Forage – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Another good deal for Vancouver Dine Out Festival is Forage as their 3 course menu is only $30. The restaurant was packed and they were pretty strict on the seating’s time limit but service was still pretty good.

 

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Vietnamese Style Bison Shank Salad

To start, we tried all three appetizers which did not require additional cost. The Vietnamese Style Bison Shank Salad was served with shaved squash, braised daikon, crispy shallots, cilantro, mint and fermented chilies. The bison shank reminded me of beef jerky and the seasoning was on point.

 

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Grilled Humboldt Squid

My favourite appetizer was the Grilled Humboldt Squid which was served with radish kimchi, puffed wild rice, sweet soy, and parsley. The squid was cooked to tender and the radish kimchi actually paired very well with the seafood. I also liked the crispy puffed rice which gave some different textures to the dish.

 

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Beetroot Salad

IC tried the Beetroot Salad since she was the only one who wanted to try the vegetable dish. It was actually very colourful and the different coloured beets were served with roasted bruseels sprouts, brusselkraut, and bull kelp granola. I didn’t get a chance to try it but she said it was pretty good for an all vegetable dish.

 

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Crispy Halibut Cheeks

For mains, I had the Crispy Halibut Cheeks which were served with cauliflower “cous cous”, smoked yogurt, poached radish, and pickled mustard seed. They were like fish fritters but the cheeks had a more “chewy” type of texture so I really enjoyed it. I always love to eat the cheeks of the fish because of the texture. Really enjoyed the flavours even though the dish was lighter.

 

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Harissa Grilled Duck Leg

The boys got the Harissa Grilled Duck Leg served with white bean puree, braised greens, sweet and sour carrots and jus. The portion was slightly on the smaller side, but all the flavours accompanied the duck well.

 

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Elderflower Cheese Puff

For dessert, I had the Elderflower Cheese Puff which I’ve had at my last visit. The puff is served with gin spiked blueberries and vanilla ice cream. The top is crunchy pastry like texture similar to Beta 5’s and you can taste a bit of saltiness from the cheese and floral flavours from the elderflower. Paired with the sweet blueberries and ice cream, this is a must try dessert at Forage!

 

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Chocolate Cherry Bar

Our table also tried the Chocolate Cherry Bar which was served with hazelnut crumble, white chocolate cherry cream, and chocolate sauce. I thought this dessert was too dense as it’s more of a ganache and quite a heavy way to end the meal. Not my personal favourite.

Overall, a good option for Dine Out Vancouver but also a great spot even on a regular night. If you’re looking for west coast Canadian food with a seafood and meat selection, this is a great option. Be sure to try the seafood chowder on a regular night!

Pros:
– Great flavours and concepts
– Well executed dishes even during Dine Out

Cons:
– Portions are slightly on the smaller side for 3 courses (could probably still grab a snack after)

Price Range: $30 per person (Dine Out Menu)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Street parking only Overall: 4

 

Forage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse has been participating in the Dine Out Vancouver Festival for many years now. For whatever reason, the restaurant never stood out to me since it’s not really in the media and the restaurant is pretty out of the way for me. However, this year, I was looking for some restaurants that had “good deals” for the dine out festival. This one falls exactly in that category. For $25, you get a 3 course meal which includes steak and a beautiful ambiance. Honestly, there aren’t many restaurants in the $25 category and most of them feature pub food.

 

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I mean, look at this menu! $25 for this type of food? I can’t even get a 3 course meal at Cactus or other chain restaurants.

 

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Get your reservations in early because the place sells out every year! It’s odd because when we arrived, the place was not full and it was not full throughout the evening. But still, they say that they are fully booked. Perhaps because they know the kitchen can’t handle a full house, but that’s smart of them to not overbook themselves if they can’t handle it. As you can see, the interior is actually really nice. I think in the daytime, you’ll have a view of the golf course. For some reason, we were seated in an elevated area at this long table facing the rest of the restaurant. We found it a bit odd to watch the other diners eat from above, and preferred to sit across from each other since it was sort of date night. After letting the servers know, they finally moved us to the lower dining area since they had plenty of tables open anyways.

