Originally planning to go back to Deacon’s Corner this weekend, we actually ended up at The Red Wagon on Hastings in the Nanaimo region. We’d driven past it a couple of times, and thought it was high time we grab brunch there!
As we waited inside, we got to appreciate some of the neat retro decor – from rusty Coca-Cola signs as art to old safety lamps over the diner counter.
We were quite intrigued by the Pulled Pork Pancakes, which were featured during our visit (though not special priced, so I’m not sure what the “special” on the outdoor sign referred to) – because these seemed to be a more-sane version of the pulled pork pancakes from Deacon’s Corner, Chris ordered this dish.
Stacked three-high, the 4-inch cakes layered with house-smoked pulled pork did not make quite the visual impact we were expecting (in fact, we did see several other folks who ordered this dish do a double take). After being surprised at the smallish size of this dish, the next thing you notice is the distinctively bourbon-y Jack Daniels maple syrup that is served warm on the dish. The flavours were excellent – they clearly know how to do pulled pork, but it was hard to get over the presentation/size. Serving this dish in a large oval plate made it look smaller than it was – perhaps not layering might be a better option; or serving a small side of baked beans, grilled peppers or tomatoes, or even an apple slaw would help fill out the dish and add some contrasting flavours, textures and colours.
I definitely picked a bigger meal with the Crisp Pork Belly (which, notably, was $1 less than Chris’ dish). The confit pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth perfect, with just enough meat to not be scary. My over-medium eggs were done perfectly, though I was surprised by how spicy the salsa verde was that came drizzled on them. The chunky hashbrowns were great, with potato skins left on, just as I like them, and while this dish was good enough on its own, the extra hollandaise was a luxurious inclusion. I did end up sharing my toast with Chris, and I liked that jam was served in dollops in side dishes (rather than in plastic packets).
I enjoyed our brunch there, and I think we’d return for lunch sometime. I hope that my comments re: the pulled pork pancakes are taken into consideration, especially since this is clearly an item they pride themselves on at this neat little restaurant – I would hate for customers to leave disappointed.
Service was good throughout the meal, though I think we may have given off signals that we were ready to leave before we really were – table clearing occurred before Chris had finished his last cup of coffee. Debit (and probably credit) accepted.