Yaletown, that hotbed of culinary delights, has a new option for your weekend brunch: West Oak.
One of the newer eateries in Yaletown, located on Mainland close to Nelson, West Oak has been open just about a year, but they only started brunch service a few weeks ago.
The space is wide and open, with lots of warm wood accents and exposed brick. The centerpiece is the open kitchen, with its wrap-around bar. You can belly up and watch the chefs at work. Like many Yaletown restaurants, it also features a large, comfortable patio, looking out onto Mainland St, which always provides excellent people-watching opportunities.
The French-influenced regular lunch and dinner service focuses on locally-sourced, fresh ingredients, like grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and Ocean-Wise fish. The Brunch menu focuses on “simple food, well done,” says Chef Tim Cuff.
The crab benny
You can choose from more traditional breakfast-type items like benedicts, omeletes, pancakes, your standard bacon-and-eggs, or even a steak-and-eggs for the really, really hungry (or those of you embracing the Paleo lifestyle).
They also serve French-inspired breakfast dishes, like their version of a croque madam, which is served open-faced: multigrain toast topped with ham, a sunny-side up egg, and finished with hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise deserves a mention, because it was outstanding. Unlike many hollandaise sauces, this one is thinner, and lighter, and bursts with flecks of grainy dijon mustard. There are also two skillet dishes: the most popular is the beef short rib hash, which includes potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and is topped again, with poached eggs and hollandaise. I loved the Baked Free Range Eggs, baked on top of a cassoulet of beans and Two Rivers Sausage, and served with a hunk of Terra Bread’s perfect baguette.
If you crawl out of bed a bit later in the day, and you feel like having lunch for your first meal of the day, West Oak can accommodate you, as well. They have a variety of burgers and sandwiches, like Grilled Chicken and Brie, a BLT, or a lobster salad atop multigrain bread. All their sandwiches come with thrice-cooked fries: the potatoes are hand-cut, then blanched, frozen, deep fried, and then deep fried again to order, creating a french fry that is crispy on the outside, but pillowy on the inside.
You can even get a salad, if you are so inclined, like gluten-free Prawn and Quinoa with roasted squash, feta, and walnuts, or a classic, old-school Cobb salad.
If you’re with a crowd and you can’t decide, you can simply order the Brunch Platter, and pick your way through scrambled eggs with black truffle, English Bangers, bacon from the Fraser Valley, a crispy potato hash, sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes, and English muffins.
And don’t forget the mimosas! Or a Caesar, which comes garnished with a bean, a cucumber and olives, which is almost a brunch in and of itself.
I know most people don’t eat dessert after brunch, but I have to insist that you do if you go to West Oak. You simply do not want to miss out on their freshly baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies that arrive at your table warm and gooey, alongside a vanilla crème anglaise to dip them in. Fewer things make me feel more like a happy little kid without any cares than a warm chocolate chip cookie. Am I right?
Sunny days, bike rides on the seawall, chocolate chip cookies with brunch. These are the things that make living in Vancouver so worth it.
Address: 1035 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Monday to Friday: 11:30 a.m. to Late
Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 a.m. to Late