 

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Trio of Creamed Mushroom Soup

For appetizers, we both got the Trio of Creamed Mushroom Soup which was topped with black pepper, chive creme fraiche, and truffle oil. I could smell the truffle oil once the bowl came. This was creamy and smooth with bits of mushrooms still in the soup. The other appetizer was the Kale Caesar Salad, and I hadn’t chose it because it seemed super simple, but I later learned it came with battered shrimp! Wow, what a deal!

 

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Seared Sea Scallop & Prawn Risotto

For entrees, I chose the Seared Sea Scallop & Prawn Risotto, which was served with grape tomatoes, shaved grana padano, and fresh watercress. The scallops were beautifully seared and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. It came with three scallops and three prawns! The risotto was rich and creamy although I found it to be slightly under cooked. Still, this was a great dish for the price. It was also a huge portion and I could not even finish all the rice.

 

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AAA Angus Striploin Steak

The main dish that had attracted me here was actually the AAA Angus Striploin Steak. S chose this and it came with roasted garlic yukon mash, market vegetables and a red wine jus. We asked to have the steak cooked medium rare but we found it to be slightly more on the rare side. That didn’t bother us as I rather it be more rare than over cooked. The steak itself had some tendon/fatty parts, but it was still a decent cut given the price. Nothing to complain and I loved that it had a really nice char and smoky flavour to it. Highly recommend getting this for the best deal!

 

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Warm Apple Crisp

As for desserts, the first was the Warm Apple Crisp which was my favourite. To be honest, when it was presented to us, I was a bit disappointed. Presentation was not the nicest, but the flavours worked so well together that it didn’t matter how it looked! There were oat pecan crumbles, french vanilla ice cream and a dulce de leche sauce. This was really good all mixed together!

 

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Black Forest Mousse

S chose the Black Forest Mousse which featured a cherry compote, chocolate cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings, and creme chantilly. This tasted more like a chocolate pudding and I found it too sweet for my liking. I wouldn’t say their desserts are anything too special, but the flavours work.

Overall, I highly recommend Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse during dine out. I almost want to keep this a secret so I can get my reservations again next year! Even during regular occasions, their menu is very well priced and they often have 3 course menu deals. I think it must be because the location is not the most accessible. If you have a car though, this is a must try!

Pros:
– Great deals for portion and quality
– Ambiance is great for date night

Cons:
– Desserts are quite average
– Location is out of the way

Price Range: $25 per person (Dine Out Menu)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Plenty of free parking in their own lot Overall: 4

 

Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Trump Champagne Lounge – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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Posting quite a few months later for this year’s Dine Out Vancouver 2018, but I might as well in case it comes handy for next year’s festival. My first dine out this year was at the Trump Champagne Lounge and I went with S and M for a girls night out. We thought the dishes on the menu sounded decent and the price tag of $30 per person wasn’t too bad for a 3 course meal. We all didn’t know that the lounge served actual food as we always thought it was just afternoon tea, snacks, and drinks. The interior of the lounge was pretty as expected, but it was also a bit odd as the lounge is not really enclosed in another area. Once you open the door to the hotel, you’ve basically stepped foot into the lounge. Can be a bit odd as you see many hotel guests with luggage trying to find the check in area. Also, because it is a lounge, the tables and couches are extremely low. My back was hurting by the end of the night. Definitely a place more for drinks and light snacks, rather than a 3 course meal which requires full use of utensils.

 

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Grilled Octopus

Anyways, onto the food. We tried both appetizers and the Grilled Octopus was my favourite. The tentacles were served with crushed fingerling potatoes, black olives, toasted pistachio, and a balsamic dressing. The octopus was not chewy at all. It was cooked perfectly to tender and had a nice char.

 

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Albacore Aburi Style

The second appetizer was the Albacore Aburi Style. The lightly seared albacore tuna was served with homemade pickled vegetables and a burrata cheese sauce. This was quite average. If you like pickled veggies, then you might enjoy this as they were definitely very sour and acidic.

 

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Slow Cooked Lamb Shank

For entrees, we got both of the non-vegetarian options. The first was the Slow Cooked Lamb Shank. The lamb shank was served with the bone in and paired with a butternut squash puree and seasonal vegetables. The lamb was moist and the meat fell off the bone. However, this was quite a heavy dish. We found it hard to finish alone as both the sauce and puree were very thick.

