Dining at Ki Modern Japanese and Bar restaurant on rare sunny day, oddly clouded my tastebuds that night. Well another way put it is that we were so enamoured with our setting that it seemed to enhance the flavour of the food.
Ki is a sophisticated chic Japanese restaurant located on the same block as the Shangri-La Hotel. The restaurant started in Toronto and looks like it’s trying to grow its empire. For sure, it picked a prime well suited location in Vancouver. In the heart of financial district and coal harbour, the upstairs location gives you prime viewing spot of the surrounding well to-do buildings and shops. There is a restaurant and patio side or the lounge side and I highly recommend the patio.
The menu consists of items you might find at a izakaya: skewers, cooked dishes, sashimis, and sushi dishes. We started off with a simple assorted Seaweed Salad with sesame-ponzu dressing.
We were pleasantly surprise at the generous serving and variety of seaweed in the salad. It was fresh, crisp, tangy, and palette cleansing.
Of course we needed to try the fresh sushi on the menu
We picked the Ki Spidersoft which is shell crab, mango, perilla leaves, chives; Spicy Salmon Atlantic a roll of salmon, asparagus, endive, spicy raspberry sauce, ao noriko; and sushi pieces of Aji, Magura, Yellow Tail. I like the spice and texture of the Spidersoft, the freshness and crush of the Spicy Salmon, and the quality of the pieces.
To continue the nibbling and sharing, we also picked out a couple of the skewers. First came the surprisingly delicious Pancetta Wrapped Unagi
The Pancetta Wrapped Unagi is stuffed with grilled onion and pickled daikon, served with chilli ponzu sauce. I loved how the different flavours came together: the saltiness from the pancetta with the sweetnees of the unagi and balanced out with the tang from the ponzu sauce.
Then the interesting marinated Swordfish
The marinated Swordfish was served with shishito peppers and a charred tomato ginger salsa. I enjoyed the taste of something being grilled and charred but unfortunately I didn’t like how tough the swordfish came out.
Lastly, we ordered assorted seafood tempura.
There were pieces of prawn, halibut (I think), squid, and scallop. These are all quality seafood but I thought it was a waste that such quality seafood was all battered and deep fried. I think especially eating the tempura scallop turned me off and thought I rather have the scallop just simply grilled. The tempura was nicely done with a light batter but I don’t think I’d order this type of tempura again.
We were giddy over the food the whole time. But if we took the food out of the context of dining in an outdoor cabana under the sun, the dishes were good but not great. Also another lesson learned is to not pick the cheapest bottle of sake from the menu…the sake we picked did not pair well with our food at all.
Overall the service was very attentive and the menu was decent but pricier than what you find at Guu or Zakkushi. The winning point about this restaurant is the truly cool hidden gem of a patio. A perfect spot to sneak to bask under our rare summer sun if you’re willing to spend the extra cash.
Ki Japanese Modern Bar
310 – 1121 Alberni Street