Ramen Koika (Robson)

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

Ramen Koika recently opened up their second location on Robson Street in Hapa Izakaya’s old location. Their original location is still at Davie Street but of course it’s good news that there is another ramen option in this area.

 

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The ramen shop has a nice modern decor and is quite spacious compared to many of the other ramen shops in the area. I like how they have tables that fit larger groups which most of the other ramen restaurants would not be able to accommodate. Just shortly after 6pm on a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was already at capacity, so make sure to come by early if you’re with a larger group.

 

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The menu is a decent size with a variety of appetizers and rice bowls available. These are great for sharing and a good option if someone in your group isn’t craving ramen. They also have beers, sakes, and soju. I noticed they also carry Fuggles and Warlock’s beers! Great to support local breweries!

 

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As for ramen, they have a variety of choices, from traditional miso ramens, to some very innovative ramen consisting of seafood. They claim that their noodles are made fresh the night before and the broth is made in the morning with no MSG. For the ramen, you can also choose to have your noodles soft or hard, and your chashu to be lean or fatty. You can also add side dishes and other toppings for additional costs. Extra noodle is also available for an additional $1.50.

 

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Puri-Puri Ebi

We started off with some appetizers including the Puri-Puri Ebi which is deep fried panko breaded jumbo shrimp served with tartar sauce, sesame, and parsley. The batter was really light and didn’t feel greasy at all. The sauce and seasoning was also not overpowering as you could still taste the sweetness of the shrimp. Great dish for sharing!

 

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Coco Karaage

The Coco Karaage was also a great deep fried dish. The deep fried house battered boneless chicken karaage was juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The chicken pieces are quite big and a regular order comes with around 4-5 pieces.

 

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Triple Black Garlic Ramen

As for ramen, we tried two of their best sellers. The first was the Triple Black Garlic Ramen which features cha-shu, spinach, seasoned egg, bamboo shoot, roasted seaweed, green onion, garlic chip, and triple black garlic oil served with thin noodles. The egg was cooked perfectly and S chose lean cha-shu which was not overly dry.

 

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As for the noodles, he had chosen hard but we both found the noodles to be more “regular” rather than hard. Our personal preference is for the noodles to be a bit firmer, so when we chose hard, we expected them to be a bit more firm. I liked the thin straight noodles though and these were great at soaking up the broth. The broth was rich but S thought it could be slightly stronger in garlic. I personally thought it was sufficient, but I guess it depends on how much you love garlic.

 

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King’s Seafood Ramen

For myself, I chose the King’s Seafood Ramen. This is their most expensive ramen on the menu at almost $17! But of course, the price is justified with the abundance of ingredients including blue crab, clam, green mussel, cabbage, black tree fungus, onion, red pepper, green pepper, thai chili, and bean sprouts with red pepper powder on top. They definitely do not skimp on the ingredients. Although the blue crab does not have much meat in the legs, you can suck the meat out from the center which was really sweet in flavour. The clams and mussels were also tasty and were not over cooked or tough.

 

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This ramen is served with thicker noodles and I also felt like this bowl was larger than the previous ramen. So definitely the perfect bowl for a big eater! You can choose from no spicy, mild to spicy as well. This one was mild and is great for people who just want a little hint of spice. I typically like my ramen very plain with few ingredients, but this seafood ramen seemed to work and wasn’t too overwhelming.

Overall, I thought Ramen Koika offers some unique twists to ramen, many of which I have not seen in metro Vancouver. I would say that most of the ramen has more ingredients and the bowls are also a decent size for the price. If you’re looking to try more creative ramen, then Ramen Koika is the spot for you. Also a great spot if you have a larger party!

 

Ramen Koika Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Coquille Fine Seafood

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Coquille Fine Seafood is the newest sister restaurant of L’abbatoir. The restaurant is located in Gastown where Secret Location used to be and opened up earlier this year.

 

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The decor is upscale and modern. Love the coral coloured couches!

