Posts with tag "dining"

Goldfish Pacific Kitchen

It was really an honour to be in the presence of some of Vancouver’s top food bloggers at a menu tasting at Goldfish Kitchen.  The new chef, Curtis Webb, brings his impressive resume of working at top Canadian hotels and restaurants to this hot spot.

We had a sampling of the potential new dishes that may be part of the slight menu makeover.  The main ingredients were top of the food chain and of high quality.  There was care and artistry to the plating and presentation (see below)…even though they supersized the servings for our tasting.

It was a fun night of meeting friends and making new ones.  The service was friendly and Curtis seemed to really take heart of what we had to say.  I can’t wait to try out the final menu when it comes out.

Goldfish Kitchen
1118 Mainland St
Goldfish Pacific Kitchen on Urbanspoon

L’Abattoir

It was a highly anticipated night for me…checking out the newly opened L’Abattoir with fellow foodie friend @foodandtell! I’m a restaurant fan-girl as I enjoy the fun and discovery of a new dining establishment. Trying a new restaurant is as exciting as opening a present on my birthday. I’m geek; I take joy in simple things like that. And our food adventure on their opening night was witnessed by Scout Magazine…we gave them some good sh&*s and giggles about it ;)

Guess we arrived early as the romantic beautiful room was still pretty empty but the bar was already hopping with Shaun Layton furiously mixing up some good drinks. I took a brief tour around the restaurant and was awestruck with the back dining area. It has a glass ceiling which the lit the space with natural light and guests sit under intertwined branches that stretched across the length of the room.

The wait staff was anxious, eager, and keen as it was opening night. General Manager, Paul Grunberg, was also ‘hands on deck’ and working the room to ensure the guests were enjoying the experience and food. Our waiter was extremely friendly too and I pre-warned him about my photo-snapping. For a summer perfect day at such a restaurant, of course I had to start going through their cocktails list. My inaugural drink was the Pisco Punch #2

It was a fusion of pisco, fresh watermelon, kaffir lime infused syrup, mint, fresh lime, and bitters. And like its description, the sweet refreshing drink was like a summer in a glass.

As a starter, we had a ‘version’ of a bread basket which really was a mix of buns, cheese twists, and crisps..and most of it had bits of bacon it. That’s like my new mantra…anything with bacon tastes better.

I’m a poached egg fan so as our first starter was a dish that had poached egg, quinoa, swiss chard, homemade ricotta cheese, tomato sauce. It seemed like the egg was the bind that held the flavours and textures of the ingredients together.

Next starter was the dungeness crab and chickpea toast with toasted brioche, light crab custard, and carrot pickles.

This is purely out of personal association …this custard like dish totally reminded me of the ‘cocktail fruit salad and shrimp in mayo’ that is served at Chinese banquets; Chef Lee Cooper probably wants to put a cleaver through me for that one. But aside from that, I really liked the creamy custard and the delicateness of the brioche cup.

We continued our sharing with the main courses. The first to arrive was the steamed fillet of ling cod.

It was a light dish with celeriac croquettes, glazed celery, artichokes and tomato olive oil sauce. It was a nice surprise of how the citric tangy tomato added another layer of flavour. It was almost yin yang of the strong tomato with the subtleness of the rest of the dish…but worked out very well.

Next came the roasted fillet of steelhead.

This was more flavourful with the raviolies of smoked trout belly, rich browned butter and caper emulsion. I really like the smoky savoury taste of the sauce. With the raviolies, think I was expecting something different. When I ate it, the texture and flavour was like a ‘repeat’ of the fillet instead of enhancing it. As a separate dish, it would taste great but I think as a complement to the fillet it would have been better if the raviolies had a different filling. *throws hands up* I’m not a chef but I’m listening to what my taste-buds are telling me.

No opening hiccups for this latest addition to the burgeoning Gastown dining scene. L’Abattoir is chic and cool with down to earth friendly staff. This neighbourhood is for sure becoming the mecca of culinary excellence.

L’ Abattoir
217 Carrall Street
L'Abattoir on Urbanspoon

Havana Restaurant

With the last day of the World Cup, we wanted to be in the centre of the action: Commercial Drive. Well, the action already ended because the finals happened around lunch time but we still wanted to take in the atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Havana Restaurant was one of the pillars of ‘ethnic’ restaurants in Vancouver where its nuevo Cuban cuisine brought a touch of variety besides the West Coast flavours and Asian cuisines. And on any sunny day you would see a long lineup of loyal patrons waiting to get a spot on its patio.  They also have an oddly placed art gallery in the back and that day’s exhibit was…um..a bunch of chairs.  The day we went, it was surprisingly not that busy but I’m guessing people decided to enjoy the tanning on some beach.

Since there was the three of us, we decided to share a few plates. I was so disappointed that they no longer serve the polenta fries that are stacked like a jenga piece; we started with the Peal and eat Shrimps instead.

It was a platter of hearty 30 cold shrimps (we didn’t count but wonder if they actually do) with a side of the tangy housemade cocktail sauce. I prefer the old school way of just steaming shrimps and dipping it in soya sauce but the cocktail style was great for the hot weather. The shrimps were cooked with a light lemony salty flavour.

For our hearty main, we ordered the paella

The gorgeous looking dish is made of West Coast mussels, prawns, chorizo, peppers, onions, tomatoes, saffron, rice, coconut milk and Pernod. I liked how there were more seafood than rice but wished the sauce had more of a kick to it. But then again, I do love spicy. The rice was nicely cooked but a bit on the chewy side for a paella.

And to accompany our drinks we ordered some noshing starters (and ‘enders’) of yam fries and plaintain chips.

The yam fries arrived hot and crispy with a light sprinkling of salt. The plaintain chips were also pretty crunchy but we noticed it had a slight burnt taste to it.

Havana is an old main-stay of Vancouver. It’s the type of place where locals enjoy hanging out and a cool spot for the trendsters. And a great place to enjoy a sangria while basking in the sun.

Havana Restaurant
1212 Commercial Dr
Havana Cafe on Urbanspoon