|The line up at Cafe Medina|
Another indicator that assured us we were at the right place was the mass of people standing around on the sidewalk. Cafe Medina is known for long line ups. Just earlier that Sunday, my best friend's mom was going to take us there for brunch but we were told over the phone that there was a 1 hour and 45 minute wait... So we went to Phnom Penh instead, you should check that uber popular restaurant out too!
The first thing to do when arriving at a busy restaurant is to put yourself on the waitlist as soon as possible. Those one or two tables that wrote their names down two seconds before you did will make a big difference when growling stomach syndrome begins. The waitlist is on a very narrow clipboard that is hung on the doorframe inside the restaurant. There should be a pencil on the counter next to it.
We arrived at 10am on a Friday and waited 45 minutes. It was a very long 45 minutes as I got hangry beginning at 10 minutes into my wait time. I understand that the restaurant is small, very small. There were many groups of two (like us) waiting so I suppose that was part of the reason for the long wait. A lot of people bought a latte to drink while waiting and some people come just to get a latte to-go. Many tourists also visit Cafe Medina, that's how famous it is.
|Cafe Medina Brunch Menu|
When we finally got seated, we were given ice water and a menu. Even though it was a Friday, a brunch menu was given to us. Maybe since it's summer, brunch is served on extra days? Twisted Fork Bistro is doing so. I already knew I was going to get the Paella but my brother was rather ambivalent. He said he wanted something 'heavy' so I suggested the Les Boulettes, spicy lamb and beef meatballs with two poached eggs. One thing I didn't expect, was that the prices were more expensive than listed on their website. About a dollar more for each entree item. Not a lot, just something I noticed.
|Waffles ready to be served|
Their waffles are very famous, but as I was waiting, I noticed they were not made to order and therefore, probably served room temperature. I read on Follow Me Foodie that the waffle batter is from Damien's Belgian Waffles in Richmond. That kind of takes the 'special-ness' out of the waffles. So, I saved my waffle quota for later in the day to spend at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar (posts here and here).
|Lavender Latte (8 oz. for $3.85)|
|Top: Paella, Bottom: Les Boulettes|
Les Boulettes - Three large meatballs floating on a large serving of thick tomato stew. My brother said it was more like sauce than stew, as it was quite thick. A side of hummus was also included. Whether the grilled foccacia was for dipping into the stew or spreading hummus on, I'm not sure. The potent flavours of every element of the entree kept my brother from finishing it. The stew (or sauce) was so packed with spices it wasn't possible to eat by the spoonful (not that they provided you with a spoon). Nor can you eat hummus by the spoon... The meatballs were juicy and also very flavourful, but after a few bites the inside of our mouths were just lingering with spices so it was rather difficult to pinpoint what the tatse was. My brother said that it this dish was tasty but the spices were so powerful he got tired of it quickly.
Would I recommend this restaurant? Not reeeeally. (gasp!) Majority of people probably would, giving Cafe Medina's food rave reviews, but the it didn't blow me away. There are other restaurants I would recommend before this one. The common con from myself and the brother was that the flavours were too strong, it made our mouths call for water to dilute it a bit. Prices are very reasonable and portions are plenty, but the food was just not worth our nearly one hour wait. I felt like a simple breakfast sandwich from Yolk's a few steps away would have left a better impression.
Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