 

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I came here with S and M to check out their happy hour menu which is available every day from 3pm to 6pm. They have a good selection of both food and drink choices.

 

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Octopus Toast

Our server recommended the Octopus Toast for us but the portion is quite small for $6. You only get one piece so we ended up getting three of them. The grilled octopus was cooked perfectly with a nice char and topped on toasted bread. I was not crazy for the flavours as there were olives on it and I’m personally not a fan of olives. I’d say this is just average and not the highlight of my meal.

 

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Crab and Shrimp Roll

The next dish we ordered was the Crab and Shrimp Roll. This was also really small for $10! It was only half a roll and there wasn’t even lobster in it. Only crab and shrimp although the filling was delicious with a well seasoned sauce. However, I would rather get the lobster rolls at Joe Fortes which are  better deal.

 

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Cod Croquettes

One of my favourite happy hour dishes were the Cod Croquettes. For $9, you get 6 big pieces, so this is great for sharing and reasonably priced. The cod is mixed with some potato filling and the outside is battered and crispy.

 

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Fritto Misto

Another dish great for sharing is the Fritto Misto. This is essentially fried mixed seafood, topped with fennel and served with a side of aioli. For $12, the portion is decent and you get a variety of fish, calamari, and sweet onion.

 

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Coquille White

For drinks, I had the Coquille White which is a great deal for only $6.

 

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Overall, I found some of the happy hour items to be slightly pricey for the portion and felt I could get something similar at another restaurant during happy hour for cheaper. I guess their regular menu is quite expensive, so these are already considered discounted. The food itself is pretty good though and great if you enjoy seafood. On a Sunday afternoon, the restaurant wasn’t very busy, so this makes a good spot to relax with no rush to leave.

Pros:
– Great seafood snacks for sharing

Cons:
– Some of the happy hour items are still pricey for the portion size

Price Range: $25-35 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4.5 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Coquille Fine Seafood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Faubourg Paris

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media tasting, but all opinions are my own.

For a limited time, you will be able to get a taste of the lavvender field of Provence France at Faubourg.

 

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Faubourg has launched their summer lavender menu which features products including lavender earl grey macarons, lavender and strawberry pastries, lavender mixed berry smoothies, lavender lattes, lavender tea lattes, blueberry and lavender chaussons, and more. The menu is already available now and will be available until early to mid September.

 

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These desserts were sample sizes of the actual for the media tasting, so the actual dessert is much larger. My favourite had to be the Lavender and Strawberry Pastry (the circular one). This dessert features a lavender honey and sage mousse paired with a sweet strawberry gelee and a lavender vanilla sponge cake. I especially loved the sugar crystals on the rims! Not overly sweet but very strong in lavender flavour.

 

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All items at Faubourg are handcrafted and prepared fresh daily using traditional French recipes and high quality ingredients with no preservatives added. To demonstrate their commitment for quality, the pastries are prepared every morning and the viennoiseries are baked throughout the day ensuring the freshest products for the customers.

 

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Products are available starting June 4th, in the following locations:

Downtown: 769 Hornby Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 1S2
Kerrisdale: 2156 W 41st Ave Vancouver, BC V6M 1Z1
Park Royal: 792 Main Street, Park Royal S West Vancouver, BC V7T 1A2
Le Café: 175-628 East Kent South avenue Vancouver, BC V5X 0B2

 

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

Copper Chimney

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Last week, I was invited to check out the happy hour menu which has relaunched at Copper Chimney. The Indian restaurant is located inside Hotel Le Soleil.

 

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The happy hour menu has a variety of appetizers and drinks on special. Most of the appetizers are around $7 and drinks at around $5-$8. The happy hour menu is available everyday from 3pm-6pm.

 

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Gin and Tonics

We got to try some Gin and Tonics. The restaurant carries gin from the local distillery, Long Table Distillery.

