Do you know who Doris Freedman is? She is the lunch lady in the cafeteria of Springfield Elementary where Bart and Lisa Simpson attend school. If you are still puzzled, you’ve been deprived as a child. She has engraved what a cafeteria is for my childhood. You get a tray, and move down the line until Doris scoops you a pile of mysterious food. Not so at Meat and Bread. The food is good!
I guess times have changed or cartoons are not true reflections of reality. I am in Gastown for a late lunch at Meat and Bread. There is a huge lineup outside and I just can’t call myself a foodie any longer if I haven’t tried it. I peak inside and to my right is a magnetic board of the menu. There are a few choices in sides and even fewer for mains. I was concerned that I had to make a choice for lunch but was even more afraid of making the wrong decision. They have eliminated that problem since you don’t really get to choose.
Slowly but surely we’ve moved inside. Loud music with base is playing and the crowd was exciting. There was a bunch of guys behind the counter. Some of them have inked sleeves, most of them had a certain swag about them. They were cutting this huge piece of meat, and it would’ve been a sin no to order whatever they were making. In fact, I ordered the sandwich by pointing to the meat. Let’s take a stab into what we ordered.
Porchetta with Salsa Verde: Huge piece of pork slowly roasted, with a herb sauce stuffed into it. The juicy and fatty meat was so good. I had a hard time keeping the juice from drooling from the side of my mouth. I almost forgot to mention, there was bread too. If they ever ran out of bread, just serve me the meat.
Duck: Orange Cranberry Glaze, Cracked Pepper, Balsamic Onion Puree, Mixed Leaves. Very subtle taste of the orange cranberry glaze and balsamic puree, the star of the sandwich was the duck. Very generous serving of stripped duck meet aided by the sauce and mixed vegetables.
Beet Salad: I hate beet because of a certain raw vegetable taste much like raw celery. M&B did a fantastic job of reducing that taste, so I can enjoy it. The cilantro gave this salad a lot of depth as well.
For Beverage, we had Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, and Fentimans Victorian lemonade. The Amber Ale is local to Kelowna, and frankly nothing special. It tastes like Granville Island Brewery’s with different package. I will admit right now that I am not a beer expert, I just drink it. The lemonade was also nothing special. I do appreciate the fact that it’s made the old fashion way. The last thing I want is radiation green sugar water. I will rely on absinthe for that next time I visit Amsterdam.
Meat and Bread Bacon Ice Cream Sandwich: Everyone is freaking out about this one. OMG! BACON IN ICE CREAM! That’s the coolest thing EVER! Calm down everyone, it’s nothing special. I had a hard time telling the difference between regular ice cream and bacon ice cream. I guess the difference is that this sandwich lacked bacon. It was like I am a pirate and the bacon was the treasure. Except I am not Johnny Depp and all I found was a shoe in the treasure chest.
To sum up Meat & Bread, it’s a mix of a retail store, successful marketing experiment, and cafeteria. Who wouldn’t want fat and juicy pork after lining up outside for the last 30 minutes? Boxing gloves hung on a punching bag? They’ve made Rocky proud. They have better installations than Livestock, the premier street wear retailer just down the street. I applaud Meat and Bread for their marketing ideas, and simple restaurant concepts. I know successful restaurants have fewer choices on the menu but 2 features and a couple of other choices? Brilliant! I love that take it or leave it attitude. If you feel inpatient about lining up, move over so I can get my grub on faster.
370 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N3