Brunch with Tariq Hussain at Trattoria Restaurant

Brunch is a favourite past time shared by many and should be an extraordinary experience, one that you will cherish. Vancouver has some wonderful places for brunch. Each of the places I visit is unique for what is offered along with the type of service and selection of dishes. I am on a journey around the city to find these extraordinary places and, at the same time, I will be joined by a notable personality who may be a Film Producer or Director, Musician, Arts Festival Director, Actor or other well-known individual for Brunch at restaurants in and around Vancouver.

Tariq Hussain

For my Seventy Sixth brunch in this series, I was joined by Tariq Hussain who is a singer/songwriter over brunch at Trattoria Restaurant in Vancouver.

Tariq Hussain, is a Canadian singer-songwriter based in Vancouver, BC who was born in Cowansville, Quebec. Tariq is a Juno nominated songwriter and recording artist with a music career that spans over two decades. Born in rural Quebec to parents from Pakistan and Fiji, Tariq grew up on a healthy diet of Bollywood soundtracks. Then, in high school, he got his hands on a guitar and started writing songs which sounded more like Cat Stevens and Neil Young than Mohammed Rafi.

By the end of the nineties, Tariq had released two full-length albums, Splat, and The Basement Songs. The Basement Songs, which came out on EMI Music Canada, earned him national radio play as well as a Juno nomination for “Best New Solo Artist.”

Into the early aughts, Tariq went on to release more music—two albums and one EP—independently and through small imprints. In 2009, he joined the ranks of the Vancouver based band, Brasstronaut. Since joining, this critically acclaimed act has been putting out music and touring extensively in both Canada and in Europe in support of their records.

Tariq’s latest offering is Telegrams, his fifth full-length album and follow up to the 2013 Moonwalker EP. On Telegrams, the songs feel a bit like short stories, hence the title—three-and-a-half minute snippets of fictional lives. A fan of short fiction, Tariq found characters in stories by some of his favourite authors, like Lorrie Moore and Roberto Bolaño, and cast them as leads in his songs. Written in his apartment on an acoustic guitar, the songs were eventually shaped by a band who helped him envision fresh tempos, feels, and arrangements, adding layers of texture and melody. The result is a ten-song album with thoughtful lyrics and singable melodies reminiscent of artists like The Mountain Goats, and John K. Samson.

You can follow Tariq Hussain on Instagram @tariqmusiq

What type of music did you listen to growing up?

Indian music, Bollywood soundtrack music, my mom was into music and had a lot of Bollywood soundtracks, she also had a Fijian record.

Who are your top 3 favourite singers currently?

  • Jim Guthrie
  • Buck Meek
  • Elton John

If you could tell me about 3 of your favourite concerts of all time which ones would those be?

  • Nick Cave at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
  • Waxahatchee in an old church in Seattle
  • Jules Sheer at a concert in Calgary

What 3 foods do you like?

  • Curry specifically curry chicken
  • Sushi
  • Pasta

What are your favourite restaurants in Vancouver?

  • Toshi
  • KissaTanto
  • Savio Volpe

Tiramisu loaf

Orange Juice

Burrata & Prosciutto

Truffle and Mushroom Omelet

Smoked Salmon Benny

Tariq had a decaf coffee while Richard had an Orange Juice to start while both enjoying the complementary Tiramisu loaf. Tariq and Richard then shared the Burrata & Prosciutto with prosciutto di parma, pesto, marinated tomatoes, forno bread. Tariq had the Truffle and Mushroom Omelet for his entrée while Richard a Smoked Salmon Benny without the egg, plus avocado.

What do you want your listeners to learn from listening to your music?

I want them to enjoy it, create sounds people can go back to. The genre has repeated, music you tend to listen to over and over. Gut instinct, emotional and connection that motivates people to want to listen.

What do you do in your off time?

  • Read
  • Ride bike
  • Hang out with friends

Where was your most recent musical trip?

Tiny Lights Music Festival near Nelson in June, played twice over the weekend.

Who are your mentors?

Brasstronaut Band members – I learned a lot from playing with these musicians (our band started in 2009).

What inspires you now?

The craft and structure of songs. How do you create surprise and intrigue in a song. Interesting possibilities using the same building pilons.

What’s next for you or what’s on the horizon?

  • Writing a book – my memoir about music “There is no such thing as a Pakistani Cowboy”
  • In September I will be playing a show at a literary festival in Reno, Nevada
  • Showcase at VIFF in October
  • Plan for next summer festival and shows


Style: A La Carte

Attire: Casual

Time: Saturday & Sunday 11:00am – 3pm

Trattoria Italian Kitchen

1850 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver


For Reservations call 604-732-1441

Stay tuned to my next guest Interview along with the next Brunch in and around Vancouver.

By: Richard Wolak

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