 

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Garlic Naan and Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread

Not part of the happy hour menu, but who can say no to naan bread at an Indian restaurant? We were able to try both the Garlic Naan (left) and the Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread (right). The naan are made fresh in their clay ovens to order. You can choose to have them with some chutney toppings such as mango, tamarind, mint-cilantro, or cucumber raita. I absolutely loved the cheese stuffed bread. The melted cheese was so stringy! I couldn’t stop eating this!

 

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Spiced Chips and Dip

Moving along to a happy hour item were the Spiced Chips and Dip. The chips are thick cut with a crispy exterior and served with a jalapeno and cumin raita dip. A great sharing dish!

 

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Minced Lamb Kebabs
I love skewers, so the Minced Lamb Kebabs were perfect for me! They had a nice char and were well seasoned.

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Tandoori Salmon

 

One of my favourites was the Tandoori Salmon. The salmon was extremely moist in the inside and the tandoori flavour was not overpowering. Highly recommend this!

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Vegetable Flatbread

For vegetarians, they have the Vegetable Flatbread which is topped with basil, goat cheese, and balsamic.

 

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Tiger Prawn Tandoori
Probably my favourite dish of the night was the Tiger Prawn Tandoori! Wow, these prawns were large and bouncy and seasoned with sambal, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, sea salt. Extremely flavourful!

 

 

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Manchurian Cauliflower

Another item on the happy hour menu is the Manchurian Cauliflower. The cauliflower has a crispy batter and comes with a sweet and sour sauce.

 

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Non Vegetable Thali
They also have both vegetable and non-vegetable thali on their regular menu. The non-vegetable thali comes with indian pickles, courgette curry, lamb curry, butter chicken, Manchurian cauliflower, saffron basmati rice, and papadum.

 

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Tiffin Box Meal
During weekdays, they also offer Tiffin Box Meals. The initial tiffin box is $15, but after that, each meal is $9. Each day, there is a different curry and the box also includes rice, naan, and a kachumber slaw. This is a great deal for those working around the area!

 

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After trying some of the food, we got to take a tour in the kitchen. Here, we were shown how the naan is made. They have two tandoor ovens which are extremely high heat. Therefore, making the naan only takes a few minutes before it’s full of these air pockets. The chef gave us the freshly made naan and wow, that was good! I don’t think I have ever had such fresh naan before. So light and fluffy!

 

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The restaurant has both lower and upper level seating. It also has a small patio on the ground level just outside of the restaurant. But if you want to throw a private party, you can also book a dining area upstairs which connects to this outdoor patio! I love how intimate and secluded this area is while getting the patio feel because it’s not covered. Super cool design!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Copper Chimney. I’m no expert with Indian food so I can’t comment on authenticity, but the food tastes great! Will definitely be back for happy hour as it is so close to work!

 

Copper Chimney Restaurant - Indian Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Teahouse in Stanley Park

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Lamb Lollipops

Another late post, but we decided to celebrate Valentines Day later this year to avoid the expensive set menus and restrictive dining hours. S decided to take me to the Teahouse in Stanley Park which was a nice surprise as I had never been and the restaurant had stunning views of the city. Definitely a very romantic restaurant with the interior having a rustic feel to it.

To start, we shared the Lamb Lollipops which were topped with tomatoes and a salsa verde. The lamb was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and had a nice char.

 

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Mussels

For my main, I chose to have the Mussels which was in a tomato based broth, topped with artichokes, garlic, chorizo, corn, and a white wine sauce. I found the mussels were slightly on the tinier side but I didn’t have any closed mussels. There were slightly too many artichokes for my liking, but the tomato broth itself was good. We had complimentary bread to start and the waitress made sure I had enough to soak up the broth so brought over even more bread.

 

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BC Halibut

S got the BC Halibut which was oven roasted, and served with blistered tomatoes, roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, and salsa verde. The fish had a nice crispy on the outside while remaining moist inside.

