Molli Cafe is an unassuming Mexican “loncheria”. You’ll find it tucked next to the Esso gas station on Burrard St. just south of Davie St.. The menu sees a short taco/torta selection with a chalkboard of daily specials boasting a rotating roster of simple dishes packing wallops of flavour. An exemplar would be their staggeringly rich lamb consomme which makes an appearance every Saturday. The central-Mexican soup – loaded with slow-braised lamb neck, chickpeas, long grain rice, cilantro and a hint of lime – edges toward the decadent unctuousness of a heart-stopping demi-glace. The restorative meal is a steal at $5.75 and can be further improved with a few pulled lamb tacos on the side (making for a beautiful diptych of lamby perfection).
Chef/owners Rafael Flores and Bernice Balbuena have impressive credentials in fine dining, having previously worked at the internationally lauded El Bulli and Pujol restaurants. After moving to Vancouver, they found solid footings in the high end kitchens at Tableau Bar Bistro and Diva at the Met, eventually deciding in 2014 – with a humble budget – to launch the comparably ultra-casual Molli Cafe. While the room continues to resemble in every way an unpretentious, no-frills canteen, the 14 seater is often electrified with bustling energy as hungry, in-the-know diners gather around incredible dishes like the one I look forward to every Saturday. The quality and consistency is nothing short of remarkable, pronouncing the value in bold relief. If you’ve never heard of Molli, you need to go!
1225 Burrard St. | 8:30am – 7pm weekdays, opens 9am on Sat (closed Sunday) | www.mollicafe.com