We’re taking a tasty tour of Vancouver’s many brunches to create The Ultimate Vancouver Brunch Guide. This week we’re tucking into a stellar Asian-inspired brunch, chopsticks and all, at The Union.
Sitting on the cusp of Chinatown and Strathcona, Union Street is, for the most part, a fairly uninteresting food drag. However, near where Union and Main Streets meet there is a funky corner restaurant, which pulls in people from all over the city, thanks to its enticing array of South East Asian eats and well-crafted drinks.
Perhaps better known for their dinner and cocktail menu, The Union also offers an appetizing brunch menu on the weekend, with lots of unique and inventive dishes.
Those looking to spice up their brunch options should make a point to drop by this casual and welcoming hub. With its cultural influences from South East Asia, The Union offers brunch goers fantastic pre and post midday meals, which include a breakfast double smoked bacon Banh Mi ($12), curry spice hash ($14), short rib pho ($13), and French toast ($11), comprised of the popular Filipino bread Pandesal, five-spice brandy toffee sauce, caramelized Asian pears, whipped cream, and toasted coconut.
Patrons should keep an eye out for the selection of Bao Bun Bennies. Served with curry spiced hash browns, a creamy Hollandaise topping, and fluffy steamed white bao buns, these re-imagined brunch essentials are sure to hit all the right spots. Diners have the choice between soy chili pulled pork and pickled papaya, Asian guacamole and double smoked bacon, and a veggie option of tomato chutney, arugula, and sautéed shiitake mushrooms.
Other brunch standouts include the Shanghai Scramble ($13). Sprinkled with black sesame seeds, this bowl of pure goodness is comprised of a balanced mix of short grain brown rice, soy chili sauce, shiitake mushrooms, smoked tofu and scrambled eggs. While the flavours achieved in the dish are subtle, they complement each other beautifully. This meal is excellent on its own, but can be made even more delicious by adding some sizzling bacon strips or lemongrass pork sausage into the already hearty mix.
Weekend brunch would not be complete without a late-morning libation. Thankfully, The Union offers a range of beverages, some familiar, while others wonderfully exotic.
Drinks of the alcoholic variety include a Thai Caesar (lemongrass-infused gin, Thai basil, clamato, calamansi, sriracha, and pickled galangal curry salt rim), Lychee Mimosa, Brunch Banga (five spice vodka, tangerine, pineapple, lime, and agave), and Sáng Bia (lager, Olmeca blanco, passionfruit, agave, and orange bitters).
Drinks sans alcohol include daily squeeze juices (actually made on-site and not poured from a carton like they do in so many establishments), lychee black tea, Lapu Lapu (cucumber juice, coconut water, ginger, calamansi, and pandan syrup), and more.
Modern yet approachable, The Union’s industrial space, think concrete pillars, polished concrete flooring, hanging metal lamps, and unconcealed shiny steel extraction fans, is light-filled and simply furnished. Bar seating and long wooden communal tables not only provide ample seating for all, but also maintain the eatery’s relaxed tone.
Address: 219 Union Street, Vancouver
Hours: Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.