While visiting family and friends in Vancouver, I’m enjoying some great vegetarian and vegan restaurants which are more difficult to find in Spain. After hearing about The Acorn on Main Street on a vlog by Lauren Toyota of hot for food, I stopped in for brunch with two of my best friends.
The Acorn boasts that “even the staunchest meat eaters leave fully satisfied”. Mains run around $15 each, and for the artistic flair and creativity that goes into these dishes, it seems more than fair.
Our enthusiastic and friendly server immediately greeted us with complimentary sparkling water – the simple detail put a smile on our faces. Of course, brunch just wouldn’t be brunch without getting a little tipsy on generously boozy mimosas. The dried orange wedge that decorated the glass added a cute vintage touch.
Perhaps I am spoiled by Spain’s tapas culture, but I always crave something to nibble with my drink. As if she had read my mind, the waitress brought us complimentary sourdough bread. The butter was flavoured with caramelized pear, fine chocolate shavings and mint. I was skeptical of a sweet butter, but the taste was subtle and not at all dessert-like.
What we ordered:
Our first dish was “Artichoke”: Southern-style fried artichokes and pickled shallots atop a homemade waffle in a bath of mushroom gravy and drizzled with maple syrup. It’s a vegan dish, but we opted for a poached egg on the side. The artichokes were crispy on the outside and melted in our mouths – divine! The savoury gravy combined with sweet maple syrup was surprising, but delicious. I will definitely try to recreate this at home!
Eggs on Toast
The next dish was simple, scrambled eggs on a thick slice of country-style toast. The addition of dill cream cheese and tomato purée distinguished it from the basic breakfast you would make at home, but it was outshone by the more innovative dishes that we enjoyed.
The Beggars Banquet was the most visually impressive dish on our table: layers of fried grits, smoked Portobello mushroom, beefsteak tomatoes and sun-dried tomato pesto atop cashew sour cream. On the side was pickled corn with lemon and basil buttermilk. The juicy vegetables paired well with the mealy texture of the grits. None of us wanted to share, it was that good!
Finally, how could we resist the vanilla almond beet cake? It was a very complete (and vegan!) dessert which came with a chocolate hazelnut ganache, sponge toffee, beet crumb and sweet sorrel sauce. The cake was spongy and faintly sweet, but not over-the-top. The sponge toffee brought me back to eating crunchie bars from my trick-or-treating hauls on Halloween. Since the cake was dense, I feel a light chocolate mousse instead of the ganache would have balanced the plate better. The sea foam green of the sweet sorrel sauce was pretty, but it didn’t seem to serve any other purpose.
This was by far my favourite meal while back home. The brunch prices are average by this city’s standards, but the portions are good and ever so beautifully plated. Like many restaurants of this type, they are well-informed in regards to allergies and intolerances, and ready to make substitutions. I highly recommend The Acorn in Vancouver to any veggie or veggie-curious foodie for a fancy meal that won’t break the bank.
3995 Main St, Vancouver, BC
V5V 3P3 Canada