Tuc Craft Kitchen is one of those places that has been on our list for months. We’ve heard a ton of buzz about it… but it was only recently that we had the opportunity to check it out for ourselves.
Normally, we here at Brunchcouver like to travel in packs–the more people you take with you to brunch, the more you can sample from the menu. This particular Sunday, there were three of us, and we picked a great day to go. Tuc is often full with a wait list, but we were able to walk right in and get a table.
The space is a bit like the Tardis: it’s bigger than it looks on the outside. The room is deep, and they stacked a balcony in there, as well.
The room is exposed brick and dark wood, with vintage accents. It makes for a warm and cozy atmosphere. The morning we were there, the owner was having brunch with his family, and we chatted with him a little–an unexpected bonus.
But we’re really here for the food, right? So let’s get to it.
They don’t have drip coffee, so if you like a brunch with a bottomless cup, this is not the place for you. They do, however, serve very strong Americanos that will put hair on your chest and wake you up in a hurry.
They also have a nice selection of that can’t-do-brunch-without standard: the mimosa. Mimosas here are made with freshly-squeezed organic orange juice, which is always a nice touch. A glass of orange juice here is $6, and for just 1 or 2 dollars more, you can make it a mimosa. It’s kind of a no-brainer. The wine part of the mimosa is a local bubble from Summerhill in the Okanangan. Again, we approve.
We’d heard a lot about Tuc’s Tempura Egg, so we had to try one. Actually, there were three of us, so we thought it prudent to order two. Picture this: an egg (out of its shell), wrapped in bacon, then dipped in tempura batter and deep fried. It’s a perfectly-cooked egg, too, with the yolk still a little runny. I have no idea how they do it, it’s some kind of miracle. And it’s all the tastes in your mouth at once: the soft, runny egg, the smokiness from the bacon, and the crunch of the tempura batter. Amazing and delicious.
For mains, the menu is a bit of a United Nations. There’s Japan, represented by Okonomiyaki (a kind of street-food egg pancake or crepe, filled with pork), there’s Morocco, represented by Shakshouka, the southern US is represented by chicken and waffles, and then there’s lots of Canada: buttermilk waffles, ham and maple syrup.
There is lots of pork on the menu. It’s the dominant meat at brunch here. Instead of bacon, though, Tuc serves Pork Belly Crackling, and it is one of the most addictive things I have ever tasted. I could eat a vat of it–crispy, smoky, crunchy bites of heaven.
The Pork Belly Crackling comes as part of Tuc’s Elevated Diner breakfast that also includes 2 free run eggs, sourdough toast, and BC new potatoes.
The Shakshouka was spicy and delicious, and the eggs were done right. Our main issue with it was that it was served on top of a piece of toast (that was placed in the bottom of the cast iron pan). The bread soaked up all the tomato sauce, and was just a mushy mess in the bottom of the pan. We like our Shakshouka with bread, but prefer it with the bread on the side to dip into the sauce.
The Chicken and Waffles comes with three sauces: your standard maple syrup, a dijon mayo, and a hot sauce. It does not come with country gravy, and I’m okay with that. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to chicken and waffles: I like mine with maple syrup. I have to remark about the portion size, though. There was about a half a chicken on my plate. I shared with the other two gals, and I still couldn’t finish it all–definitely the thing to order when you’re really hungry, or maybe to share with someone. The chicken was good: crispy-skinned, yet still moist and tender inside.
All in all, we had a very positive experience at Tuc. There’s a reason why they’re still around. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the food is fresh, local, and well-prepared. It makes a great spot for a leisurely weekend brunch.
80 W Cordova, Vancouver
Brunch hours: 10 am to 3 pm weekends only