As you make your way across East Hastings in Vancouver, you’ll come across plenty of no-nonsense eateries. The area continues to undergo a “gentrification” process and this has brought about some restaurants that may have once been your typical greasy spoon, but they’ve elevated their menu by a couple of notches. A great example of this is Red Wagon Cafe with its gigantic lineups on the weekends. You might also remember my visit to Tacofino Commissary earlier this year.
The interior can perhaps best be described as rustic but confused. There is a full bar that smacks you in the face as soon as you walk in the door, but just beyond that is a display case with a selection of today’s sandwiches. And that full bar with the vodka and whisky? It also has a cappuccino machine in there.
I suppose there is some resemblance to certain Italian bars, but with a name like Cozmos and with souvlaki on the menu, you’d think there was also a Greek influence. It really does feel like you’ve walked into a restaurant that may have been originally set up in ’70s or ’80s and never got updated.
But we weren’t there on a sunny Sunday afternoon for alcohol or souvlaki; we wanted brunch. There is a sign outside that says breakfast is served daily, but the menu makes mention neither of “all day breakfast” nor of any particular breakfast hours. Another thing that I found strange is that while the breakfast menu was presented in sheet-protected form, the lunch menu looked far more like a takeout menu. Clearly, they’re not here to impress me with their printed materials, but how is the food?
Eggs Florentine – The Hollandaise sauce could have been a little thicker, but I was otherwise very satisfied with my breakfast. The eggs were poached beautifully: warm and oozy, just as I like them. The spinach wasn’t as incredible, but I did really like the fried potatoes. They’re seasoned wonderfully and don’t need any ketchup. I was mostly using the potatoes to soak up the runny egg and Hollandaise mixture. I was also quite happy with the crispness of the English muffin underneath. All in all, this was a very good breakfast.
Turkey Sandwich with Chicken Noodle Soup – Susanne went for the “lunch” side of the brunch equation. Her turkey half-sandwich was served on grilled focaccia with Swiss cheese, tomatoes and a garlic mayo. She paired the sandwich with a cup of soup of the day, which happened to be chicken noodle soup. And yes, it was served in a cup. Again, the approach is very no-nonsense, but everything was prepared with skill and care.
If you’re looking for a meal that is wildly creative and inventive, this is not the place for you. If you want one of the classics done well and at a reasonable albeit not incredibly inexpensive price, though, Cozmos Restaurant is a safe and consistent choice for brunch. The total bill for the two of us–including a cup of coffee, tax and tip–came to about $25.