In true “New York deli-style”, Harvest Delicatessen lets the “mic drop” on a Brunchcouver favourite with their creative take on Shakshuka.
Harvest Deli is best known for their sandwiches; the menu is extensive and the hand-crafted delights are always worth the wait. There is, however, a small all-day breakfast menu that deserves its fair due.
They know what they do well at Harvest, so they include two sandwich options on the breakfast menu including The Highlander (two eggs over easy, on grilled sourdough with aged cheddar cheese, black forest ham, lettuce, tomato, onion and Dijon mustard) and the Micro Sandwich (one free range egg over easy served with turkey bacon, aged cheddar cheese on an English muffin), as well as some omelette and scramble options.
Make no mistake, though, it’s the Shakshuka that people show up for. I arrived on a Saturday morning at around 10:15. It’s a leisurely walk to the Deli from my place. The sun was shining and I couldn’t resist the short trek down the road. They open at ten in the morning so the staff were just getting up to speed.
You’d think I would be the first order of the day but potatoes were already on the flat top grill. They received a phone order for three, you guessed it, Shakshukas. Seems some people in the neighbourhood were awake enough to come up with the brilliant idea of placing the order in advance before they left the house.
The Shakshuka recipe is unique to Harvest Deli. The menu describes it as two soft poached free range eggs in an Algerian roasted pepper and tomato sauce topped with parmegiano reggiano and served with toast and hash browns. What it doesn’t tell you is that the spices are subtle, but pack a punch. There’s loads of onions and a big hit of pepper in the red pepper/tomato sauce, and I’m pretty sure there’s also a healthy hit of cumin. The toast had butter grilled on it from the flat top, and the hash browns had a crispy outer crust and was well seasoned with more pepper. You won’t get drip coffee here, it’s Americano all the way; strong and smooth, not a bite of bitterness to be found anywhere.
Everything about this Shakshuka is what I want. If you’re going to serve an exotic sounding dish, then the flavours should be more interesting than ratatouille dressed up as something else. This is a breakfast dish made for people who want to put a little zip in their day; for the kind of person who loves to experience the world on a plate.
Add the Harvest Delicatessen to your list of must-stop Kitsilano eateries. Come for breakfast, stay for lunch, and eat your way around the world.
Movie Recommendation: Indigènes, the 2006 Oscar nominated film is set in WWII and speaks to the discriminatory treatment of soldiers from Algeria and other French Colonies.