Late last week, EiV was invited to attend a special media preview of the brunch menu at Calabash Bistro. I had been to this Caribbean-themed restaurant once or twice before but never knew they served brunch. Situated just off of West Hastings and Carrall St., this venue has quickly become a local favourite for great food, drinks and live entertainment.
Upon entering the front door, you are met immediately by the authenticity and vibrancy of the decor. Although our event was held on the main level dining area, the lower level of Calabash is definitely worth a visit for great drinks and music.
To start our media brunch, we were served baskets of freshly prepared coconut dumplings. I found the exterior to be a bit tough to cut through but the insides proved wonderfully receptive to the accompanying mango and guava butter. A word of caution as these can be dangerously addictive so be sure to leave room for the actual brunch order.
The first main of the morning was a well-known Carribbean dish of Escovitch Fish and rice. Priced at $14, the snapper is pan-seared and served with a tangy Escovitch sauce, fried plantain, fresh cucumber, rice and peas. For me, the tender cut of fish was tremendously appetizing and definitely whet my appetite for the following dishes. Please note the portion we were served was for media purposes only and the actual main offering is markedly larger.
As much as I enjoyed the Escovitch offering, the dish that stole the spotlight was definitely the Oxtail stew brunch bowl. Coming in at a respectable $13, our bowls were topped up generously with oxtail stew, 2 poached eggs, fried plantains, coconut hollandaise, rice & peas. What I loved most about this dish is the noticeable hit of heat with each bite. The spice level is not painful in intensity but is definitely worthy of a mention for those with sensitive palates.
The third and final dish of our tasting was a simple plate of Salara French Toast and Fruit. For $12, you get a large piece of traditional Guyanese coconut bread, fresh-cut fruit, banana cream, and spiced mango maple syrup. For the less adventurous that may need some time before digging into the bowl of oxtail stew, this is a perfect starter for brunch. Light and sweet, anyone that loves traditional French Toast with maple syrup should find this dish quite appealing.
For each brunch dish we were served, our hosts generously provided an accompanying drink to pair with the food. My clear favourite of the three was the Dark & Stormy which is a made with ginger-infused Gosling’s Rum, house-made ginger beer, Angostura bitters and ginger syrup. Served ice cold, this is the perfect summer drink and sincerely pairs well with any food item. If the above entry piqued your interest or your appetite, definitely check Calabash Bistro out for some delicious food, drinks and entertainment.