 

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To end the night, the waitress provided us with complimentary chocolate dipped strawberries which was a nice surprise! She had asked what the occasion was for our dinner while clearing our table, so it was very kind of her to throw in a little something.

Overall, I highly recommend coming here for a special occasion. The ambiance is beautiful and although the views are slightly harder to see at night, it still makes a wonderful spot for a romantic night out. Portions of food were actually pretty good considering the price and venue. I was happily full by the end of the night. Would love to come back during lunch to enjoy the daytime views!

Pros:
– Romantic setting with scenic views of the city
– Friendly and professional service

Cons:
– Not transit friendly. You’ll definitely need to drive or catch a cab here.

Price Range: $35-50 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 5 Ambiance: 5 Parking: Free parking right outside the restaurant Overall: 4

 

The Teahouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hapa Izakaya – Dine Out Vancouver 2018

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The last Dine Out Vancouver restaurant we tried was Hapa Izakaya at the Coal Harbour location. To be honest, I was never a huge fan of Hapa because I thought the dishes were just average for the price. However, a recent visit for happy hour changed my mind and N wanted to try the restaurant anyways, so I thought I would give it another try. Plus, the selling point for me was the 3 course savory dishes which was a nice change from the typical appie, main, and dessert. This menu was great for sharing and actually filled me up!

 

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Beef Tartare

To start, we had two of the Beef Tartare. The AAA beef was mixed with maple soy, yuzu ginger and crispy capers. Nori sheets were provided to wrap the beef in. This was one of my favourite dishes. The beef tasted fresh and I like the light soy sauce which accompanied it. Portions were also pretty big and perfect for sharing.

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Albacore Tomato Gelee

The second appetizer was the Albacore Tomato Gelee which was essentially sliced albacore tuna sashimi topped with a house made shiso pesto and tomato jelly. Tuna was fresh and the sauces were pretty unique.

 

 

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Confit Duck Leg

Moving onto the second course, the Confit Dug Leg was marinated with apple ginger and sake. This was paired with grilled zucchini and green beans. The duck was pretty tender but didn’t think this was anything too special.

 

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Panko Sockeye Salmon

Another dish was the Panko Sockeye Salmon which was butter sauteed and served with a karashi mustard hollaindaise sauce. I liked the panko crust, but found the salmon to be slightly on the dry side.

 

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Ankake Agedashi Tofu

I always love a good agedashi tofu and the Ankake Agedashi Tofu was served with bok choy, carrots and green onion. The skin was crispy but I think the sauce should have sat on the side as the bottom of the tofu became quite soggy.

 

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Beef Stew

The third course was the Beef Stew which we thought was pretty random at a Japanese restaurant. However, the flavours were actually rpetty good. This was tomato and onion based beef stew topped with mozzarella, cheddar and monterey cheese. The dish was served with garlic toast so you could spread the stew on top. Tasted sort of like spaghetti sauce but I actually really liked it.

 

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Salmon Sushi Cake

One of the items I was excited about was the Salmon Sushi Cake. But I think we all agreed it wasn’t what we expected. Chopped sockeye salmon was mixed with cream cheese, shiso, miso and karashi mustard and served on top of a bed of sushi rice. I think we didn’t like it was because it was so heavy with cream cheese. A Japanese mayo would have been enough. It was too heavy and covered the flavours of the salmon.

 

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Shiitake Jya-Jyamen Ramen

Last but not least was the Shiitake Jya-Jyamen Ramen. The ramen noodles were served in a soy milk, spicy miso broth and topped with mushroom rice ball. The broth was very thick and heavy. Definitely more of a sauce than broth but it was good to coat the noodles. Personally, I thought this was just average.

Overall, there were some hits and misses but the portions are great for sharing and for only $30. I enjoyed the appetizer dishes more and felt we could skip the entrees next time.

Pros:
– Fun ambiance for drinks and sharing dishes

Cons:
– Dishes were a hit or miss

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

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

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Street parking or paid parkade Overall: 3

 

Hapa Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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