 

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Roasted Lingcod

The second entree was the Roasted Lingcod which sat on top of a white bean fricassee, topped with green onion and smoked pancetta. The lingcod was moist and the top was seared to a nice crisp. However, I found the dish to be quite boring and bland. I really needed to eat the fish with the white beans to get some flavour out of it. It was definitely missing something to bring out the flavours.

 

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Chocolate Banana and Passion Fruit Pudding

By now, we were actually quite full as the portions were actually very reasonable given this being a more fancy restaurant. For dessert, S got the Chocolate Banana and Passion Fruit Pudding topped with some chocolate shavings. This tasted sort of like banana pudding. Not bad but nothing too special.

 

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Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

M and I chose the Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream. For some reason, only one came out and the second came out almost 30 minutes later. I ended up just digging into M’s dessert and was too full to really eat my own in the end. Not sure what happened with the timing there. Anyways, the Apple Crumble was not too sweet, and I always like a good pairing of cold and warm for dessert, so this was great.

Overall, would I come back here for dinner? Probably not as nothing really stood out to me. Plus, the seating is way too uncomfortable for a full on meal. However, I wouldn’t mind coming back for some drinks or light snacks as the ambiance is quite nice. I think their regular menu is not cheap though so dine out is a good option if you’d like to give their food a try. Because this was probably not the most attractive spot given it’s in the Trump tower for obvious reasons, the restaurant was also not fully booked during dine out. Our friend was almost an hour late from work, and the servers didn’t mind us just sitting around and we probably ended up sitting there for almost 3 hours with no issues. Definitely would’ve been kicked out at another restaurant during dine out season!

Pros:
– Ambiance is nice for drinks and snacks

Cons:
– Seating is really uncomfortable with low tables
– Nothing stood out for food

Price Range: $30 per person (Dine Out Menu)

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: Street/Parkade Overall: 3

 

Trump Champagne Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pike Place Chowder

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A must try in Seattle is Pike Place Chowder. I’ve been here in the past, but S had never been. I decided to take him to the one near Pike Street Market which is in Post Alley, which is also a tourist spot worth visiting. The tiny shop is within an indoor market and opens at 11am. We arrived right at 11am, and there was already a huge line up. The good thing is they give you the menu while you’re lining up, so the line goes by quickly. We were able to order within 15 minutes and our food was served pretty much right away since they just keep pumping the food out.

 

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Captain’s Roll and New England Clam Chowder
We got a whole Captain’s Roll which features Bay shrimp and Dungeness crab meat, mixed with secret seasonings, lemon juice, mayo and celery. S and I both loved this! They didn’t cheap out on the crab meat either. It does come at a high cost though at around $16 USD. Quite pricey for a small roll. We also got the New England Clam Chowder, which had meaty clams flavoured with bacon, cream, and a secret blend of herbs and spices. Pike Place Chowder has won many awards for many years, so you must get a chowder here! I really enjoyed the flavours in this one and they give you a piece of sourdough bread to dip in.

 

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Seafood Bisque

We stayed near Pacific Place, a mall on Pine Street. The night before, we had dined at Din Tai Fung, which is a new branch in downtown Seattle inside Pacific Place. There, we found that they actually had another Pike Place Chowder inside the mall! Since we were in a bit of a rush the next morning, I suggested we just grab some food at Pike Place Chowder again since it was nearby. This location has a lot more selection including beers, seafood and chips, and more. But of course, I had to get another one of their soups, so I decided to try the Seafood Bisque this time. This had a medley of Pacific Cod, Northwest Salmon,
Oregon Bay Shrimp, flavored with fresh basil, and simmered
in a creamy tomato-based broth. The bisque was packed with flavour and you got bits of fish in it. So good!

 

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Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips
Since this location has fish and chips, S decided to try their Wild Northwest Salmon Fish n’ Chips. You can choose 3 pieces or 2 pieces. This was decent, but we found the salmon to be on the drier side. Definitely not as moist as Pajos!

 

Overall, Pike Place Chowder is a must try when in Seattle! With the two locations, I would suggest going to the Post Alley location as I feel like the turnover for the food is more frequent. However, if you have a large group or are looking for a larger menu selection, then the one inside Pacific Place might be a better choice since there is more seating.

