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A brunch buffet without the buffet? Here's how a Vancouver hotel is re-inventing a tradition

With buffets a no-go these days due to the spread of COVID-19, restaurants known for weekend spreads are getting creative for brunch.
The new weekend brunch menu at Notch8 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver includes dishes like a smoked salmon avocado toast, single Eggs Benedict, shortrib with eggs, and more. Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

How do you start-up serving weekend brunch again after a long pause due to COVID-19...but your restaurant is known for having an epic buffet spread?

Well, if you're the team at Notch8 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, you sit down and figure out how to bring the brunch buffet to the tables. The result: A newly-launched mix-and-match style build your own brunch menu, featuring small, medium, and larger plates perfect for sharing and going all out, without having to get up and retrieve a single thing from any buffet line.

Weekend brunch resumed at the storied downtown Vancouver hotel on Nov. 7, and is offered Saturdays and Sundays in the Notch8 dining room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu was created by Chef Dennis Peckham, who has cleverly adapted brunch classics to suit the weekend midday meal tradition for these unusual times.

What's for brunch?

You can order up a single Eggs Benny from the "Small" category of the menu, saving you (and your table-mates, if you're sharing) room to try more of the restaurant's decadent creations. A stack of banana bread slices get the French Toast treatment, topped with whipped cream cheese and candied nuts - you'll find that leftovers-worthy plate under medium, alongside classic pancakes topped with an autumnal apple compote or Peckham's savoury signature dinner menu item, a beautiful bison carpaccio with blue cheese, hazelnuts, and chives.

brunch-notch8-hotel-vancouver-banana-bread-french-toastBanana Bread French Toast at Notch8. Photo: Lindsay William-Ross/Vancouver Is Awesome

On the bigger side are brunch dishes like a hearty portion of tender braised beef shortrib paired with creamy scrambled eggs and some cornbread, as well as a loaded avocado and smoked salmon toast crowned with a poached egg, and more lunch-y options like a soba noodle "power bowl" or a Crab Louie salad. Add-ons include sides of bacon, and the restaurants not-to-skip crispy fried nugget potatoes, which are kicked up with their in-house prime rib seasoning blend.

Of course, brunch for many isn't complete without some bubbles. In fact, it was the whole notion of sharing brunchtime bubbles with your "social bubble" that Notch8 had in mind when they revamped their weekend brunch, so naturally, mimosas and bellinis are available to enjoy at your table - the cocktails by the glass or straight prosecco or champagne by the bottle as well. 

Beyond the brunch: More from the hotel restaurant

Making brunch approachable for you and your bubble is one of the many ways Notch8 and the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver have been coming up with creative ways to keep customers visiting the restaurant since re-opening their doors this summer.

Afternoon tea fans can take heart that the legendary service is still available at the hotel, though they've taken it up to a ballroom so that tables can be safely spaced out, and tea sipped in elegant and historic surroundings. Plus, of course, we might not be travelling far these days, but the hotel is open for stay-cationers in search of a little getaway in the city. 

Notch8 take-out Thanksgiving meals were a big success, so expect to see more of the same for holiday feasts you can enjoy at home this Christmastime, as well as fun ways to bring their talented kitchen into your own home through take-away kits and more perfect for celebrations. Stay tuned as the venue reveals their menus and plans to help make the season as merry and bright as possible.

Notch8 is located at 900 W Georgia St at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver