Cafe Medina is located in Crosstown on Beatty (between Pender and Dunsmuir) and owned and operated by the successful team behind Chambar (delicious Belgian dinners) and the Dirty Apron Cooking School/Deli.
The wait was about 20 minutes but it was sunny- albeit pretty chilly, and the time passed quite quickly. We were welcomed inside and the five of us were seated in a small table near the front. CM doesn't take reservations for weekend breakfast/brunches and they aren't really set up for larger groups.
Cafe Medina has fantastic service. The host who takes your names for the waiting list is warm and congenial and is great about checking in with every group and when your name is finally called, he loved the fact that we actually cheered. Our server was prompt, efficient, quick to answer all sorts of questions and accomodate special requests (made sure that there was no kiwi in sheila's fruit salad.)
This place is busy, and they need to move people through quite quickly- but they do a fantastic job of never making you feel rushed.
On the table:
Lavendar Latte 16oz ($4.40)
This is one of their most popular drinks and definitely beloved by two ladies in our group. Jill loves them so much she got one to-go too!
I had a sip- it's creamy, smooth, with a lovely lavendar scent. I couldn't really taste too much lavendar but it tasted awesome- just a hint of sweetness.
Loose Leaf Tea (16 oz$ 2.75)
I just love the presentation and that they serve this in a stainless steel bodum press teapot. It makes it feel special and posh.
I ordered the Saumon Fume ($12) Open faced ciabatta sandwich. Fried egg, smoked salmon, caper cream cheese, sliced avocado, arugula, peppadew and artichoke salad.
I was trying to decide between the delicious-sounding savoury tangine and this dish, so I asked the server her opinion and she steered me towards this for a delicious light dish. It was awesome- a texture and flavour experience.
From the runny egg yolk blending with the creamy avocado and the savoury salty caper salmon cream cheese, to the fresh, peppery arugula and the salty artichokes, to the fresh cherry red peppadews and finely diced red onion adding bursts of fresh flavour in every bite. The salmon is roughly pureed right into the cream cheese and it was actually even better than having the whole slices. The capers are larger ones and they’re mixed in whole so you get nice salty bites. The potion looks small but is actually the perfect size to leave you satisfied but not stuffed.
Bianca ordered La Sante ($12) A soft boiled egg, vine ripened tomato, olive tapenade, avocado, prosciutto, extra virgin olive oil, grilled ciabatta.
Much like my dish, Binca remarked that it didn't look like a lot of food when they brought it out but she didn't quite finish and she was full but not busting a gut. Also, much like my dish, there were a lot of different flavours and textures going on. With the way this dish was plated, you could either mix the individual elements together or eat each seperately. I had a bite of the olive tapenade and tomato and found it salty, savoury and delicious. This looked like a "spa" breakfast.
Tacia got L'Omlette de Matin ($12) with daily seasonal ingredients.
Served in a cast iron skillet, like many of their dishes, I didn't hear all of the ingredients but there was definitely fennel, onions, artisan cheese in there. I didn't try any but Tacia wasn't entirely thrilled with the different flavours and elements in the omelette.
Sheila got the Granola, Fruit, and Yoghurt ($9).
Again, a shout out to our server for looking into and then making sure that there was no kiwi in Shizzle's breakfast. She enjoyed her breakfast and didn't have too much to say other than that the youhurt/granola ratio was a bit off for her taste- she likes a bit less yoghurt to her granola.
Jill ordered Cafe Medina's famous waffles ($3.15/per waffle and $1per topping.)
They are soft and chewy, with the slightest crisp on their exterior. They have a slightly eggy flavour and are served with a dusting of icing sugar and the topping/dipping sauce of your choice. These waffles are made daily and heated/toasted to order and size-wise each waffle is about the size of the palm of your hand. Jill got hers as a meal with raspberry caramel topping. Bianca ordered one on the side with milk chocolate lavendar. I had a little taste of both toppings and the milk chocolate lavendar really knocked my socks off. Soooo rich, smooth, and delicious. I had to restrain myself from licking the tiny little bowl.
If haven't been to Cafe Medina yet- you should go. It's a lovely brunch experience and you won't be disappointed. Next time, I'm planning on going closer to lunch time and getting their highly hyped Fricasse which most people rank as the top dish- Fricassé a $16 hearty skillet with fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, applewood cheddar with grilled foccacia.