Waffles & Fricassé @ Café Medina

It isn't often that I go out for brunch, since I have work now, and honestly speaking, I'm just too lazy to get up early on weekends.  

When we decided to go for brunch, I knew exactly where I wanted to go: Café Medina.  This place has been raved about countless times and is currently number eight on Urbanspoon.  It is also one of the more expensive brunch places.  We all agreed to head here.

While driving around, we weren't quite sure of the location.  But once we were there, we knew we had arrived since there were quite a few people waiting outside.  We had expected a wait since we had arrived pretty late at 11:15, but we weren't sure for how long.  Throughout our long wait, there were actually a lot of people who couldn't stand it any longer and left. I'd like to take this time to thank them since that means our wait was shortened.  Anyways, our party of four finally got a table at around 12:10pm -- which means we waited almost an hour.

To our surprise, we actually got led into the café, then into a narrow hallway and into another room.  Turns out they had more than one seating area, and we were at the back of the building, where we could see easily see Rogers Arena.  

Everyone ordered a latte (either lavender or vanilla), and I didn't want to miss out in the frothy beverage action, so I ordered the matcha latte ($4.25).  The problem with a lot of matcha based drinks is that the matcha can clump at the bottom or float at the top of the drink and result in a gritty and powdery texture.  Unfortunately, this is what happened to the froth at the top.  It was a bit better when bigger gulps were taken, compared to the smaller sips though.  My favourite matcha latte is still at Sajin's.  There was generally good feedback on the lavender and vanilla latte, except for some saying that it was too sweet.

Onto the food! Originally I wanted to get the tagine because I really wanted poached eggs.  But after we asked what was recommend, I knew I had to get the fricassé, the most popular dish at Café Medina.  I had considered it earlier, but it had fried eggs instead.

The fricassé ($16) is essentially braised short ribs cooked with just the right amount of sauce, topped with watercress, apple, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and eggs.  It sounds simple enough, but the flavours have been stuck on my mind everyday since the meal.  I'm literally salivating now as I write this.  The boneless short ribs were very tender and flavourful.  

Combined with the yolk, I was "rippin' and dippin'" (as the waiter called it) with the foccacia bread (which was perfectly toasted, by the way).  The eggs were laying right on top of the cheddar cheese, which was absolutely amazing.  Cheese and eggs go so well together! I thought it was sort of strange to have apples in it, but it was actually quite okay.  They were still crunchy since they weren't really cooked that much.

I was a bit preoccupied with my dish and didn't want to steal too much of my friends' but I have pictures for you to drool over! Doro's l'omelette du matin ($12) was also really good.  The ingredients for this vary day to day, but like I said before: cheese + eggs = love.  This one had a lot of crab meat on it, which was also increased the level of love.

Connie's saumon fume ($12) was really good as well, and I liked the addition of avocado with the smoked salmon.

We also had to order a waffle ($3.15) with white chocolate pistachio rosewater topping ($1) to share, since they were so famous. The waffle has a crisp exterior that isn't too hard to bite into, yet an airy interior.  I love pistachio gelato, and this sauce had a subtle hint of the nut.  The rosewater was also really subtle too.  Kem and I really like the topping and wanted to just drink it.

Like Kem said, there was a lot of nodding throughout the meal, mostly from food! Everyone agreed that it was worth the wait, and we were already thinking of our next visit halfway through our meal.  (I've been thinking about it everyday for the past few days, so I had to type this post before other meals!) 

Café Medina
556 Beatty St
Vancouver, BC V6B
(604) 879-3114
Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon

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Thats what the back room looks like? I always thought it was a myth since every time I go, they only seat people at the front.

Super cool!

That room is the back room of Chambar. If you go there at night, that's where you would be seated. Don't particularly like that area because acoustics are terrible. On that note, I might be the only one but I thought that both Chambar and Cafe Medina are overrated. In my case, I ordered the cassoulet (because, as odd as it sounds, as a Chinese person, I like beans) and it was anything but one. Furthermore, service sucked (was ignored for over 15 minutes and I was seated at the bar where the waiters were walking back and forth the whole time).

On the note of the waffles, memory is a bit vague on this one but I think people have said they don't make it in house; rather, they get it from Patisserie Lebeau or Damien. (I think it was Lebeau, again, memory is vague on this one).

Take me with you one day!? I want in on some of this delicious action :3

@Diana: Yeah! It was kind of weird/sketch when the server was leading us there because it was like WHERE ARE YOU TAKING US! They have another room connected behind the doors in the photo, but no one was sitting there. It might have been Chambar's other seating area.

@KimHo: Thanks for the info! I heard someone there mention it was apart of Chambar's, though I wasn't sure enough to say anything in my post. I can't really comment on the cassoulet, since I'm not a fan of baked beans to begin with, but the fricasse is absolutely delightful if you're a fan of meat. Meat for brunch sounds kind of like WOAH, and there is quite a large amount of it. But to me it was really quite good. My friend that ordered the omelette du matin that day actually went back Saturday to get the fricasse and she said it was awesome too. Maybe give that one a try?

As for the waffles, I did see a waffle iron, but I don't recall anyone actually using them. Mind you they had a ton of waffles on the racks already, so that may have been why, or the iron might have been for show? I don't know now!

but the fricasse is absolutely delightful if you're a fan of meat.

Again, I am the oddball because I like beans. Should I go back and try the fricasse? Not in a hurry. If it was only the food the negative and somebody points me I ordered the wrong dish, I am willing to go back and give it a try (though, there is the question of shouldn't all dishes be good, else, be retired from the menu???); however, it was a compounding effect of several factors. And, believe me, for the same moola, I can think of a lot of probably cheaper but better places to eat ~11:30 a.m.... But, then again, that will end up being an apple vs. oranges discussion...

Food looks pretty good, thanks for the review, will have to check this place out.

@KimHo: Yeah, it is a bit expensive for what could be had at that time of day, but I felt the fricasse was well worth it (the cost of the meal + the wait in line). Not going to say whether or not you NEED to try it, since it is definitely a lot of meat, and you're a fan of beans.. haha!

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