Pros:
– Delicious chowders and seafood rolls!

Cons:
– Fish and chips could be a bit more moist

Price Range: $10-20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Pike Place Chowder Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Steelhead Diner

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For our first night in Seattle, we decided to go to Steelhead Diner which is located on downhill near Pike Street Market. The restaurant has a large selection of beer and cocktails so great for those looking for a drink.

 

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We started off with complimentary bread and butter. The bread was sourdough while the butter sat in a plate of pesto oil. The butter was so good with the pesto!

 

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Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips

S of course got the Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips which featured two pieces of Scotch ale battered Alaskan ling cod served with tartar sauce and lemon. S can usually eat quite salty food, but even he found the fish to be extremely salty. It was to the point that he didn’t finish his fish and I don’t think I’ve seen that before! Even the fries were on the saltier side.

 

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Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy

For myself, I had the Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy which was a huge portion! The fried oysters along with a aioli type sauce was great, but I did also find it slightly on the saltier side. Not sure if we are just used to less sodium in our foods, or if they just went nuts with the salt here.

Overall, we were slightly disappointed with our food. It had really good ratings, but our food was just too salty for our liking. Something I disliked was that an automatic tip of 20% is added to our bill. I don’t mind tipping more if I get really good service, but 20% is a bit steep given the venue and I don’t think our service was anything beyond expectations. Location-wise, good spot for tourists, but other than that, nothing memorable.

Pros:
– Good location for tourists

Cons:
– Our food was way too salty for our liking
– Automatic 20% tip

Price Range: $25-30 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

 

Steelhead Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cactus Club Cafe (Richmond)

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Disclosure: All food and drinks were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

In the beginning of November, the newly relocated Cactus Club Cafe at the Richmond Centre location opened its door to the public. We were invited to a media preview to check out the space and enjoy some food and drinks. They have blocked off some parking at the mall so there is valet parking available here. However, there’s plenty of parking at Richmond Centre, so feel free to park anywhere!

 

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We were welcomed by the founder of Cactus, Richard Jaffrey, who spoke about how the original Richmond location began 25 years ago.

 

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The new location is truly a revamp from the old location. The interior is just as amazing as the other locations like the Coal Harbour location. On one side is the formal dining room, while this side pictured above is the bar area. There are high top table and small booth seats available here with a large bar counter right in the middle. Really love the lighting in this area.

 

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On the other end is the heated patio. I love this area as it feels like you’re outside near the beach even though it is fully enclosed. However, during the summer, the roof can roll away and the glass walls can slide open. Super cool!

 

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Whiskey Ginger Smash

Just in time for winter, they have launched two new cocktails. The first is the Whiskey Ginger Smash. This cocktail features a blend of whiskey, lemon, ginger and rosemary.

 

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Late Harvest Daiquiri

The second cocktail is the Late Harvest Daiquiri. This cocktail is made with a base of rum and lime and topped with blackberries and a Saskatoon berry and blackcurrant coulis. Sort of like a Bellini but a berry based one. So refreshing and the flavours are more catered for the winter time.

We didn’t get a chance to try any full dishes other than some appetizers, so I can’t comment too much about the food. However, Cactus is not for consistency, so I’m sure the food at this location is just as good as their other locations. What a great addition to Richmond Centre and I can’t wait to return to try the full menu.

 

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Captain’s Boil (Richmond)

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Captain’s Boil is literally everywhere now and I’ve visited the Richmond location twice since. The restaurant specializes in seafood boils so be ready to get messy!

 

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The Richmond location has both booth seating for smaller groups and can also accommodate large groups with their longer tables. During lunch, they have some sizzling plate combos which are all under $10. Pretty good deal if you are looking for a not so messy lunch.

 

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Each table is lined with a piece of brown paper and a tube of paper towel is available. Each diner will also get their own bib to ensure your clothes stay clean. Look how cute the design is!

 

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The Captain’s Boil locations also have a liquor license, so you will find a large variety of drinks available from beer to cocktails and even shots. I guess this makes a good spot if you are looking to grab some drinks! They serve their draft beers in plastic cups and it definitely looks cheap, but I think the reason for this is so they can just dispose the cups since real glasses would be super difficult to clean with our oily saucy hands.

