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Sula, brunch

When I heard that my favourite spot for Indian cuisine had a new brunch menu, I was quick to make reservation. And the little snow we got this week was not going to stop us from making it in.

The warmth of the restaurant is always welcoming, thanks to its amber glowing lights, trickling waters from their indoor pond feature, and the lush greenery than ensnares the tables by the window; which also happens to be my favourite seat.
We had to start with their interpretation of brunch-time classics cocktails.

Their Masala Caesar was a great idea, but having tried many Caesars in my lifetime I found this one lacking. The tomato juice was flat, there was no seasoning or spice, no traditional use of clam juice and no hint of masala, just an overwhelming flavour of lemon. Similarly, there was no spice in the rim, just salt, so not even a sip from the right place could save this glass. And then there was the matter of the lack lustre garnishes, a hallmark of a Caesar left on the wayside. Here, they too could have added their own ethnic flare, an opportunity missed. Maybe a mini skewer of samosas or even a pakoras, something to have it catch my eye and lure me to ordering it, for the drink that eats like a meal, as it is known to be

The Strawberry mimosa had a lot more flavour, but was nothing like a mimosa. It was not effervescence with bubbles or fizz. The strawberry syrup made it more like a party shot you throw back, it drinks like liquid candy, and not something complimentary to the meal to come. It also looked like the liquid you put into the fridge before it hardens into jello. Maybe this recipe should be turned into a jello shot instead?

And for something warm we looked to the Amarula chai latte, although it arrived at the table luke warm. It tasted like an espresso and milk latte. We were missing the warmth of fresh ginger and the iconic flavours that would have classified this as chai. The issue was probably the use of Amarula, which became a dominating flavour in the mix, and left the cocktail tasting like flat milk.

We eagerly moved on to food, to push the drinks aside.

Starting with the Bhurji, which was like an Indian take on scrambled eggs with Garam Masala, Roasted Onion and Cilantro; served with your choice of Grilled Buttered Pav Bun or Toast, Tomato Chutney & Masala Fries. You assemble everything like a breakfast sandwich and the buttery soft bun really ties it all together. Savoury egg, tangy sauce, and fresh onion; this made a decent start to the day with the savory spiced fries. Simple, yet comforting.

The Lamb Seekh Kebabs were 2 Tandoor Grilled Spicy Lamb Sausages served with Tamarind Chickpea Masala, Tangy Tomato Chutney, and more Masala Fries. It also came with your choice of Garlic Naan or Grilled Buttered Pav Bun. The sausage was well seasoned, although I was not a fan of their dry and crumbly texture. When I think sausage, I think thick and juicy. Whereas these were more like a loaf and would have been better served as a ground mix of some sort. Another element to build a makeshift sandwich with, along side the chickpeas. I liked all the flavours and their attempt to make the assembly look like a breakfast platter. but I don’t think it necessarily flowed with the toast. Maybe if they cracked a sunny side up egg on it? Or better yet, add in a congee/porridge-like mixture as the base to have with the sausage and chickpeas? In hindsight the garlic naan would have been a better choice over the plain toasted white bread.

I did like how the order of Punjabi Tandoori Paratha came together. This was like a dipping platter, a great collection surrounding Stuffed Whole Wheat Bread, that is typically served for breakfast in India. It is accompanied by a Spicy Achar, Yoghurt, and Masala Chickpea & Mint Chutney. Savoury with touches of spice, tangy freshness, and tartness depending on how you self-curate each bite. I preferred it simply the bread dipped into yogurt. I found the pickles so salty that it put me off.

We ordered the Bombay Potato Sandwich, but was served the Vada Pav Sliders instead, so ate it thinking the former was the latter. It was not until I posted my meal on IG stories was I corrected by the restaurant, so therefore please take the following review written as we ate, with a grain of salt.

This was soft on soft. Soft filling sandwiched in between a soft bun, where my mouth was left craving for a varying texture. Some crunch or a crisp. As a result, this was mostly left uneaten, as the least exciting of all that we had. I ended up going home to remake each, adding the salsa-like chutneys from the other dishes above, some of the raw strings of beets that was used as garnish for a more solid texture to maw through, some of the mirco greens for freshness, and the ground sausage above. As is, the potato and egg together felt like a lacking patty, you needed a featured ingredient to tie everything to it. This had no depth as it was originally served. I also sound some cream cheese spread helped too.

For reference the Bombay Potato Sandwich (which we wanted) is a Classic Street Food from Mumbai with Mashed Potato, Roasted Cumin, Cilantro, Sev, Green Chili served with Masala Fries & Chutney. And the Vada Pav Sliders (which we got) had Cucumber, Onion, Tamarind & Date Chutney, Mint Chutney, Indian Buttered Pav Bun, and is served with Masala Fries

And if you are like a bit of sweetness for your breakfast, look to the Fig Rasmalai Crepe. Crepe Stuffed with Rasmalai, Chopped Figs, Vanilla Whip, topped with Banana, Cardamom, and Jaggery Syrup. This was a fun twist on Indian sweets and one that was well thought out and executed. This I liked and would recommend. It ate like a milky light dessert with pistachio notes, a floral essence, and sweetness from figs. The assembly was made modern fusion with the addition of white chocolate chips and fresh fruit. Be sure to start with this one or save some room for it as dessert.

In summary, I still consider Sula one of the best places for Indian cuisine in the Lower Mainland, although now know I am not a fan of their brunch. There were far too many misses for me, where dishes felt in complete and in-cohesive in theme; and mismatched in flavour, with no consideration for textures. I walked away wishing we just had butter chicken for lunch instead.

Sula Commercial Drive
1128 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X2, Canada
+1 604-265-7493

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