If you’ve ever felt like you were in desperate need of a tropical vacation (and who hasn’t, given these late May blizzards?), Adrift may just be the solution to dispel the cabin fever. Whether you’ve been to the hot spot at 218 South Broadway a hundred times or are just hearing of this Polynesian hideaway, the tiki bar is a tropical gem bringing the spirit of aloha to Denver — even for brunch.
The brainchild of chef Tyler Critchfield, the new weekend brunch menu offers an island twist on unique sweet and savory plates, like Polynesian French toast with coconut haupia, macadamia nut granola, pineapple-rum glaze and strawberry rhubarb jam — or the Hawaiian hash with poached eggs, pineapple, bacon and veggies on a swish of purple Okinawa sweet-potato purée. For a taste of working-class Hawaii, Spam and eggs are served with sweet-and-sour glazed pineapple and rice in a flavorful chili vinaigrette.
Perhaps the most interesting brunch-fusion mashup is the pua’a and grits: tender pork belly and poached eggs atop a bed of mushroom grits with housemade kimchi, which packs a ton of Asian inspiration into a breakfast bowl. And for something rich and desserty, Hawaiian malasadas — soft brioche doughnut holes coated in coconut sugar — are served with lilikoi (passion fruit) caramel and macerated strawberries. This dish is big enough to share with the table, but after one bite, you might not want to.
Since brunch without alcohol is just a sad late breakfast, Adrift also offers bottomless boozy Hawaiian Punch or lilikoi mimosas and specialty cocktails. The frozen macadamia nut Chi-Chi (vodka, macadamia nut liqueur, pineapple juice, coconut and demerara) is one of the few cocktails from the original Adrift owners that were kept after the Little Man Ice Cream group took over last summer. If you’re looking for more of a kick, the much stronger Corpse Reviver No. 2 (gin, lillet, orange curacao, lemon juice and absinthe) is a real wake-up call.
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The new brunch, served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, launches in concert with Adrift's newly revamped patio, which will be unveiled this Sunday, May 28. Concealed from the noise and commotion of the street, it’s truly an oasis for drifting into the day. The scene is set with a vibrant hula mural designed by local artist Jolt, along with grass huts, hand-carved totems, and a blazing lava-rock fire pit that will have you feeling the island vibes in no time. You can also dine happy knowing that a portion of each brunch ticket goes toward the Mana Immersion Fund to support humanitarian efforts around the world.