Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even if you eat it late at night. There’s just something magical about some sort of pork product accompanied by a runny egg and a slice of toast. It doesn’t need to be particularly fancy to be fantastic, but it sure helps when you use quality, locally-sourced ingredients and prepare them in a more imaginative way. So, we made our way over to Fable Diner for Sunday brunch with our expectations high and our stomachs growling.
Fable Diner takes over the location of the old Reno’s Restaurant on East Broadway and Main Street. Reno’s was your classic greasy spoon with a rustic neighborhood charm. But the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant has changed considerably in recent years and continuing with the “gentrification” of the area is the opening of Fable Diner.
Created by the same Trevor Bird responsible for the incredible Fable Kitchen in Kitsilano, Fable Diner is a much more casual diner aiming to serve inspired diner fare. Come here during the day and you can expect burgers and the like. We can probably expect the menu to shift with seasonal availability of ingredients too.
But we were there for breakfast (technically brunch) and we were pleasantly surprised to see that we didn’t have to wait for a table. It was busy, but thankfully not piled out of the door.
Since Fable Diner is still quite new, we weren’t able to find a menu online ahead a time. I have a habit of scouting out what I think I might want to eat before I go anywhere. Going through the menu, you get standard classics like a two-egg breakfast, as well as dishes that might be described as hipster inspired like a peanut butter and bacon oatmeal. Curiously, the bennies are served on a scone rather than an English muffin.
The Heuvos Rancheros ($16) is your typical Mexican breakfast with refried beans, avocado, eggs any style, pasilla sauce, cilantro, pico de gallo and cheddar piled on top of a couple of tortillas. It doesn’t look like a particularly massive breakfast, but it is certainly hearty. For me, you really can’t go wrong with avocado and salsa.
I took a more decadent approach with the Loaded French Toast ($12). I was expecting this to arrive like a standard plate of French toast, perhaps with two or three slices of about an inch thick. What I got instead is was closer to the thick toast you might find at a bubble tea place, sans condensed milk.
In this case, the delightfully fluffy French toast (which tasted almost like banana bread) was topped with Nutella mousse, candied walnuts and sliced banana. Talk about a serious sugar and carbo-load. This is not something I could eat regularly. It’s just a nice treat to have, perhaps every few weeks. The Nutella mousse meant I didn’t need any table syrup.
The Truckers Breakfast ($14) is an extra large version of your more typical bacon and eggs. The bacon here arrived as a thick cut slab of pork belly, served with a couple of eggs, two slices of sourdough toast, a silver dollar pancake, homestyle potatoes and fresh jam. I really liked the wonderfully tender and salty bacon, but the pancake was a dense and hard rusk rather offering the light and fluffy texture I expected.
The Strawberry and Banana Milkshake with strawberry whip (I think it was $8) is hardly your typical breakfast beverage. It was served with the “refill” in the stainless steel cup. Thick, rich and creamy, this milkshake certainly gave my daughter a bit of a sugar rush.
Vancouver is home to a lot of great breakfast joints and Fable Diner has certainly earned its spot next to established favorites like Red Wagon Cafe. Expect to pay a premium over your typical greasy spoon, since you are getting more locally sourced ingredients and house-made concoctions. They just need to work on making a better pancake.
Either way, I’m sure I’ll be back for lunch or dinner one of these days.