After reading GoaGirl’s Wise Monkeys blog post last week on Chez Meme Baguette Bistro, I was really intrigued and wanted to try it while visiting Vancouver these next few weeks. I had originally planned to try it with my friend C next Saturday, since Chez Meme is open only for breakfast and lunch on weekdays and also on the second Saturday of every month. However, my scheduled changed unexpectedly and I ended up at Chez Meme yesterday for lunch.
Located in the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro is a tiny French cafe with only a handful of tables and a few seats at the bar. They are hugely popular and I would recommend making reservations if you do plan on going on a weekday. Unfortunately, they do not take reservations on the Saturdays when they are open. Since my plans had changed unexpectedly yesterday, I didn’t make reservations and we were lucky to secure the last table when we arrived there shortly after 11:30. Within a few minutes, the place was lined up out the door.
Chez Meme is famous for their baguette sandwiches which come with choice of daily soup, salad or fries as a side. My friend C ordered the From’ton ($8.75) with salad as a side. The From’ton baguette was filled with brie, warm poached pears, and roasted walnuts. My friend and I traded sandwich halves so we both got to taste each other’s baguette. In comparison to a similar sandwich that I tried at Finch’s Tea & Coffee House back in November – the Pear Baguette with Blue Brie, Prosciutto, Roasted Walnuts, Oil & Vinegar, I thought this version at Chez Meme was more impressive. The warm poached pear had a distinctive fragrant flavour that really made this sandwich memorable. I also liked how the warm pear melted the brie ever so slightly. The fresh baguette was light with a soft center and crusty exterior. For the salad, my friend had a choice of house made dijon or balsamic dressing. My friend C chose the house made dijon and the salad was dressed was just the right amount of dressing.
I ordered the Bourguignon ($10.50) and upgraded to a French onion soup for my side ($3 for onion soup upgrade). The Bourguignon baguette was filled with boneless braised beef short rib, caramelized onions, and horseradish. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender and so flavourful. The onion soup was topped with a gratinee consisting of baguette slices and Swiss cheese. This onion soup was perfect. It was light, yet flavourful and not too salty. It was easily one of the better versions of French onion soup that I ever had.
To me, Chez Meme is a true hidden gem. If it were not for GoaGirl’s post, I would not have known about this place. I’m usually not easily impressed but I was really impressed with our lunch yesterday. The food was very well-executed and there’s not an item that I wouldn’t order again. The owner was very friendly and I liked that the decor was not pretentious. I totally think it’s worth driving across town for and I can’t wait to go back again on my next trip to Vancouver. Though the food may seem rather simple at first glance, it is the quality of the ingredients and the extra care taken in the execution that actually make the difference in transforming seemlingly simple baguette sandwiches into something memorable.
Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings Street