Posted November 24, 2008 by Adam Toren in Blogs

Cafe Medina Brings Cool Calm to Midday

Back when they only had the kitchen capacity to do Liege waffles for breakfast, Café Medina was still a charming little place, much loved amongst my friends for a tea or a snack. Now that they have expanded in recent months to include a daily full breakfast (brunch on the weekends) and lunch service, it’s like a wish you didn’t even know you had coming true.

Café Medina was started by the founders of Chambar next door, Karri and Nico and Robbie Kane to be a daytime destination for people in search of good food in Crosstown, the area between downtown and Chinatown. It is appropriately less polished than Chambar, but no less cool. Blue paintings on a blue wall supply the urban chic while tin bar stools and a collection of antique kitsch on the opposite wall makes the place seem warm and inviting. Reading material is provided on media racks for quieter times, although at lunchtime the place is bustling enough that you’d be lucky to have the luxury of spreading open a newspaper, never mind lingering over one.

After hopping all over the menu (not only waffling between items, but between breakfast and lunch as well), I finally landed on the fricassee ($15) which is braised short ribs cooked in a skillet with roasted potatoes, caramelized onions and smoked applewood cheddar, then topped with some arugula and 2 fried eggs and accompanied by a slice of grilled foccacia on the side. Eggs and onions and potatoes in a skillet is not anything new, but the surprisingly sweet taste of the short ribs, topped with greens was intriguing and even better when piled with pieces of foccacia dipped in egg. It’s a filling breakfast, so I’m glad I had it at lunchtime but I could also see getting into it on a lazy Saturday instead of having to go back to work after.

I also ordered a bottle of the Pyramid Apricot Weizen Ale ($7) which I feel compelled to tell you is the perfect beer for brunch. Even in wintertime.

My dining companion ordered Les Merguez ($15), which looks something like a toasted wrap filled with delicious roasted merguez sausage, baba ganoush, haloumi cheese and grilled eggplant. It comes with tabbouleh and salad on the side. I tried some of it and the blend of spices, flavours and textures all complimented perfectly.

We tried to return recently to taste the Cassoulet and the Oeufs Cocottes (baked eggs, smoked black cod, asparagus, lemon potatoes, and goat cheese) for breakfast, but missed out because it was a Monday, their day off. I’ll be back on the first free Sunday to see what the rest of the menu range is like.


Cafe Medina

556 Beatty Street, Vancouver

Adam Toren

Adam Toren
Adam Toren is born and raised in Vancouver BC and loves everything Vancouver BC has to offer. He loves traveling and exploring new and unique restaurants and places around the world.