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Chai dolce de leche doughnut at Pub Royale
Photograph: Courtesy of Pub RoyaleChai dolce de leche doughnut at Pub Royale

Pub Royale brunch review

The British-Indian pub in Wicker Park serves an incredibly good brunch, with a stuffed paratha, cocktails and more

Amy Cavanaugh
Written by
Amy Cavanaugh

Bars are an underappreciated spot for brunch (see: Scofflaw, Analogue), and the latest great bar brunch spot is Pub Royale, the British-Indian pub in Wicker Park. Pub Royale doesn't offer your standard bar fare at night, and the same is true for brunch—with options like a bacon paratha and kedgeree, it's one of the most unique (and delicious) brunches in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to brunch in Chicago

The brunch menu includes some carryover from the dinner menu, including the super-crispy, spicy India hot chicken. And if you haven't had the Gobi Manchurian, nuggets of fried cauliflower slicked with a sweet and sour sauce, fix that immediately. Start with an order for the table, or just an order for yourself—it's been the most popular dish at the table each time I've been to Pub Royale lately.

You could make a full meal out of the always-available dishes, but chef Jason Vaughan's brunch-specific items are equally as creative—the stuffed paratha is a big, flaky flatbread filled with bacon, potato and cheese that's crowned with a fried egg and fiery sauce. Rip off pieces of bread and dunk them in sour cream—it's like a baked potato in bread form (and reminiscent of the bing bread at Parachute). The kedgeree is a classic British-Indian offering that mixes white rice with flakes of smoked fish, scallions, peas and a soft-boiled egg; it's a totally unexpected brunch dish. But my favorite is the combination #2, rice topped with a potato-filled samosa, a fried egg, cilantro, sesame seeds and spicy butter sauce—it's incredibly simple but satisfying. End with the doughnut, made from naan dough and swimming in chai-laced dulce de leche.

Pub Royale is firmly a bar, and the Bloody Mary is bright and fresh, thanks to lemon, lime and hot sauce, but booze-free options include a well-spiced chai tea. If you go while the weather's still nice, you can snag a spot at the patio out front, which offers prime people-watching on Division—on my visit, a person was walking a pig down the street—though the brunch here is great enough to not require any outside entertainment. 

Pub Royale serves brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm.

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