We tend to categorize the places we eat; diners, upscale, exotic, creative, classic. The list goes on. If I were to describe the Tangent Cafe, it would be neighbourhood hangout, and I’m not sure there’s a better class of brunch spot on a grey Saturday morning.
I don’t know what I was thinking but I planned to meet actor Lisa Durupt for brunch on Commercial Drive on Car Free Day. The line-up was three tables deep when I arrived so we ended up taking seats at the bar. Let me take this moment to say I love sitting at the bar and I was lucky enough to find out that Lisa did as well. It’s a great place to chat with the staff and to gain a feel for the energy of the place. Tangent Cafe passed with flying colours on both issues. The room has an easy-going vibe no matter how busy they were, and it’s due to how friendly and calm the staff remains even in the face of the deluge at their door.
The menu is classic neighbourhood brunch; a host of bennies, omelettes, and classic combinations. There’s a touch of healthy options mixed in to sooth the “night before” guilt and seasoned with a dash of Malaysia to connect brunch to the rest of the menu story.
Lisa ordered the crab cake and arugula bennie. The hollandaise and the crab cake are both scratch-made and the serving size is more than generous. Lisa loved the combination of the runny poached egg on the crab cake bed, and when she offered me a try of the cake, I couldn’t say no. She was right regarding how good it was. The outside had a great crisp on it, and the inside had a nice kiss of heat. The hollandaise had that classic lemon hit that I think is a must for a good hollandaise sauce. My only suggestion might be to add a touch of tarragon. It would have been the culinary version of a “meet cute” with the crab cake. All suggestions aside, the meal was exactly what you’d hope for in a homey, almost pub-like restaurant that caters to families as much as it does the Friday night late crowd.
I went classic this time, with the BLT with an added fried egg on it and hash browns. Yes, you get a choice between hash browns and fries and I loved that! The bacon was a goodly amount and the egg was broken and flipped, so no runny yolk. That’s how I make it at home so I was happy with that.
The hash browns served are those crispy little potato nuggets. Would I have preferred shredded? Sure, but let’s face it, I always prefer shredded. The coffee was good, not too strong and not too bitter. All in all, the accessories to my sandwich matched well with the meal.
If you’re looking for a little hair of the dog, then Tangent Cafe will not disappoint. The craft beer list is extensive. It’s tough to say if you’ll want to keep going back for the food, or to make your way through the beer menu. It’s that good.
There is something just so adorable about a busy neighbourhood restaurant. It’s not just that the food is comforting; it’s that everything about the place is. I would expect that Tangent is the kind of neighbourhood establishment where they know the names of the regulars and what they order. If I lived near Commercial Drive I’d make it my purpose to test that theory.
Movie Recommendation: Canada Day has just passed so I’m going to recommend, Strange Brew (1983) with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. What’s more Canadian than comedy, and beer, eh?
2095 Commercial Dr
Open for brunch from 8 am daily.