Sometimes you get bored with the classic brunch menu and crave a taste of adventure. That’s why my food-loving friend, Elan, and I were pumped when Grand Trunk Road invited us to brunch with them. Grand Trunk Road promises a modern Indian twist to brunch, and we weren’t disappointed. Located on Fullerton just off of Southport with a stately stone facade, I admit I almost walked past it – my subconscious registered it as an event space or furniture store – but once I noticed the menu on display by the front door I knew I was at the right spot.
The interior of the restaurant is separated into two spaces: a dark interior space that I associated with more of a dinner vibe, and an indoor patio space with skylights and stone walls. Gold light fixtures and a gold tile bar tie the two spaces together while also playing into the Indian theme. A private room for large parties can be found at the back of the restaurant, making this a great option for group brunches and special occasions.
Elan and I had no trouble getting a table in the indoor patio space – there was only one other party in the restaurant. I gave the restaurant the benefit of the doubt here; they’ve only been open since December of last year, it was the perfect day for outdoor seating (which this place doesn’t have), and its proximity to DePaul University makes it ideal for college students but school wasn’t in session. We settled in and eagerly perused the menu.
Since we were looking for an adventure, both Elan and I selected cocktails with an Indian twist. Elan chose the chat masala bloody Mary, which was a bit of a letdown. He had trouble differentiating it from a regular bloody Mary, and wondered if adding the tandoori prawn would have made it stand out more. My drink of choice was the boozy lassi, which looks like a healthy smoothie and made me feel like I made a nutritious choice (with booze). The typical Indian lassi (at least that I’ve seen) is mango-flavored, but this beverage was a raspberry-coconut delight that tasted incredible. This was a unique drink option that I haven’t seen before, and I loved it.
For my entrée, I ordered the amritsari bhurji skillet. This is a delicious vegetarian option, but it wasn’t very strong on the Indian flavors. The biggest twist from your normal skillet was the inclusion of paneer, which doesn’t have a very pronounced taste. There was a touch of chili powder that gave the dish a slightly spicy taste and the eggs were expertly fried. Elan noticed that they used shallots instead of onion, which is unexpected in a skillet, but a nice addition – it provided a more delicate flavor than onion would.
Elan selected the best dish of our meal, the aloo tikki Benedict with Alaskan king crab. This dish was out of this world. Instead of your typical Benedict that places a poached egg on top of a boring English muffin or biscuit, Grand Trunk Road enhanced their dish with an Indian-spiced, fluffy, potato pancake. Elan could taste the curry leaves that were used to add flavor, and the mild spiciness of the turmeric hollandaise was impressive; there was no need to add hot sauce to the dish. Every part of this entrée felt delicate, from the melt in your mouth king crab, to the perfectly cooked poached eggs and creamy hollandaise. We definitely recommend this dish and the chicken 65 waffle, which we were sad we didn’t get after catching a glimpse of it at another table (a giant bone-in chicken leg & thigh on top of a waffle with chili-garlic marinade).
Elan and I wrapped up our meal with an order of meethi puri for dessert. I think of these as giant Rice Krispies with a slightly sour, lemon cream inside and a blueberry on top. Panipuri is a popular savory street food in India, with meethi puri being the sweet version. It was a fun and refreshing close to our meal.
The Bitches say: four Champagne flutes!
We both enjoyed our brunch here and are definitely considering going back to try the chicken 65 waffle. Grand Trunk Road, in the DePaul area of Lincoln Park, does a fantastic job of adding a modern Indian twist to the traditional brunch. We highly recommend going with friends to get a break from the norm!
Grand Trunk Road serves brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.