I made the trek across town one Sunday morning this summer to hang out with some friends and try a place I’d heard a lot about, Roundel Cafe on Hastings St. The little neighbourhood diner had a reputation for fresh food in a funky and family friendly environment.
If there was a place that I would consider quintessentially Vancouver, this might be it. It’s a low key, occasionally loud, gluten-free and vegan-friendly eatery that knows its regulars and treats the newbie like a welcomed drop-in to the Sunday family meal.
There was a lot of food at the table so excuse me as I power through the list. I had the huevos rancheros, which is to say, I had the most colourful plate on the table. If you aren’t overly hungry but want a fresh plate that won’t weigh you down, this is it. The guacamole was excellent, the beans simply and deliciously cooked, and the tortillas presented with cheese and your choice of eggs. My only complaint was that the eggs were medium, and I asked for a soft poach, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
One of my friends ordered her usual, which isn’t on the menu anymore. They were still happy to accommodate her and even offered it before she could ask about the recent change in the menu. Like I said, the regulars are well looked after here. She had two poached eggs, hash browns, salad and picturesque rye toast. Let’s talk about potatoes. I know, you get tired of my love of spuds but tough! You have to hear me out. They were roasted, not deep fried. ROASTED. That makes me all sorts of happy. Salad always seems incidental at breakfast but this one had a nice light dressing and the eggs were made to order. It’s all good when a special order shows up and they get it right.
The other meals at the table were the Challah French Toast with a side of bacon, and the Free Range Eggs with bacon. The bacon was, by both accounts, served crispy. Personally, I love that. There was a bacon discussion at the table and I was quite surprised to find out that not everyone likes bacon snaptastic. If you’re one of those people, you may want to mention it to your server.
I would like to make a joke right now about being a “Challah Back Girl”. (Don’t get snippy; summer is the season for cheesy jokes.) Challah makes wonderful French toast. It soaks up the egg evenly and cooks through perfectly. Give it a try. I know you’ll like it.
Because I know you want to know, I will take a brief moment to sing the praises of the coffee. I find that often “diner coffee” is code for dishwater-weak coffee but in this case it is not. The flavour was smooth and strong, and the refills came as easily as Sunday morning, just as diner coffee should.
If you’re wondering about the rest of the menu, have no fear. There are options like corned beef hash, and organic tofu and veggie scramble. See, something for everyone in Vangroovy.
There are times you want to go where everyone knows your name, but brunch is about finding a place where everyone cares enough to learn your order. Roundel Cafe is one of those places. Just one warning though, Roundel Cafe is busy and I mean crazy busy. Expect to line up, but don’t let it get you down. The staff is great at moving things along.
Movie Recommendation: The symbol of the Royal Air Force (RAF) is a Roundel. So today’s recommendation is the Battle of Britain (1969). The film stars Michael Cane, Trevor Howard and Canada’s own Christopher Plummer. It’s a classic. And perfect for Sunday afternoon viewing.
2465 E Hastings St
Open from 9 am