Kitchen By Yugo

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Seeing on the Instagram pictures recently, I decided to take S to Kitchen by Yugo for her birthday. The restaurant features Japanese French fusion and is located on Denman Street near Robson. When we arrived on a Sunday night, the restaurant was completely empty but with tons of staff and cooks. We found it a little odd, but the restaurant slowly filled up. Still, there were quite a lot of employees compared to the size of the restaurant which we found quite odd. At least our service was super attentive because of this! The interior is dimly lit and is quite nice for date night or a girls’ night out.


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Chicken Wings

To start, we had the Chicken Wings which feature a soy mirin glaze topped with a grilled shishito pepper. The skin was crispy with the sauce being on the sweeter side. I really liked the attentiveness to plating because the toothpick which they poked in acted as a fork to eat the wing. This made it really easy to eat without having to use your hands!


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Aburi Hamachi Oshi Sushi

Next, we had the Aburi Hamachi Oshi Sushi. The plate was again visually appealing with crispy taro chips on the side. I found this was slightly on the dryer side as aburi sushi is often more creamy. This wasn’t very memorable compared to the other dishes.


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6 pc Omakase Nigiri

We each then got a set of the 6 piece Omakase Nigiri. Wow! This was beautiful and each piece was carefully curated. To be honest, I don’t remember each type of fish, but they were mostly white fish. What was special was that each nigiri had a different topping or sauce to accompany the fish. This twist is not traditional at all, but each topping really worked well and we both agreed it tasted great despite being fusion style. None of the nigiris need soy sauce since they already have their own topping.


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My favourite of the six had to be the Aburi King Salmon with black truffle. This piece is normally $17 for 3 pieces if you order separately, so the omakase set for $30 is a pretty good deal. The salmon just melted in my mouth and the black truffle worked so well with it! The egg was also super interesting as it was stuffed with  grated radish and you could really see each layer of egg!


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Carbonara Udon

Kitchen by Yugo also feature a small selection of entrees which raelly showcase the French side of things. We decided to try the Carbonara Udon which features bacon, mushroom, parmesan cheese, and poached egg on top. As for noodles, the Japanese twist is featured using udon! Who knew a carbonara sauce would work well with udon? This creamy goodness was delicious and flavourful and the egg was poached perfectly so the yolk ran out. Our only complaint was that the udon was slightly on the softer side as I personally prefer it to be more chewy. This is a good dish to fill up if you’re hungry.


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Scallops Risotto

Last but not least, we finished with another one of their French influenced dishes, the Scallops Risotto. This dish featured Hokkaido scallops, black truffle, mushrooms, ikura, honey ricotta, bonito flakes, and fried leeks. Ikura and bonito flakes with risotto? Yes, this worked! The saltiness from the fish roe with the creamy risotto was absolutely delicious! Our only mistake was ordering two creamy dishes, so we were beyond full! Really enjoyed this and it was priced well given the ingredients.


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Lychee Osmanthus

I actually really wanted to try their desserts but we had ordered way too much food. To our surprise, the restaurant gave us a small piece of Lychee Osmanthus on the house so we had no excuse to skip dessert! This featured lychee mousse, osmanthus jelly, sponge cake, and pannac cotta. The dessert was light and refreshing and a perfect way to end the rather heavy meal near the end.

Overall, we were quite pleased with the food at Kitchen by Yugo. I would suggest coming with around 4 people so that you can really try a variety of dishes. Really interesting dishes which I haven’t really seen elsewhere but definitely do not expect to find any traditional Japanese dishes.

– Great execution of French Japanese fusion dishes
– Nice date night ambiance

– Aburi Hamachi Oshi was quite mediocre

Price Range: $30-60 per person

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

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


Kitchen by Yugo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Black Rice Izakaya

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

Back in December, Black Rice Izakaya launched some new items on their winter menu and we were invited for a tasting.


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The interior is full of wooden details giving it a warm izakaya feel.


