Today I was having brunch with my foodie family. Our group of like-minded food lovers and food writers ascended on “Ham and Eggman’s” in East Vancouver. An area I am familiar with, having grown up in it. The breakfast restaurant turns 1 in March, but before it the space belonged to a sushi restaurant. The rock garden with still water and live greens by the entrance spoke to that history.
Given their location and offering they serve their community well for brunch. An elementary school is near by and two adjacent lots are being cited for high rises in years to come. That and the already heavy residential neighbourhood gives them lots of potential regulars to pull in. And with larger portion sizes and an more exciting menu than at other breakfast spots, they are well on their way. Not to mention they are unique to the area, where majority of the established restaurants are asian in cuisine, they stand out as the only breakfast spot and internationally driven with their egg focused menu. Two points of pride for the owner, whom we were able to chat up during our visit.
The space is pretty straight forward with painted black walls and white furnishing. Seating is across a series of tables that can be pushed together for larger parties at either ends of the restaurant. We nabbed the one closest to the window of the best lighting. It gets pretty dark the further in you go.
The menu is easy to navigate with familiar breakfast items and a healthy description of what each dish is so that there are no surprises. The following is what we ordered, exploring savoury and sweet options as well as everything that had an international flare to it.
The “Sweet oatmeal” was a surprising favourite of the table. You don’t often think of ordering oatmeal when it is something you can easily make at home. But their sweet rendition was a wonderful addition to our breakfast buffet. It offered a nice buffer in between the more salty plates. The oatmeal resembled small beads, a different texture than what I am use to. It had an interesting mouth feel, along with the harder crunch of chopped nuts and sweet dried fruit.
“Ham & Eggmans” do their best to make everything in house, but give the lack of kitchen space they are forced to out source their bread and waffle needs. As such, their waffles are procured from “Patisserie Lebeau”. So they were good, but not as fresh as I have had them. It could also be that we didn’t get to eating them right away due to our little photo session, so they were at room temperature when we did. But with enough Chantilly cream, fruit compote and, maple syrup it didn’t really make a difference. I did like the addition of the small portion of hash browns that came as a side on the plate. I don’t often order sweet breakfast dishes because I want to start with some savoury before moving on to sweet as a treat. So this way you get to do just that. Plus their hash browns are amazing.
The hash browns are another point of pride for the “Ham & Eggman’s” team. They have worked on them, getting them to the crispy delights that they are now. Plenty of flavour in a golden brown shell that stays crunchy throughout the entire meal. Our group unanimously enjoyed them.
We were able to snag the last “Chicken and waffles” order, to my delight. Whenever I see this on any menu, I have to have it. Who doesn’t like Buttermilk marinated, boneless fried chicken served with sweet Belgium waffles, Chantilly cream, bourbon maple syrup, and a fresh fruit salad for good measure. Here, the doughy waffles made the ideal base for the juicy dark meat chicken. The chicken’s saltiness playing off well against the sugar crystals in the waffle; with m the bourbon syrup bringing it all together. I would order this one again.
The “Pork belly hash” was also pretty memorable. Crispy pork belly, asian greens, cabbage, shiitake, and Kennebec hash browns tossed in a gochujang bbq sauce. Then make more breakfast-y with two poached eggs. Sweet and salty asian flavours make this hash one of a kind. You do get quite a bit of pork belly, which maybe hard to discern, given how similar they look to the potato chunks. But biting down there was no mistake. Mostly fatty they are better with the other ingredients as a base. I wouldn’t want to commit to the whole serving myself, but a nice side to share.
They have a few options for their “Scrambles”, each with three eggs served alongside their kennebec hash browns and toast. We went with the “Mexican” version prepared with house made chorizo, fajita peppers, onions, aged cheddar, and topped with salsa and sour cream. This didn’t read Mexican for me. Maybe with more beans, a punchier chorizo, and zestier seasoning it would have. I did like it for what it was, and would have liked it rolled up into a breakfast wrap, with more of that sour cream sauce for dipping into. But you did get two halves of toast in you choice of either multigrain or sourdough. We went with the latter.
Similarly, there were a few choices for “Eggs Benedict”, each served on a toasted English muffins with perfectly poached eggs, their house made hollandaise sauce and more tasty hash browns. Upon our server’s suggestion we went for the one with the mix of wild mushroom and green onion. A delicious plate with the creamy hollandaise smothering the tender mushrooms, made further decadent with luscious yolks we broke into. This is another one I would order again.
The “Lomo Saltado hash” had Peruvian style marinated steak, fajita peppers and onions, grape tomatoes, and fresh herbs; all topped with two poached eggs. Another dish I wanted to wrap in a carb. The heavier fajita flavours also had me craving a sour cream or something else to brighten it up, like an avocado mash maybe?
The “Shakshuka” is a Turkish style spiced tomato sauce served with poached eggs, feta cheese, and fresh herbs. It comes with two pieces of toast for dipping into. Which would have been nicer with a thicker stew to scoop up, instead of the watery tomato mash to sop up. It also lacked flavour compared to the other dishes above. Here I would have liked some beef to help make the dish heartier.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Overall a really great option for breakfast in the community. And it is a treat to not have to drive all the way downtown for a modern breakfast platter. Fair prices for the portion sizes and the consistent quality. They definitely live up to their name with their perfect eggs. Don’t deny your cravings.
HAM & EGGMAN’s
3883 Rupert St, Vancouver, BC V5R 2G7