Catch 122 Is a Delicious Conundrum
One of the challenges of being a food blogger is that you only have but the one stomach. Whenever I go to check out a new place, I like to take at least one other person with me, and we usually divide and conquer. We’ll each order something different, and maybe something to share, just to get a good cross-section of the menu.
Last week, though, I had made plans to brunch at Catch 122, and, despite my best efforts, I was unable to find a brunch companion. Sad faces. But, always putting myself on the line for you, dear reader, I persevered.
Which is how we get to the conundrum. I wanted to order literally everything on the menu.
Now, I’d been to Catch 122 for brunch in the past, and had ordered and adored The Catch 122. I recommend it highly. It’s a take on a smoked salmon benny, but in this case, the eggs are served atop a halved croissant, a nod to the restaurant’s French influence.
So, I knew I could recommend that one with confidence, and felt free to try something new. So many things caught my eye and my rumbly tummy.
I was highly tempted to order the Brioche French Toast: slices of house-made brioche, brûléed bananas, dulce de leche mousse, burnt honey, and garnished with walnuts. If I had more stomachs, it would have made a fine dessert.
I was also drawn to the Croque Madam. I am a huge fan of this particular French breakfast sandwich, the male version of which (Croque Monseur) comes without the egg (get it?). This one is served open-faced, with poached egg, house-smoked ham, gruyère cheese, cherry tomatoes, béchamel sauce, and Catch 122’s Yukon Gold nugget potato hash.
There are tons of other options, as well. The Gastown Classic is your standard eggs-and-bacon dish, there’s a truffled omelette, and two other kinds of bennys (one with braised shortrib, and one with duck confit) besides the Salmon one. Then, there was the pulled pork grilled cheese with brie and gruyère.
In the end, it came down to the Dirty Breakfast. Probably the most substantial of all the dishes, the Dirty Breakfast consists of a slice of toast, fried in duck fat, then topped with duck confit, sunny-side up eggs, a spoonful of house-made maple beans, the yukon nugget potato hash, and a small mixed-green salad.
Dirty it was. Dirty in the way that feels indulgent and over the top. I mean, toast, fried in duck fat… it’s completely extravagant. And I never want to eat toast any other way again, because they all pale in comparison.
The toast is crispy, and a little hard to cut through, but when you take a bite that includes the toast, the duck, the egg yolks, and the sweet beans, there is a play of textures and flavors that is exquisite. I kept catching myself saying “mmmm” out loud, sitting at the bar by myself.
I’ve eaten here several times, and there is lots to love. The decor relies heavily on the exposed brick walls, warm wood, and vintage touches, that make it really warm and homey. It’s incredibly family-friendly, without being a family restaurant. The food has always been consistently good. Almost everything that comes out of the kitchen is sourced locally, like the goregous free-run eggs from Chilliwack, with an intesely golden yolk. They make all their own charcuterie in-house, and do much of the baking, as well.
Service is prompt and friendly, and you’ll often find the owners here, seating guests and slaving away behind the espresso machine. This is a mom-and-pop joint, and it’s clear that Brent and Tammy are involved in all the decisions, and their care and presence is part of what makes Catch 122 so great.
Now. Who wants to go back with me so we can try the Croque Madam and the Brioche French Toast?
122 W Hastings St
Open for brunch Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 pm
Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 4 pm
By day, Rebecca Coleman teaches people how to use social media as a marketing tool, but by night, you’ll find her in the kitchen, testing recipes for her blog, Cooking by Laptop. On sunny days, you’ll find her on the Seawall on her bike.