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Gin No Kurenai “Pink Lady”

We started off with some sake called Pink Lady which has a rose colour and is light, sweet and fruity. My first time trying sake with a rose colour and it didn’t disappoint!


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Goma Tuna

To start, we had the Goma Tuna which was served with a side of sea urchin. The tuna was lightly seasoned with sesame and seaweed.


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Hamaguri Dobin Mushi

One of my favourite appetizers was the Hamaguri Dobin Mushi. This clam soup had a clean but flavourful taste and was perfect as a palette cleanser. Highly recommend giving this a try especially in this cold weather!


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Kimchi Scallop Motoyaki

The Kimchi Scallop Motoyaki was visually attractive! The scallop shells were filled with of course scallop, kimchi, chopped bell pepper, butter and cheese. The kimchi was not overly spicy but was packed with flavour.


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Teriyaki Wagyu Steak

Another delicious dish was the Teriyaki Wagyu Steak. The Wagyu beef is glazed with a teriyaki sauce and sits on top of Monterrey jack and mozzarella cheese which has been mixed with mashed potatoes. The beef was cooked to a medium rare with a beautiful pink center. Super tender! My only wish was that the cheesy mixture was more stringy.


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Kimchi Nabe

Perfect for the cold weather is the Kimchi Nabe, a kimchi stew with vegetables, sliced pork and tofu balls. This Korean Japanese fusion works and would be great with a side of rice!


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Napolitan Spaghetti

One of the more interesting dishes was the Napolitan Spaghetti. The dish features soba noodles, tomato sauce, ketchup, bacon, sausage, onions and egg underneath. The spaghetti reminds me of the HK style cafe pastas with the sauce being on the sweeter side. But for some reason, it works and tastes really homey!


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To finish, we had some sushi which is part of their regular menu and is not usually presented like this. This is just a quick version of the Aburi Scallop Hako and the Black Mentaiko Roll. Still, they tasted great and the Black Mentaiko Roll caught me by surprise with the chewy black rice.

Overall, some great new winter additions to the menu this season. The food is definitely fusion and strongly Korean influenced, but it works! A great spot to share a few dishes with friends and have some drinks!


Black Rice Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tetsu Sushi Bar

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Tetsu Sushi Bar is now one of my favourite sushi spots in Vancouver. The restaurant opened up earlier this year and is located on Denman near Robson. The spot is quite small and can only fit around 15 diners so be sure to make reservations in advance.


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The restaurant is known for their omakase which is reasonably priced compared to many of the other omakases in Vancouver. You can also choose to have chef’s choice of sashimi or sushi and can have this with or without the appetizers, udon and ice cream.


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They have a daily special menu depending on what’s fresh. At first, we thought that they only have this menu along with the omakase, but turns out they have an extensive menu with sushi rolls, dons, and appetizers. I was definitely surprised by the large menu.


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E decided to get the omakase set with 7 piece premium sushi for $62.75. First, you get 3 appetizers. The first was Black Cod Sperm. Yes, this was extremely weird to hear but I was curious to try it. It looked sort of like brain and didn’t really taste bad or anything. I honestly can’t really explain what I ate, but worth giving it a try if it’s part of the set anyways.


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The second appetizer was Sea Snail in a light broth with pea snaps. The snail was very tender and not tough at all. It sort of reminded me of escargot but had very clean flavours.


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The last appetizer was the Grilled Sablefish. The skin was crispy while the meat was super soft and moist. Buttery smooth! So good!


