When I think of brunch spots, I don’t immediately think of Richmond as a destination, however “River Rock Casino” is about to change that with their introduction to brunch. As of March they have introduced Sunday brunch to their “Curve Lounge” menu, and today I had the opportunity to get a closer look at it all, dish after scrumptious dish.
This is part of “River Rock Casino’s” goal for the year ahead, to get back to entertainment with a food focused plan. The goal, to get visitors in for a fun night at the casino with live gaming and entertainment coupled with great drinks, to spend the night, then enjoy a comforting brunch the morning after. A “greasy morning breakfast after a night of indulging” featuring plenty of butter and carbs.
“Curve Lounge” is located in the foyer of the casino/hotel, just behind a set of ascending staircase. They offer happy hour specials, a late night menu with live music, an open patio during longer summer evenings, and now brunch on Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm.
Our morning began with some drinks, which included the launch of their build your own Caesar bar. Here, it is a choose your own adventure of spirits, rims, spices, and assorted house made pickled garnishes.
You begin by rimming your glass with lemon juice then follow it with either their house made steak spice, bacon bits, or a Parmesan black pepper mix. Next, you choose your liquor between vodka, tequila or gin. The bartender helps you with this part, adding ice over top. For now they only offer the Motts Clamato juice, with the hope of bringing more tomato based juices to their line up. You fill your glass then season with the classic Worcestershire sauce, cracked pepper, and chilli flakes (if you like).
And finally my favourite part: the toppings, where the world is your oyster. You can choose between two kinds of olives, dried sausages, bacon bits, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, celery, bacon strips, corn segments, pickled green beans, pepperette, jalapeño, dill pickles, cornichons and shrimp. Technically there are no limitations on stacking, and no restrictions on how many of each; but a good rule of thumb is, if you can’t carry it from the bar to your table you have gone too far.
However, if the decision making process is too much this early, just choose one of their premade creations. “The dark and dirty” features vodka with olive juice. “The social”, beefeater gin with a bacon Parmesan peppered rim. And “The little devil” features olmeca gold tequila with a spicy chilli flake rim, Tabasco, and jalapeño.
If you need something caffeinated to perk you up, they also offer Starbucks coffee from their pour over station. It’s best to ask for help from the staff here, as you can burn yourself.
The food portion of our meal began with a little treat from our chef. It isn’t on their brunch menu, but I think it should be added. These are “Okanagan Apple fritters” and they are available at the casino’s West A food court. They are squishy balls of dough with chunks of apple. Each is covered in a thick coating of melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar that sticks to your lips and coat your tongue. Half the fun is licking your fingers clean of its tasty cinnamon and sugar.
For those who like a sweeter breakfast “Curve” offers a “Cinnamon toast walnut crunch”. Dark rye French toast, cinnamon candied walnuts, whipped mascarpone, and brown sugar glaze. This was the brainchild of their cooking team embracing creativity. The chefs were asked to come up with some great ideas and this one “won”. Here, their dark rye sits and soaks in egg for two days. The use of rye is suppose to give it more chew, but I found the French toast soggy. Though this could have been because we waited to long to eat in order to take photos. I did however get the dark coffee notes that were described. This was an interesting twist, but I wanted more crunch from it, the walnuts although candied helped, but they left me wanting more of its texture and it’s sweetness.
My favourite dish was the “Curvalicious rancheros”, I found its presentation fun and the taste and textures most balanced. Farmhouse sausage, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, fried hen’s eggs and guacamole. (Note: I liked how their menu gussied up eggs by calling each a “hen’s egg”, fancy.) The tortilla is baked to a crisp and they stay that way through the duration of your meal. They ate like nachos with a dull spice. Saucy, crispy, fresh, and tangy. Light and hearty all at once. Great as a healthier breakfast option and even better as a late night snack, shame that it’s only offered 11-2:30pm on Sundays.
The name says it all. The “Hangover healer” is that greasy burger you want to eat after a night of heavy drinking. Shaved beef, bacon, fried egg, cheddar, and a bacon hollandaise sauce; all between two sweet buns from a local bakery. The buns made all the difference, it reminded me of Chinese style cocktail buns. Its sweetness paired well with the salted pile of meat, the freshness of the tomato, and the pickle for tang. All coated in the sumptuous, rich bacon hollandaise sauce that would continue to win me over below.
The “Proper butcher Bennie” was similar to the above, in richness and meatiness. But with two burger patties on a toasted English muffin, along with cheddar cheese, applewood smoked bacon, bacon hollandaise, fried tomato, and their kid Cali sauce. Served with a side of their brunch potatoes. It is also normally served with two fried eggs, but they gave us poached for a more visual sensation today. This was like bacon and eggs elevated in a convenient to eat hand held. And I say hand held because the English muffin was tough to cut into, much like the over cooked beef patty. But the bacon and hollandaise hides most of that behind its crispy and creamy tastiness.
The “Almost English breakfast” is for those who want a more fulsome meal. The traditional eggs, sausage, bacon, and brunch potatoes; but to it add roasted mushrooms, black beans, grilled tomato, and toast. All that was missing was some ham to make it a proper London breakfast. It was hearty assembly, yet healthy tasting. A very clean serving with no excess oil or grease. Even the bacon felt lean between your teeth. And the sausage dull with flavour, where you expected and wanted a fatty and zesty bite.
And for the vegetarians they do have you covered as well, we didn’t try it but they have a customizable dish called “The lousy hunter”. (I enjoyed the playfulness of its name.) Roasted seasonal veggies, brunch potatoes, black beans, house roasted pepper sauce, crisp tortilla, pico de gallo, guacamole, and a fried hens egg should you choose.
In between courses we snacked on their bowl of “Curve social nuts”, served in the lounge at night. A mix of corn nuts, peanuts, and rice cracker seasoned in a barbecue sauce.
And for dessert our heavy feast ended in a plate of fresh fruit and one bite desserts. Although this is only available through their banquet and catering options. On top of a rainbow of gold flake topped tropical fruit this platter also included chocolate truffles, lemon tarts, chocolate mousse cups, and chocolate covered strawberries. Only the macaron are not made in house.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
“River Rock Casino” now gives traditional brunch seekers a new place to visit when in Richmond. Come for the game play and stay for the breakfast the morning after. Don’t deny your cravings.
River Rock Casino Resort
8811 River Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3P8