Back in May, the trendy OZ Kafé on Elgin introduced its Sunday Hangover Brunch. The owner confided in The Waffle that the goal was to attract the same branché clientèle who visited them the night before and who enjoyed a few “Pretty in Pinks” too many – a signature martini at OZ, which, I must add, was invented years ago by my wife and her then roomate Tara.
So OZ’s Hangover Brunch is offered starting at 2:30 PM: “We do not want to compete with the places offering the traditional brunch on Elgin, we want to offer something different,” added Oz herself. Hence, people are invited to get brunchfaced, all the way to 9:00 PM – which means, of course, that if you do not want to get brunchfaced, you shouldn’t go on Sundays as their regular menu is not available.
Whitout having had the pleasure of visiting Oz Kafé the night before, I still followed the “Pretty in Pink” inventors in their mid-afternoon brunch adventures with some Halifax’ come-from-aways.
The place was busy but not packed, so we were able to grab a quiet corner in the back. The owner seemed genuinely happy to see us and made sure we were comfortable, coming to check on us regularly. The Hangover Brunch menu is limited but varied: you’ve got your fench toast (with pork), your steak & eggs, your pancake (with smoked trout), your fritatta and some tacos.
Tacos? Yes, tacos. Two Tacos, in fact, which were calling my name. Tara ordered them first, and then claimed that I couldn’t order the same thing someone else had already ordered. I somehow managed to ignore her. Joel, attracted by the Smoked Trout, went with the Korean Potato Pancake, despite Mel’s warning that the chant of the Trout Siren was hiding Kimchi, which is, as she put it, a cabbage left to rot underground, “but that’s surely not how they did it here”. Surely not.
Mel and Shauna ordered the Pig on a Mattress.(Above). The Mattress in question is a French Toast, the Pig in question is pulled pork and two slices of thick bacon. The dish is completed with drapes of cinnamon yogurt and, of course, maple syrup.
The pulled pork was tasty, the bacon thick, smoky and not too salty. Mel said that it was very yummy, especially the pulled pork mixing with the syrup.
The Two Tacos were simple corn tortillas, fried flat, with melted cheddar, thick house bacon, guacamole, pickled scapes and a house mayo. The dish was garnished with fresh cilantro.
Looking at it, I knew immediately it needed a little help from a loyal friend: Joe Tabasco! I asked for some hot sauce, and the owner herself was more than happy to oblige promptly, bringing me a full bottle of traditional Tabaso, and the sauce rained on my tacos. Now, they were ready to be consumed.
First thing I did, I unflatened them. They didn’t crack, but gently bent as I folded them into shape. a sign that the tortillas were not only fresh, but also not overdone. The filling was a nice combination of textures and flavours. I do like my tacos generally more meaty, and if the pickled scapes gave the tacos a little zest, it didn’t fill up the space entirely. The bacon, even as thick, crispy and juicy as it was, was also not filling the space. The cheddar was completely melted, almost caramelized and had a nice sharpness. The guacamole was an honest rendition, and the mayo added even more creaminess with significant herbiness.
These Two Tacos were no Huevos Rancheros, but they were quite good. The chef decided to highlight flavours and textures, and every bite worked. I mostly wish I had ordered two rounds, as the portion was quite small – there is a need for more protein or more tacos. Though at 8$, it is the cheapest option available on the menu. The solution may lie in offering the tacos in twos, threes or fours, to content any appetite, or perhaps offer to add some pulled pork., in order to make them more decadent, as a hangover brunch should be.
Talking of hangover, nothing cures one like the hair of the dog that bit you. Oz Kafé generously features some brunch cocktails to complement your meal. Around the table, folks enjoyed Mimosas, Greyhounds and Caesars. One could also have gone for a Roto, a Sidecar or a Red Eye. As for me, I went for a Pepsi. What? I wasn’t hungover, I told you.