Food lovers now have two new tasty reasons to head to Vancouver's Entertainment District: Cold Tea Restaurant and Brunch Vancouver.
Cold Tea Restaurant occupies the former home of Tsui Hang Village Restaurant (1193 Granville Street), which also inspired its name. Tsui Hang was the Granville Strip hangout where you could order “cold tea” late at night: tea pots filled with beer.
The original opening for the swish new 130-seat restaurant (with a 14-seat wooden bar) was slated for March. the powerhouse team pictured the place abuzz with dim-sum carts by day and drink carts by night (for cocktails, not cold tea). COVID19 messed with those plans, but the restaurant’s time has come. After first launching takeout and delivery recently, it is now open for dine-in service (pandemic-style, of course, with the tableside service on hold for the time being).
You’ll find fresh takes on banh mi, bao (pork belly, pulled chicken, coconut-and-lemongrass tofu, and more), wontons, dumplings, pot stickers (shrimp and vegan verities), noodle dishes, wings, brochettes, spring rolls, wok dishes, crispy chow mein, salad bowls, char siu, pho, and congee…. The list of reimagined, contemporary Chinese and Vietnamese dishes goes on.
Then there’s Lai Fun Carbonara, the namesake noodles served with five-spiced cured bacon, cream, sous-vide egg, parmesan, green onion, and chili threads; and the Spliff: a roll with cucumber, jicama, mango, green apple, sweet peppers, mint, cilantro, chives, lettuce, and tamarind dipping sauce.
Here’s the lowdown on all-day dim sum: har gow, chicken paws, siu mai, BBQ pork buns, vegetarian bean curd, “Dicky’s Dumps (pork and chives, shrimp and scallop, or vegetarian) all go for $5 each.
The Cold Tea crew consists of owners Paul Rivas (of Bodega on Main and the Parlour) and Ron Cheng (who was general manager at Hapa Izakaya, The Parlour, Tap and Barrel) and chef Thien Vuong (who formerly worked at both of Rivas’s establishments), among other places). Former Minami bartender Joe Cheng, a partner, is curating the cocktail menu (which includes a 5-Spice Negroni) and bar list (complete with sake, sparkling, and mocktails).
An enormous abacus frames the entrance, while the original vases and huge chandelier from Tsui Hang are still there for nostalgia’s sake.
During the first two weeks of operations, the team donated 10 percent of all sales to Black Lives Matter.
More details are at Cold Tea Restaurant.
Mornings are the favourite time of day for Clementina Oliveras, who hails from Mexico City, and her Canadian-born husband, Ian Turnbull. So it made perfect sense for the couple to open Brunch Vancouver (1147 Granville Street) and serve all-day breakfast.
The two met in Mexico 16 years ago when Turnbull (a self-taught chef who ran the couple’s catering company and who makes his own pinatas) was on a surfing holiday. She completed her Master’s degree in sustainable tourism at NYU, and the two went on to build and operate a boutique hotel near Playa del Carmen for eight years. Food enthusiasts who love entertaining, the parents of two boys (aged six and eight) moved to Vancouver five years ago.
“We like welcoming people, and brunch always feels like a celebration of the day,” Oliveras says in an interview in the restaurant they renovated themselves to make it brighter and home-y. “We love mornings; they’re so cheerful. We wanted a breakfast place because that’s the part of the day we enjoy the most.”
Like the team at Cold Tea, the pair had planned to open earlier this spring, but… COVID19. While home-schooling their kids, they started doing takeout and delivery in early May and recently opened for dine-in service from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the former space of Twisted Fork.
Brunch Vancouver reflects the pair’s origins, with Mexican and Canadian daytime favourites.
Eggs Benedicts are served on a croissant with avocado and tomato; Huevos Rancheros is already one of their most popular items. Hard-to-find-here molletes are a traditional Mexican open sandwich with refried beans and melted cheese served ciabatta roll with pico de gallo; enchiladas Suizas consists of tortillas rolled up with shredded chicken and cheese and then served with a zesty salsa verde. There are ribeye, vegan, and Montecristo sandwiches, and, given that their kids are big fans of sweets for breakfast, they also serve French toast, pancakes, and crepes with toppings such as banana walnut, apple, pecan and cinnamon, and mixed berries.
Americanos, cappuccinos, lattes and the like are available alongside cocktails like Michelada—ice-cold Corona with Clamato and fresh lemon—and fresh-pressed Mimosas.
More info is at Brunch Vancouver.