Brunch at Tableau Bar Bistro for Classic French Fare with a Modern Edge
Image by C. Tse
Enjoy a modern take on classical French bistro fare at Tableau Bar Bistro
Tableau Bar Bistro is a rarity in Vancouver – there simply aren’t many places where you can breeze in for a Sunday brunch (at a civilized hour) and not have to wait in line
This will change quickly, I’m sure, but for now I do appreciate this little luxury. Nestled in Coal Harbour, but still close to the West End and downtown, Tableau is primed to cater to those to appreciate well-crafted and beautifully executed French bistro fare.
Tableau's Brunch Menu
The brunch menu is spectacular with a lovely mix of familiar traditional choices alongside unique creations that I’m sure will quickly become Tableau signature dishes. The menu was created by Chef Marc-André Choquette (Chef MAC), who has his epicurean roots firmly entrenched in French cuisine.
Chef MAC began his career in Montreal and went on to hone his culinary skills in France’s Michelin-star Restaurant Gill, and then returned to Canada in 1998 to work with Chef Rob Feenie in Vancouver’s much-lauded Lumière restaurant. During his eight years as Sous Chef, MAC played an integral role in Lumière’s elevation to a Relais & Châteaux property, earning countless accolades, and was part of Feenie’s team for his win as “Iron Chef America.”
As Executive Chef for Tableau Bar Bistro, chef MAC has crafted a menu rooted in simplicity and robust flavours. Close relationships with local suppliers have resulted in exceptional ingredients presented in clean, classic preparations reflective of chef MAC’s french background.
Brunch guests at Tableau Bar Bistro can expect to taste such classics as tuna Niçoise, croque monsieur et frites, and rabbit terrine, alongside unexpected modern surprises such as breakfast poutine (brilliant!), lobster Eggs Benedict and seared Steelhead trout with corned beef hash.
The morning I went, the lobster Eggs Benedict had already sold out long before I arrived, with the first seven orders taking the entire stock of lobster. But that’s the kind of place this is: Chef Mac will get fresh, off-menu ingredients when they’re available but only enough to ensure every dish gets the freshest taste.
But what I did have was delicious and soul-satisfying. Portions are healthy, to put it delicately; this rustic-yet-elegant fare really favours generous portions so come with a hearty appetite.
Authentic Poutine, Breakfast Style
There is very little to say about this dish except that you must try it. It’s the perfect meal for anyone who’s ever tried to justify fries as a plausible breakfast of champions. And make no mistake, this isn’t a gimmick based on the beloved Quebec dish. The frites alone are scrumptious – thick-cut and tasty. The gravy is authentic poutine gravy, for the purists. And the frites are intermixed with tender brisket and curds, with the entire plate topped off with a single, perfectly poached egg.
Mushrooms on Toast
Mushrooms on Toast sounds humble, if not even a touch boring, but don’t let the simple name and ingredients fool you. The mushrooms are plump, seasonally cultivated species that are rich with luscious umami flavour. They overflow a thick-cut slice of house-made fresh brioche topped with a fried egg. As delicious as the other brunch dishes were, this was by far my favourite one. I loved the simplicity in ingredients, which really highlighted a masterful technique in handling them in order to bring out such deeply satisfying flavours.
The Classic Moules et Frites
What respectable French bistro would be complete without the classic moules et frites? The ones at Tableau are prepared in a delicious pernod cream sauce with tomatoes, shallots and herbs. The broth is so tasty you’ll be glad for the generous portion of frites that accompany it. And in case it wasn’t already clear, the fries are a-mazing.
Steelhead Trout Hash
The steelhead trout hash is another example of a delightfully unconventional item that showcases Chef MAC’s love of local ingredients combined with a modern take on traditional flavour combinations. The trout is seared with a crispy skin, and perched atop a generous mound of potatoes and corned beef. The entire dish is topped with a perfectly poached egg and I recommend slicing into that egg and letting the rich yolk drizzle into the hash – heavenly!
Address: 1181 Melville Street, Coal Harbour, Vancouver, BC
Hours of Operation: Tableau Bar Bistro is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner service, as well as take out.
Brunch: Sunday 10:30am – 3:00pm
Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner: Monday to Thursday 5:00PM to 11:00PM, Friday and Saturday 5:00pm – 12:00am