Lift Breakfast & Bakery was a straight 10/10 for me, even though the place can get quite hectic. I still liked the place even though on more than one occasion we’ve been told that something we specifically wanted to order wasn’t available that day (waffles and the hash – two big items on a relatively small menu). I was willing to be forgiving even though one of the poached eggs in the Breakfast 101 plate came out more like a hard boiled egg. All that aside, my Mom and I LOVED this place. We were coming here at least once a week since it opened. We’ve eaten our way through most of the menu and have thoroughly enjoyed every visit. Now? Not so much – read on to find out more.
Location: 101 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver BC
Best of luck finding parking in this neighbourhood, it’s like the bloody hunger games, except for with more soccer moms that will shank you over a 60 minute stall.
Environment: Crowded, busy and somewhat of a clusterfuck. Although this place tends to have a constant stream of people coming in, I’ve never had any issues finding a table. However, on more than one occasion I’ve literally had people poach our table (aka throw down their order number on our table as soon as we even motioned to get up out of our seats) but luckily, we’ve never had to resort to such desperate behaviour. I get it Lift, you’re good, you’re popular (and new), and have limited seating. Guess who else has all of the above? Jam Cafe! Guess who has managed to figure out crowd control without making it awkward af for its customers? Jam Cafe!
Service: 2/5 (For the record, I just want to say that service has usually been at least a 4/5, every single time but the experience we had on our last visit was enough to put my Mom and I off this place – for good)
At Lift, you snag a table first (bring a jacket!) and then order at the till at the front, grab your order number and place it on your table when you sit back down. The service is always super friendly and cheery at the front till. I usually end up forgetting to bring the number with me to the table (new systems can take time to cement themselves in my brain lol) but one of the servers always kindly brings it over. The food usually comes out of the kitchen quite quickly too – which is great!
Not so great, however, was basically being rushed out of the door by a new server who interrupted my Mother and I’s convo to loudly exclaim that he was going to need us to leave because it’s really busy and people are waiting for a table. Woah woah woah bro, slow your roll. First of all, our plates had literally JUST been cleared – we weren’t exactly loitering. I was still drinking my coffee and my mother was debating buying some bread before we left. Not to mention, this was a belated Mother’s Day brunch and he abruptly cut off our convo, which we both remarked was rather rude.
I can totally understand that the place is busy and people want seats but if you expect us to drop the fork after our last bite and run out the door, you’re asking too much. Secondly, the way that he approached us and basically told us to get out was rude and frankly quite embarrassing. The people at both tables next to us were staring at him and then at us like “well that was pretty awkward”. I was honestly shocked, nothing like that has ever happened to me at a restaurant before. Not in Seoul or New York or Paris or anywhere else I’ve had the pleasure of dining. As both my mom and I were totally turned off (and quite offended) we just got up and left, didn’t finish our coffee and certainly didn’t go back to the front till to buy any bread.
It really made me think twice about coming back to spend $60 on a breakfast when I’m basically booted out the door the second I’m done eating. If you have a problem with turnover, that is on the restaurant to deal with, not the paying customers. Thanks to that rude demand by the server, you have lost two regulars who do more than order a latte and a scone every time they come in.
With that being said, the food is good (and usually, so is the service). And it’s available six days a week (closed on Tuesdays) so you don’t have to wait for the weekend to brunch.
Dish/$$: (I haven’t put the price because I’ve actually never gotten a receipt here so I’m not really sure what I ended up paying for certain things) *average visit for 2 people ordering coffee, mimosas & one brunch plate per person = $60 (inc. tip)
Bacon Eggs Benedict
Really good version of eggs benny. The eggs were perfectly poached, the hollandaise was delicious and not too heavy, bacon was cooked well and had just a hint of maple sweetness. I also really enjoyed how the eggs were served on a potato rosti, as opposed to the usual english muffin. One of the better bacon bennys I’ve had.
I actually wasn’t a huge fan of this dish. The house-made sausage was recommended by the server at the till but I much prefer their bacon. The poached eggs maybe weren’t the right choice (the fried eggs at the table next to us looked much better) as one came kinda medium poached and one came basically hard boiled. The toast was dry, very light on the butter (if they used any at all). I didn’t think to order jam when I ordered my meal, which would have helped – or they could just serve it with the dish, by default. The potato rosti was delicious though.
The French Toast with pecans, caramelized apples and bacon was great. I didn’t think I would like the heavy slabs of sourdough toast being used as the base but I liked how it really absorbed the egg mixture. The pecans and apples were really tasty too, not just an afterthought sprinkled onto the plate. The generous serving of bacon was perfectly crisped and seriously addicting.
Spinach, Tomato & Boursin (?) Breakfast Sandwich – add bacon
This was a good breakfast sandwich but to be honest, it’s nothing that wouldn’t be easy to recreate. The menu lists one of the ingredients as Boursin but I’m pretty sure the spread on the english muffin was actually pesto, which I was more than happy with. Why this item has such a high price point (actually – I’m pretty sure when I ask for an add-on of bacon to this sandwich, they charge me for an entire side order of bacon, which would be way more than one piece…), I do not know. Good but nothing great – I’d rather make it at home.
This dish was probably my second favourite thing I’ve had there, after the eggs benedict. The omelette was flavourful and cooked well. The toast was nice and soft and chewy that day. They also buttered it this time and I remembered to ask for a side of jam so I found their sourdough quite enjoyable, as opposed to dry and tough. The potato rosti was really good, as always. Hearty start to the day, I would recommend this dish.
Bonus – Mimosas
I had no idea they had mimosas until I saw someone at the table next to us order them (to the best of my knowledge, this drink is not written on the menu). I love all mimosas but these were really tasty and had a good amount of bubbly in them.
Final thoughts: After having pretty much eaten our way through most of the menu – with the exception of the Hash and the Waffles – I think it’s safe to say that the Bacon Eggs Benedict is the star of Lift. The other dishes were enjoyable and there was only one that I didn’t really like – the Breakfast 101 but the Bacon Benedict was really, really good. It’s a bit too hectic of a place to come for a casual coffee and pastry catch-up with a friend so I think ordering breakfast is your best bet. However, I was really surprised and disappointed by the rude service on our last visit and doubt I will return. I was so excited to have this place in the neighbourhood and now I’m just feeling salty about spending my money there – le sigh.