Nu (brunch quickbite)

October 23rd, 2006 · 4 Comments

Nu Ext.Nu
Address: 1661 Granville St (map)
Phone: 604-646-4668

Quick Bite: Nu’s Worthy Jazz Brunch

By Jason Chin and Desmond Cheung
Food Writers

I love brunch as an opportunity to try a restaurant that might be slightly out of my price range. It’s also a great meal, situated such that one can wake up late, enjoy a big meal, and still have a good portion of the day afterwards to get some work done.

Unfortunately, it seems the supply of good brunches in Vancouver is dwindling. Aurora Bistro served a good one, but apparently, no more. A lot of the familiar institutions truly do not deliver as their lineups might suggest, in particular the large-scale breakfasts at Sophie’s Cosmic Café and heavy offerings at the Sunshine Diner. With this in mind, I was pleased to find that the versatile Nu happens to serve a brunch, a jazz brunch at that (perpend: Jazz is Sunday only), and even more pleased to find out that it does so quite aptly.

Nu is the very model of a modern nautical-themed restaurant: great service, a whimsical design well-suited to the menu, and great views. Situated literally inside of the local yacht club, which is cruise liner-shaped itself, the interior of Nu smacks of high-seas adventure. The design’s main plus is that it takes chances – you won’t confuse it and its lime-green fixtures for any other space in town. The drawback is its seating, the low-backed chairs proving highly uncomfortable.

pork belly and hashBut enough about the design and on to the food. On a recent visit, Desmond and I started with the signature fried oyster with a shot of Granville Island Lager ($3.90). I love this little dish as an amusé, whetting the appetite for things to come. The combination of the briny oyster with the crisp beer is inspired, and well, just fun. We also enjoyed a gratis hot chocolate and croissant, the beverage unfortunately defying its moniker, arriving warm. My main, the “pork belly and hash” ($9.90) was spot-on. I though it might be a little too heavy, but the fatty pork belly was cut very nicely by the olives and grain mustard. The French bread and poached egg (I could have used one more) bring everything together quite well, and promote the creation of little sandwiches. The menu consists of twists on brunch classics, such as an interesting brie and black truffle omelette ($9.90), as well as of dishes you might be more likely to expect at Nu, such as the lobster and shrimp crepes ($16.90). With respect to portion size, my pork belly dish proved quite hearty. I’d expect the rest of the menu to exhibit similar value.

Des chose the Navarin of Lamb Pithivier ($14.90), and he says:

I chose this as my main for several reasons: I thought it would provide a hearty follow-up to the crisp combination of fried oyster and beer; I was in the mood for lamb (one of my favourite meats); my friend had chosen the pork belly I had my eye on and I like a table of diners to try different things; I couldn’t pronounce the name of the dish. It turned out to be a well considered choice. Alongside the fine meat pastry there was a selection of sweet potatoes, yam, and onions roasted to a fine balance of full flavour and pleasing texture. (Even after just eating some wonderful Thanksgiving vegetables they tasted exquisite.) As for the core dish the lean lamb was tenderly cooked and its delicate seasoning enhanced the meat’s inherent flavour while contrasting nicely against the flaky pastry and the roasted vegetables. I’m not sure what the diced carrots were doing amid the lamb, although they did not detract from it either. I would add, however, that the lamb was perhaps too lean for my liking. A little fat with the meat would have added juice seeped with flavour without spoiling the pastry.

For overall value, brunch at Nu ranks pretty high. What’s not to like about a creative menu, one of the best views in the city, and free live jazz on a Sunday morning/afternoon? Oh yeah, there’s the intelligently designed cocktail list, more than a few consisting of house creations thought up by ex-bartender Jay Jones (he’s currently assistant manager at Salt). It’s truly a shame he’s no longer there to mix them. Regardless, whether you’re recovering from a rowdy night, or simply a value-hunting diner, Nu is a great option.

Nu on Urbanspoon

Tags: Modern Canadian · Quick Bites · Seafood

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Anne // Oct 23, 2006 at 8:36 am

    It would be useful if you gave an indication of prices rather than making us go to the NU webpage. Similarly a description of other menu items would give readers a better picture of what is on offer.

  • 2 Jason // Oct 23, 2006 at 9:46 am

    Thanks Anne,

    It is a quick bite, so more of a quick informal impression than a full review. Still, you make a good point. I will make those changes.



  • 3 Moogie C // Apr 10, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for the info. Three girl friends and I will be doing brunch this Saturday and I couldn’t decide between Nu and the Raincity Grill. It might turn out to be Nu, just for the parking.

  • 4 Jason // Apr 11, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks Moogie, I hope it helps! Please let us know what you think.

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