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K and I both got the Chef’s Premium 7 Piece Sushi for $42.75. The only difference with the premium vs. regular set is that you get Hokkaido Uni and Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro. E’s omakase set also came with the exact same pieces since he chose to get the 7 piece premium option as well. The majority of the fish were white fish but I always enjoy trying these as I would never normally order them on my own. From left to right: Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro, Bonito, Ika (Flying Squid), Masai (Sea Bream), Sardine, Spanish Mackarel, Hokkaido Uni. The sardine was probably my least favourite as it was more fishy but the ginger really helped. The favourites for me were the sea bream which melted in my mouth and of course the two premium pieces. The bluefin kamatoro which I believe the waitress said was the cheek area and is from Nova Scotia was definitely among our favourites as well. The fish was so buttery and creamy and just melted in my mouth! And of course the Hokkaido Uni was a no brainer. Sweet and fresh with a tiny bit of wasabi. So good if you are a uni lover. All the fish already come brushed with some light soy sauce so no need to dip any additional soy sauce on top.


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Since K and I did not get the omakase set, we decided to share the Inaniwa Udon which you can choose to have hot or cold. We chose to have it with the cold dipping sauce which was very refreshing and I can imagine this being perfect in the hot summers. I really enjoyed this thin and chewy type of noodles which the waitress said they order from an area called Akita in Japan and these are handmade in Japan. If you love udon, you must try this! I want to come back just for the udon!


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E also got to choose between the cold or hot Inaniwa Udon as part of his omakase. He chose to have it in hot soup and he said it was raelly delicious as well. I think the portions for the omakase are half the size though.


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To finish, E’s omakase also came with his choice of green tea or black sesame ice cream. Nothing too special with the green tea ice cream, but of course it’s nice to finish your meal with some ice cream!


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Overall, we were all very pleased with the food at Tetsu and cannot wait to come back. The highlights were definitely the nigiris and udon and I like the fact that you can order a la carte and also order rolls. Service was also extremely friendly and our tea was always filled up. I noticed there are quite a few regulars here so I really hope this spot is here to stay!


– Really good nigiri and udon
– Service is very friendly

– Very small spot

Price Range: $40-60 per person

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

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 5

Tetsu Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yui Japanese Restaurant

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Yui Oshi Plate

Took me a while to visit Yui Japanese Restaurant, but finally I came here with G for lunch while I was in downtown. The restaurant is quite hidden as it’s inside an office building next to the Trump Tower. Even after entering the office building, it’s not super obvious where the restaurant is, but head straight in and look to your right. Inside, the restaurant is extremely small, so we were lucky to even get a spot during lunch time.
The chefs used to work at Miku and Minami, so at Yui, they are known for the salmon aburi oshi that tastes similar to Miku/ Minami but for a fraction of the price.
During lunch, there are quite a few lunch only plates which are pretty affordable. G chose to get the Yui Oshi Plate, which is lunch only. For $11, you get two pieces of daily chef choice aburi nigiri, two pieces of salmon oshi, and a daily fresh roll. For the two aburi nigiri that the chef chooses, it was a ebi aburi oshi with pesto sauce and a tuna aburi nigiri with pickled sweet onions. As for the daily fresh roll, it was sadly just a california roll. Sounds like it’s the california roll most of the time from talking to other friends who have ordered this. Still, a good deal given you get four pieces of aburi with this lunch plate.


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Salmon Aburi Oshi

I of course had to try the Salmon Aburi Oshi so we decided to share a full plate of this which goes for $11. This seriously tastes and looked almost the same as the ones at Miku/ Minami. The only difference I found was that they put a lot more pepper on this. For this price, I would definitely come back here if I’m looking for a quick lunch. But on special occasions, I would still pay the higher price for the real thing at Miku/ Minami.


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Traditional Plate

For myself, I got the Traditional Plate, which is also on the lunch menu only. For $10.50, you get the daily chef’s choice of seven kinds of traditional style nigiri. To be honest, the selection is the cheaper selection of nigiris on the menu, but they were all very well constructed. The fish tasted fresh and for this price, I wouldn’t mind getting this again for lunch.


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Overall, I was quite impressed with the sushi at Yui. Don’t expect authentic Japanese food here since the chefs are not Japanese, but you can find some great aburi sushi and nigiris here for a reasonable price. The aburi oshi are especially a must try as they are very comparable to Miku/ Minami but for a cheaper price. The only downside is there isn’t much service during lunch time since they are so busy and the seating is also a bit cramped. You can also do take out here if you don’t want to wait for a seat!


