Sherman's Food Adventures: Cafe Medina

Cafe Medina

Last time while I was dining at Chambar with Whipping Girl, we had noticed Cafe Medina next door. Incidentally, Cafe Medina is operated by Nico and Karri Schuermans of Chambar with former staffer Robbie Kane. It has taken us until now to try it. I just needed to find an excuse to go there. Well, MagMagMug's visit had come to an end and she was leaving tonight back to Hong Kong. Hey, let's do a going away brunch! Originally, TS (eating_club Vancouver) was supposed to join us; but she was just too tired from her gastronomical adventures in NYC. Too tired to eat? What's with that??? So it ended up to be only the 3 of us. When we arrived, I was about to park right across the street from Cafe Medina; but I noticed the special parking restrictions on the meter. I thought better to park the next street over since there was a tow truck taking a Range Rover away and the meter maid standing right across the street ready to pounce. Pretty obvious I should not park here eh?

To my dismay, we were seated far in the back of the cafe because the front table near the window was taken. This would mean bad photos! The humanity!!! Ah, no worries, we noticed that the people had left and I flagged down our server and asked if we could move. Whipping Girl was a bit concerned for all the trouble we were causing and thought they would spit in our food. C'mon, they won't do that, we're not in a Chinese restaurant you know! Joyfully, I moved to our new table with excellent lighting. MagMagMug was doing her best Miss Y impression and was fashionably late. It was alright, I wasn't in any rush; but I think Whipping Girl was anxious to get back to work. Just as we were about to order without her, MagMagMug arrived, so all was good.

While MagMagMug was looking over the menu, I hinted to her that the Fricasse was their most popular breakfast dish. It was my way of making her order it because Whipping Girl and I had already choose other dishes. With a combination of 2 fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar in a skillet and grilled foccacia on the side, it's easy to be popular. This makes the standard eggs and bacon breakfast look downright boring. I was able to sample a bit of the short rib and it was so tender. Short ribs for breakfast - awesome!

Prior to the Fricasse, we all had one waffle each. Hey, you can't have breakfast at Cafe Medina and not have a Belgian waffle! Well, that's the play I used on MagMagMug anyways. The girls opted for the Mixed Berry Compote with their waffle and I settled for the White Chocolate Pistachio (since Fig Orange Marmalade was out). Let me say that I'm not much of a waffle person; however, I really liked this waffle! Warm, soft, slightly sweet and crisp; this waffle would be great for snacking alone. I preferred the berry compote more than my chocolate pistachio. It was too sweet and didn't have much pistachio flavour. The compote had a nice tartness to it.

Whipping Girl already picked out her meal the day before (that's some type of planning) and it happened to be La Sante. Presented on a large platter, the deconstructed breakfast consisted of a soft boiled egg, vine ripened tomato, avocado, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil and grilled ciabatta. It was a great array of textures and flavours from the salty prosciutto, smooth avocado, crispy ciabatta to the delicate egg. My choice was the Cassoulet which consisted of 2 fried eggs on baked beans, saucisson de Paris, double smoked bacon, andouille and grilled foccacia. This breakfast made me a happy man. I had baked beans, 3 types of meat and fried eggs. How could I not be happy? It was so savoury and rich in flavour, I actually ate all the onions (despite my issues with them)!

What makes Cafe Medina special is that it's no ordinary breakfast. Combined with the delectable waffles, the savory and filling breakfasts have a certain "wow" factor. Combine that with a really quaint dining room and friendly service, who wouldn't want to have their first (or second) meal of the day at Cafe Medina?

The Good:
- Fresh and tasty waffles
- Unique savory breakfasts
- It's got a wonderful chicness to it

The Bad:
- Tight table arrangements
- A bit more expensive than the usual fare (but it's worth it)

Cafe Medina on Urbanspoon


TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

I didn't say I was too tired. 11am was too early! I had work. You know, like regular people. =P

Sherman Chan said...

Work? You work??? ;)

KimHo said...

TS.... Should I even ask what time you went to bed??? 11 a.m. is already late for, ahem, "normal" people!

Sherman, yes, "normal" people work, not to mention "normal" people have breakfast way before 11 a.m... At that time, it would be brunch! :P

BTW, I prefer the old layout over the new layout. The new one looks a bit disproportionated or slightly out of alignment.

Sherman Chan said...

Hi Kim, yes it was brunch... ;) Yah, I can't seem to get this layout to work correctly. I have the old template saved, just in case...

Anonymous said...

How was the coffee? You have a beautiful picture of the coffee art, but no comment about it.

Sherman Chan said...

Good question. I'm not much of an expert coffee drinker; but I do know what I like and don't like. I did like the mocha at Cafe Medina. I forgot what coffee they used, but it was smooth and a bit on the weaker side. For me, I like it that way over the strong burnt taste of Starbucks. The green one is the Matcha Latte (green tea). Whipping Girl really like it as it was also very smooth and not a very overpowering tea taste.

holly said...

I've been meaning to come here, but I'm always put off by the lack of free parking and the pricier than average brunch menu.

That being said, it looks delicious and would be an awesome way to treat yourself.

I have been to their sister restaurant, Chambar, and I have been impressed by their belgian food.

Sherman Chan said...

Holly, you're right about treating oneself. I would not go to Cafe Medina daily, cuz you'd go broke. But once in a while it is worth it. Yes, Chambar is excellent. Not everyone likes it, but I sure do!

Gary said...

We went on the weekend, got seated at the back of Chambar. Food was very tasty, portions were a bit small for the price. Had Les Boulettes. Very good.

What I didn't like was the service. Really lacking, didn't even get a coffee refill, had a quality check asked before I even had time to take BITE to eat.

Worst part, was the 18% auto gratuity on all bills, regardless of number of guests. I don't mind tipping well on good service, but with the autograt the servers seriously act like they don't give a flying F! ;)

Anson said...

Hey Sherman,

Just wanted your readers to know that to mitigate the parking 'issue', try Costco nearby...and walk! Or take the skytrain.

As this place is very busy, go to Cafe Medina to sign up. It's a usual 30min wait. Walk to Costco and get some free food appies...and then come back. heh.


Sherman Chan said...

Gary, auto grat and at 18%, not cool. Yah, I noticed that service can be sparse.

Thanks for the tip Anson! I love "brunch" at Costco!

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