Years ago I had a friend say to me that you can tell the quality of an establishment by one small detail; linen napkins. When I arrived at the airy and bright La Pentola located inside the boutique Opus Hotel on Davie Street, I knew that this had the potential to be a high quality dining experience.
Our server was adept at reading our table’s personality and quickly began engaging in humourous banter. It’s definitely a plus when you’re serving the weekend brunch crowd if you can keep them laughing, fed and caffeinated. An additional detail of service was the brown leather aprons wrapped around every server to ensure that no spillage could be seen. Leather is quick and easy to wipe down and maintains its texture, unlike a cotton apron that can quickly show wet spills and embedded dark stains. Immediately I knew we would be in good hands, service-wise.
Once our beverages were ordered and mimosas arrived at our table we were given three Hazelnut and Chocolate Donuts to taste. They arrived with puff pastry goodness, sprinkled with shaved hazelnuts. This wasn’t your store-bought Nutella experience. It was a lovely treat to have at a weekend brunch without having to order an entire sweet entrée. Combined with the 49th Parallel coffee, it was a good base as we prepared to transition into savoury. While sipping coffee, we entertained ourselves with the large windows that look out to the streets of Yaletown.
As a non-pork eater I encouraged my dining companions to sample the meat dishes and report back to me on taste and texture. Consummate meat eaters they were aware of the butcher that La Pentola used for their bacon; apparently Windsor Meats on Main Street is the place to get your bacon. The restaurant also made their sausage in-house, which was met with a good response. My friend stated that she would “rather pay for good quality with smaller portions than larger meals of poor quality.” Not that these were small portions. The traditional breakfast was a good representation of egg, meat and potato and served with their house-made bread. The Buttermilk Pancakes topped with poached pear were a substantial serving size. The pancakes were done to perfection, combining flavour and height; it certainly met my vision of fluffy buttermilk pancakes.
When a menu has my favourite brunch dish on it, I find it difficult to not order. The Smoked Salmon Benedict at La Pentola featured house smoked salmon, chives, cream cheese and red onion on percorino biscuits. The hollandaise was perfect, and my eggs came poached hard just as I requested. The biscuit was a new taste experience for me, with its crunchy base rather than the traditional soft english muffin or croissant. Side potatoes were seasoned and baked which was a great feature. Somehow it makes one feel less guilty for having potatoes rather than the assigned green salad side.
Overall I have to rate La Pentola pretty high. With the good food and delightful service I’d bring friends here for a laid back but yet formal brunch any weekend. Sitting beside the large street side windows gives you a chance to watch the Yaletown crowd find their perfect weekend spot. For next time you should consider La Pentola.
350 Davie St
Hours: open 7 days a week for brunch from 7 am.
Cynnamon Schreinert is a busy PR gal about town, an ex-server, and an expert on breakfast potatoes.