The Twisted Fork is Vancouver’s version of a less-fussy, French-inspired bistro, firmly established on the Granville Street strip. This is one of those brunch locations that has a solid following in the city and for good reason; the food is clearly crafted with great care for the ingredients and the flavours. When you make the majority of the “Best of Brunch” lists in town, it adds a hype that becomes the measuring stick for every plate you put out. It’s a daunting position to be in, and one that is hard to miss when you try their food for the first time.
I was breaking in a rookie Brunch Buddy on this outing, and I have to say, she was a bigger foodie than I even imagined. The comparisons between plates did not stop, and it made for a very eventful meal. I ordered coffee right away. I needed it, she didn’t, but once the French Press hit the table, it was so much coffee that it didn’t take a lot of arm twisting to share the pot. Thank heaven too, or I might have been flying all day if I’d had the entire amount on my own. It’s strong. It’s got great flavour without the bitterness, and the pot is more than generous. It’s a great way to start the meal.
We agreed on the primary rule for Brunch Buddies; always order something different. We were slow to order because we had so much to chat about. I know, not conducive to high table turnover but once we explained that to the staff, we received an understanding smile and the instruction to leave the menu boards on the table’s edge so she’d know to come back. That was the best part of the service we received. It wasn’t poor after this; it just wasn’t anything other than serviceable, which I found disappointing.
The Buddy ordered well done gruyere baked eggs with sourdough toast, bacon, tomato, rosti and baked beans. I ordered roasted Portobello & caramelized onion eggs Benny with toasted brioche, poached eggs, hollandaise and served with sautéed spinach, rosti and baked beans.
Now, the buddy does not like hard eggs but tried this dish for the gruyere and she wasn’t disappointed. The whites of the eggs remained moist under the thick blanket of grilled cheese. I tried the yolk and it was delicious; infused with some of the cheese flavour in the baking process. The bacon was crispy, and the toast was cut Texas style. Now, that might not sound important, but it is. The house-made jam was lovely, just the right about of sweetness, and it needed a good chunk of bread by its side in order to slather as much as possible on it. Mission accomplished there.
I have a confession to make; I rarely, if ever, order Portobello mushrooms. The majority of times I’ve eaten them, the texture was rubbery and the effort it took to chew them was more than I wanted to make. Not this time. They were sliced thin and prepped properly. Balancing the woodiness of the mushroom with the sweetness of the caramelized onions was a wonderful idea. The hollandaise was nice, but missed that lip-smacking lemon hit that I like so much. All in all, a big hit thanks to the mushrooms.
We both had the rosti and the baked beans on our plates. The Buddy doesn’t like baked beans so you’ll need to take my word for it; they’re good. Not just that, they’re a nice change from the usual items found on a brunch plate. What I enjoyed the most was that they were subtle. They were not cloyingly sweet, but had just the right balance of sweet and acid (courtesy of the tomato base). The rosti was lightly packed, and I believe, cooked on the grill top. It was a nice change from the deep fried ones you normally get in town. Our only complaint, yes we were united on this, was that it didn’t have enough colour or crust from the grill.
Speaking of colour, that would be my biggest complaint about the meal as a whole. Other than the very nicely grilled tomatoes on the Buddy’s plate, there really wasn’t much of it at all. The plate looked a little bland. It’s a good thing the food is so well prepared because if we eat with our eyes first, my stomach might not have had the pleasure.
The Twisted Fork has a unique approach to French-inspired Bistro food. The food is lovingly prepared and the flavours and textures are on point. If you want to have breakfast on any day of the week you choose, then this is the place to go to in town. It’s always open for Breakfast/Brunch and delivers something a little different. There’s a lot to like here. Give it a try.
Movie Recommendation: Waitress (2007), a fun-filled pie extravaganza of an indie film with a great cast including Keri Russell and the always amusing Nathan Fillion.
1147 Granville St
Open for breakfast/brunch every day, 8 am to 3 pm.
Michelle Muldoon is a writer, filmmaker, and avid foodie. You can find her on twitter @chat2michelle.