A couple of blocks up from Gastown in downtown Vancouver lies the distressed brick building housing Catch 122. After reading numerous positive reviews and receiving excellent feedback from fellow foodies, I was excited to enter the quirky, low lit breakfast joint. The place itself is intriguing upon first glance. Chandeliers handmade from old wine bottles illuminate the rustic, barn-like décor, and the inspirational quotes plastered to the walls give you hope for a great meal. But after waiting twenty minutes at the door, that hope was slightly diminished. During this time, not one of the three employees came to say hello, two other frustrated patrons left, and six available tables were left naked. Not a great start.
After we finally took our seats, I observed the servers in action and noticed how unenthused they seemed about their jobs. They worked at half-speed, consistently left people hanging at the door, and neglected to announce the specials or give water to any new table. I hope they were just short-staffed that day, because if this is the level of service you always get at Catch 122, it definitely needs improvement.
Nevertheless, my desire for breakfast kept me in my seat; I was very excited about Catch 122’s farm-to-table concept and prayed the food fared better than the service. For coffees that morning, we decided to go a little fancy and ordered two alcohol-infused beverages. We were on holiday after all, so why not? My boyfriend ordered the Canadian Coffee, a combination of espresso, whiskey, maple, and cream. I optioned for the Wolverine, which was a mixture of espresso, chocolate, crème de menthe, and topped with froth. We were both satisfied with our choices but weren’t overly impressed. The maple flavour in the Canadian was overpowered by the whiskey, so it ended up tasting exactly like an Irish coffee. My Wolverine came to the table lukewarm and both the chocolate and mint flavours were very lacklustre.
I have to say that by this time the service and coffees were leaving me without much hope for the state of our meal. We waited quite a long time for our food. In fact, the table next to us received their second order before we even saw our breakfast. My only remaining wish was that Catch 122 wouldn’t destroy Brioche French Toast for me. Despite the malfunctions of the servers and bartender, it appears that at least the chefs know what they’re doing. The presentation was appetising, the brioche was fluffy and crisp, and the berries added a nice touch of acidity. Although I felt the dish was a tad small by Canadian standards (and a little cheap on the whipped topping), I really enjoyed this breakfast.
My boyfriend was also pleased with his choice – The Gastown Classic. Everything was amazingly fresh. The sausage and bacon were hearty and full of flavour, the potatoes were spiced well with crispy exteriors and fluffy interiors, and beans were excellent. From a glance, the eggs seemed a little overcooked, but otherwise it was a great meal.
In the end, Catch 122’s chefs saved what otherwise would have been a disastrous experience. I don’t want to say that we went on an off day, because I cannot excuse the low level of service we received here. Judging by what others have told me, I do hope that our experience was an anomaly. I certainly feel as if the place is aptly named. If you can put aside the other things and focus only on the amazing food coming out of the kitchen, you will leave satisfied.