Bruuuuunch! Yup, we were at it again. Yesterday, we were Sunday brunching at The Red Wagon cafe, a little diner on East Hastings Street & Garden. Located in the Grandview area of East Vancouver, we had been meaning to try this neighbourhood joint ever since reading loads of raving reviews on Urbanspoon.
Formerly home to “Kings Cafe”, Red Wagon serves up breakfast and lunch options, seven days a week. As expected, we arrived for Sunday brunch and were greeted by a long line up of hungry customers. With pouring rain, we were fortunate to wait inside the restaurant, as the queue extended outside. Patrons have been coming here in droves to sample tasty selections cooked by Chef Miller:
This is Thunder Bay native Miller’s first stab at restaurant ownership, though he’s put in his time cooking in other people’s kitchens. A stint apprenticing in Paris followed by time in a Michelin-starred room on Lake Geneva preceded his 2001 move to Vancouver. Despite having worked for some of the poshest spots in the city—Bistro Pastis, West, and Au Petit Chavignol—his heart is in morning fare.
Smoked Salmon Scrambled Eggs ($10.50) – diced pieces of smoked salmon and herbs mixed within scrambled eggs, resting on an English muffin. Served with homefries and arugula perfectly tossed in a light salad dressing. The pepperiness of the arugula greens was a great accompaniment to the richness of the egss, salmon and hashbrowns. The scrambled eggs were a tad less cooked than I usually enjoy, so they made the English muffin a wee bit soggy. However, the English muffin was fantastic! It tasted like it was freshly baked and homemade – I’d be shocked if the English muffin was store-bought.
Unlike a traditional old-school diner serving dishwater coffee, Red Wagon serves bottomless, rich, full bodied, and aromatic Saltspring Island organic coffee ($2.50).
Pulled Pork Benny ($10) – house-made slowly roasted pulled pork with crispy homefries and creamy hollandaise. The hashbrowns were fresh cut potatoes and had crunchy exteriors and fluffy interiors. Gary thought his poached eggs were cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of runny egg yolk. The pulled pork was exceptional – extremely tender, with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Compared to my dish, we felt that this one was missing a garnish or perhaps more tasty homefries to fill-out the dish. The plate seemed empty, like the kitchen forgot something. For the price, it appeared to be a small portion. However, once Gary had finished his meal, he decided the serving was just the right amount of food. He didn’t feel overly-stuffed, but believed he was well fed.
Overall, The Red Wagon is a wonderful little East Van diner with friendly service and excellent food. The waitress even presented our bill with coke bottle candies – score! After watching the stacks of über thick flapjacks busting out of the kitchen, I’ll certainly return for their pulled pork pancakes 🙂