Sciué: A Little Touch of Early Morning Rome
I’ve been a fan of Sciué (say shoe-ey) for several years. Everything is made from scratch, from the dough that creates their incredible sandwich buns, to the delicious Roman-style pizzas that fly out of their ovens during the lunch rush. Sciué uses high quality ingredients and delivers on flavour consistently.
While there are four Sciués in the West End, it’s Yaletown that I adore. Not only is the coffee strong (which is how I like it), but they have one of the best summer patios in the city, and, yes, wait for it, they serve prosecco on tap. That’s what I said, prosecco on tap. It’s a dry prosecco and perfect for brunch mimosas.
You can imagine my excitement when I found out they had new items on an expanded brunch menu. Brunch is served at only two locations; Pender and Yaletown. The Yaletown location is situated in the courtyard of the Roundhouse, just steps away from the perfect après brunch activity, a walk on the seawall.
The Brunch Blog Boss and I were due a catch up, so we made plans for an early morning nosh in Yaletown. It was early, and the place was already jumping. The staff are friendly and always eager to please, allowing us to snap pictures at will, even amidst all the activity. It’s their willingness to make the customer a priority that has always stood out for me at this location.
The first thing you’ll notice about Sciué is the commitment to fresh, high quality ingredients. It makes the chain stand out in a busy downtown landscape. This isn’t cookie-cutter food. Their food has clearly been made with great attention to detail; not what you expect to find at a small cafe.
The Boss and I ordered several items to share and compare. It’s what we do. You could call it our “schtick”. We started with strong steaming cups of coffee made with their own espresso. I never find the coffee bitter at Sciué, and that differentiates the place right off the bat. We tried the mini sfogliatelle, a layered shell pastry with a creamy ricotta filling. It’s light, sweet without being cloying, and a wonderful accompaniment to the coffee. You could say we started with dessert, but sometimes, on a holiday Monday, that’s how we roll.
We ordered the breakfast pizza. It’s a fantastic deal at $5.00 a slice. Ours had soppressata and a sunny side up egg. The egg was firm yet still creamy. The soppressata was bursting with great flavour. These are pre-made and heated in the pizza oven, so if you’re on the go and need a fast breakfast you can’t go wrong. The breakfast pizzas are available every day and not just on brunch days (Brunch Blog Boss note: there are 4 different kinds to try, including a vegetarian option).
There are two new items on the brunch menu. Sciué has served brunch for some time but the menu has always been limited, focusing mostly on bennies, but the two new additions round out the menu beautifully. We ordered the Crostino, two poached eggs on garlic-rubbed, toasted, house-made bread with capicollo and topped with mozzarella. The dish comes with a small chick pea, corn and bean salad, and some of the best potatoes in town; potatoes, not hash browns, there’s a big difference. You get perfectly cooked fingerling potatoes, smooth and silky on the inside with a skin that pops on the outside. They’re finished with a light drizzle of balsamic reduction. They might be the jewel of the meal. The Boss and I couldn’t stop raving about them (Brunch Blog Boss: they really were amazing. I’m still thinking about how perfect they were).
The second new dish on the menu looked fantastic. It’s called the Palpette; two creamy scrambled eggs with rustic meatballs. We didn’t have room. Let me rephrase that, we didn’t have enough room left because we had to have a doughnut. Yes, we started and ended brunch with dessert. Sciué makes an Italian doughnut; light yet chewy, with a hint of lemon and a dusting of sugar. It’s a winner!
You might pass Sciué on your way to the seawall and stop for a coffee, but I heartily recommend you take the time to sit down for brunch. The service is fast and friendly, and the food is everything you want in a late breakfast; fresh ingredients served with a respect for quality. This might be the best kept brunch secret in the city.
Movie Recommendation: For a post-brunch afternoon I would suggest none other than Mystic Pizza (1988), a great coming of age story about three teenage girls working in a pizza parlour in Mystic, Connecticut. It just happens to be the screen debut of Julia Roberts.
Yaletown: 126 Davie St (at the Roundhouse)
Open daily for brunch from 8 am to 3 pm.
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and an avid foodie. You can find her on Twitter at @chat2michelle.