork-pancake distribution. Not decadent enough? It comes with maple syrup spiked with Jack Daniel’s to pour over top all that porky-pancake-y goodness.
Weekday brunch is served Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Build Your Own Brekky: Poached Free-Range Egg Sandwiches at Yolks, 1298 East Hastings Street
Yolks—of breakfast-food-truck fame—has been drawing weekend brunch crowds to its Hastings Street restaurant and commissary. But if you’re hankering for homemade Hollandaise smothered over perfectly poached eggs and want to skip the lineup that snakes around the block, go mid-week to get your fix, your way. Here, you get to build your Benny-style breakfast sandwich, starting with a choice of double-smoked bacon, honey ham or Portobello mushroom. Next, opt for an English muffin, organic gluten-free bun or lemon hash browns, before finally deciding between the classic Hollandaise or aged white cheddar sauce.
Weekday brunch is served Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Southern-Style Eats: Chicken and Waffles at Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar, 110–1055 West Hastings Street
Waffles have always figured prominently on Vancouver brunch menus, but they’re usually Belgian confections overflowing with fruit and whipped cream. Finally: savoury Southern-style waffles topped with fried chicken have made their way west. Chewies’ version served at lunch has us skipping the oyster bar’s bivalves in favour of comfort cuisine. The waffles are house-made and the buttermilk-marinated chicken breasts are fried up nice and crisp. The decadence is taken to new heights with honey butter drizzled on top, and a side of bacon-and-chive butter.
Weekday brunch is served from 11:30 a.m. (lunch menu), Coal Harbour location only
A French Fix: Omelette Aux Fine Herbes or Croque-Madame at Au Comptoir, 2278 West 4th Avenue
The French have a way with eggs. A fine example of exquisitely cooked oeufs is the omelette at Au Comptoir in the heart of Kitsilano. The Parisian café serves its Omelette Aux Fine Herbes during weekday breakfast (8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.), which means you have to eat early if you want to tuck into these classically-cooked eggs filled with gruyère and herbs, served with a fresh salad. Our preference: go for lunch (after 11:30 a.m.) and have the Croque-Madame (toasty gruyère, ham and a fried egg served on country bread), accompanied by fries and a salad.
Weekday brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (breakfast), 11:30 to 5 p.m., closed Tuesdays
A Taste of Latin America: Huevos Rancheros at Havana, 1212 Commercial Drive
On a Tuesday afternoon, all you need are two words to be transported to Latin America, (for an hour or so anyway): Huevos Rancheros. At Havana—the always-humming Commercial Drive hot spot—the hearty Huevos Rancheros are made with a trio of eggs served over a grilled tortilla, and accompanied by black bean chili. The all-important salsa, sour cream, green onions, and cheddar cheese come with, but get a side of chorizo to add some extra spice to this belly-pleasing dish.
Weekday brunch is served seven days a week until 2 p.m.
Enjoy savoury brunch favourites for lunch all week
Let’s be honest: lunch can be the most uninspired meal of the day. Often, it’s simply a fast fix—a way to keep your energy from flagging. Brunch, in comparison, is a study in slow food, with eggs every way, smoky bacon and spicy sausages, and stacks of pancakes or waffles crowned with fried chicken. But for some strange reason, these dishes rarely make it to the lunch menu mid-week. What gives? Who made such rules about only eating eggs Benny on weekends? Or forgoing French toast on Fridays?
Here are our seven favourite rule-breaking restaurants serving up brunch-worthy dishes mid-week.
Janet Gyenes is a writer, editor, beverage columnist and co-founder of 70 magazine, an online travel publication. She has co-authored two travel guidebooks on Vancouver and has put her insatiable curiosity to work in words and photos, covering topics such as tasting sherry in Spain, mule-riding in Molokai, and tracking textile trends in Turkey. She regularly writes for BCLiving about food, beverage, design and more.