I racked my brain on where to take Papa Fury for his birthday brunch this year. We wanted somewhere with more zest than plain ol’ eggs benedicts. One night, while enjoying some cocktails at Market‘s bar at the Shangri-La, I noticed fun Asian-influenced bar snacks such as a snapper nigiri on a seared rice cake. Hmm… this is something my parents would enjoy, I thought.
So on my dad’s birthday, we ducked from the rain into their spacious room and were seated at the comfy banquettes. As much as my parents appreciated the setting, they were more intrigued at the menu. We each ordered an array of dishes from their prix fixe brunch menu, priced reasonably at $35.
From the traditional brunch items, we chose the crab cake, French toast, the short-rib poutine for my dad. The crab cake was fluffy and had a beautiful sear on the outside. A bed of springy pea shoots and snap peas provided crunch and brightness.
The poutine was a classier version of Canada’s favourite late-night indulgence. The runny yolk mixed with the short-rib’s juices to create a flavourful gravy that soaked into the pulled short-rib and home fries.
Of the three, the mountain of brioche French toast was our favourite. Good thing there was three of us to share it. Not only was it deep-fried to the brownie colour (which I initially thought was rye) it was also topped with bacon crisps and caramelized apples. Crunchy on the outside, pillowy on the inside, this sweet and savory French toast was warm Maple Syrup’s best friend, and ours.
For our lighter courses, we selected fish dishes from the Asian spectrum of the menu. The salmon sashimi with Thai basil oil, topped with cherry tomatoes was an easy crowd pleaser. Hand-chopped tuna tartare on avocado is common fare nowadays but the chef spiced it up with a balanced sweet and sour sesame sauce. These raw dishes may seem out of place but we actually appreciated the contrast to the richer dishes.
The clear winner was the beautifully seared seed-crusted ling cod on a sweet and sour broth, perfumed with Thai basil and lemongrass. The succulent fish swam among juicy tomatoes, pearl onions, edamame, and young potatoes. Lovely.
We were all very full by the time the desserts rolled around but we endured. Chocolate lovers would fall head over heels with their velvety and aromatic chocolate pudding with crystallized violets. The scoop of peanut ice cream stole the show from the accompanying chocolate and vanilla crème glacées.
The strawberry-yuzu tart had a fine balance of sweetness, tartness, and citrus. I loved the fresh passionfruit seeds’ “pops” but found the crust a tad thick.
As a switch from predictable mimosas, I suggest trying their housemade sodas. They are concocted from fresh, seasonal ingredients like blueberries. In particular, I adored the vibrant and refreshing cherry-yuzu soda. I wonder if they incorporate that into the cocktail menu too.
My family thoroughly enjoyed the non-traditional brunch with punches of Southeast Asian flavours. Happy birthday, dad, and thank you for passing on your food-loving genes onto me :)