 

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Fried Shrimp Basket

We decided to share the Fried Shrimp Basket which comes with fries. This is quite a large basket and the shrimp were actually pretty good! You also get plenty of fries which are great for sharing amidst all the seafood.

 

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For the seafood boil, we decided to get a potato to share. The potato was well cooked and slathered in butter but not much flavour otherwise. I had to really dip it in the sauce to get some flavour.

 

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Dungeness Crab

Both times we visited, we got the Dungeness Crab in Garlic Sauce. This is because S and I both love dungeness crab! The odd thing is that the dungeness crab is not ordered by pound but rather by the whole crab. We were fine with sharing the whole crab but wish we could order how big we wanted it. We found the crab to be rather small with the legs extremely small. For this size (around 1.5 lbs), the price was just under $40. I guess it’s a decent size to share between two but the legs really are quite small so is difficult to get the meat out. As for the crab itself, it tasted fresh but the garlic sauce is very strong so completely covers the flavour of the seafood itself.

 

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The second time we had the crab, it was pretty much the same size and price. Not bad if you are too lazy to steam your crab at home and add some garlic sauce on. They also have some spicy sauce available which many choose for the other seafood items.

One thing we really disliked about this location, however, was the service. Both times we visited, it was almost impossible to wave down a server. They are always looking down and there is usually only one girl who is actually doing her job but obviously she cannot take down everyone’s orders. The rest of the servers are just always ignoring the customers. It’s quite frustrating in that sense but it doesn’t seem like they are going to do anything about this.

Pros:
– Decent seafood boils at reasonable prices
– Full liquor license for those who want a drink

Cons:
– Service is pretty terrible at this location

Price Range: $20-50

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 1 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

 

The Captain's Boil Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HJU:Z Lounge

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Last week, I attended the grand opening of HJU:Z Lounge inside the Westin Bayshore hotel. To be brutally honest, I thought the name sounded like a ticker symbol, but soon learned that it should be pronounced as “Hughes”. The restaurant is inspired by Howard Hughes, a successful film producer and leader in aviation. You will find many aviation themed decor in the lounge because of this.

 

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Before they revealed the actual lounge, we already knew it would be extravagant since they had some Ferraris in the lobby!

 

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Finally, they dropped the curtains, and we were welcomed into the space of the newest lounge. The restaurant and bar are the perfect blend of art deco inspired design with a modern flair and nostalgic atmosphere.

 

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On the menu, you can expect to find a rotating selection of cheese and meats hand selected by Chef Alex Mok. Such a perfect snack to pair with some drinks while enjoying live entertainment.

 

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Speaking of drinks, the lounge offers no shortage of drinks from wine, champagne and spirits. Most notably is the featured cocktail menu which offers 7 cocktails which have been carefully curated. Some of the cocktails on this menu include the Alaska No.2, a gin-based drink which features an iceberg and sliver of gold leaf and the Apple Jack Silver Fizz which features apple brandy, cider, and egg whites. Pictured here is the Eiffel 75 which features Hennessy Cognac, lemon juice, chardonnay lees sirup, topped with Charles Heidseick champagne and lemon oils. If you try all seven cocktails on the list, you can actually unlock the secret 8th drink!

 

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As for the food, expect to find modern, contemporary cuisine inspired by Hughes’ world tour, with inspirations from the Russian, French, and the American kitchens.

 

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The menu is expected to rotate seasonally and is curated by Chef Alex Mok.

 

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We didn’t get to try a lot of the dishes in full, but on the menu will be dishes like this Scrambled Duck Egg which features Canadian sturgeon caviar, citrus whipped cream scramble and frisée salad. What beautiful presentation!

 

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There is also the Hibachi Wagyu Beef, 28-Day Aged Striploin and Lamb Lollipops for those meat lovers. We tried the Lamb Lollipop and it was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and well seasoned.

 

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So HJU:Z has delicious food and drinks and a beautiful venue, but what really caught my attention was the live entertainment. For seven nights a week, you will find live entertainment provided by Siegel. On this particular night, we enjoyed some amazing live music along with dancers throughout the night. You will want to get up and dance with this lively music! What a great spot for live entertainment while enjoying your dinner or a late night drink!