– Salmon aburi oshi is very comparable to Miku/ Minami
– Prices are reasonable for the quality

– Seating is quite cramped

Price Range: $15-20

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

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

Yui Japanese Bistro 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!


Yuzu Shokutei

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Yuzu Shokutei opened up earlier this year on Denman Street nearby Kingyo. The branding of the restaurant really caught my attention since its bright and fun. Plus, the pictures on their Instagram page really looked good! S and I decided to give it a try earlier in the summer when they were having a promo going on (yes – this post is from a while ago!).


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The deal was that if we liked their Instagram page, then we could get an appetizer and a pint of beer for $5. We got a pint of Sapporo which was refreshing after a long day at work!


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For the appetizer, we got the Takoyaki (octopus balls) which were topped with mayo, bonito flakes and nori powder. I really enjoyed this as the outside batter was crispy with the center piping hot and soft. They had a large piece of octopus in each ball.


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Paiten Sea Salt Ramen

Both of us decided to try their ramen. Keep in mind that the restaurant actually has a variety of rice dishes as well, as they are more izakaya style, then a full on ramen restaurant. S got the Paiten Sea Salt Ramen which featured medium thickness noodles, slow cooked chicken broth, shio seasoning, aji-tamago, pork chashu, bamboo shoots, and green onions. The bowl had more than enough noodles but we both prefer the thin noodles at Danbo, so personally were not a huge fan. The broth itself was light in flavour and wasn’t overly salty, but we found it to be rather thick. As for the chashu, it was very interesting because the outer edges were very dark but not crispy. We thought it was slightly too fatty on the outer edge. I think if you like medium consistency noodles, then you will probably enjoy this.


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Chicken Truffle Sea Salt Ramen

For myself, I had to try the famous Chicken Truffle Sea Salt Ramen. This features their signature tori broth, truffle oil, shio seasoning, pork and chicken chashu, aji-tamago, bamboo shoots, green onion, enoki, and wilted gem tomatoes. There are so many toppings on this that I found it a little overwhelming. But the first thing I noticed was the smell of truffle! I could smell it as the server brought it over. To my disappointment, I found that the truffle flavour is not very apparent in the broth itself. You can definitely smell it, but the taste is not as strong. The broth is basically the same as the Paitan Sea Salt, where it was too thick for my liking. Noodles were also medium consistency, so perhaps the reason I wasn’t a huge fan of it. The tamago yolk was spilling out in the center but the edges were slightly overcooked, so could be worked on.


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Overall, we personally found Yuzu Shokutei’s ramens to be quite average based on the ones we tried as we personally aren’t a huge fan of medium consistency noodles and the thick broth. However, I have to say the ramens are quite interesting and modernized. The portions are also pretty good for $12-14 in downtown. But with all the ramen joints around this area, it may be difficult for Yuzu Shokutei to compete, but hopefully their other izakaya items can draw the crowds!


– Truffle ramen is really interesting
– Friendly service

– Personally didn’t enjoy the medium thickness of noodles and thick broth

Price Range: $15-20

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

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

Yuzu Shokutei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Botanist opened up earlier this year at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It took over the previous location of Oru, which I quite enjoyed. Botanist has completely renovated the space though, giving it a beautiful and elegant ambiance. I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for a while, and S decided to bring me here for my birthday.


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We were seated in the “Garden”, which has beauitful floral chairs and wooden tables. The decor in here is truly beautiful.


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We were told that the Garden has over 50 different species of plants, and you truly feel like you are in a garden. They also have a cocktail bar, dining room, and outdoor terrace garden.


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Botanist is known for their cocktails. If you sit at the cocktail lab, you can order some really fancy and sophisticated cocktails. I can’t find the name of the one I ordered anymore, but I remember it had gin and some lemonade in it. It was then topped with lavender. Light, sweet, and fresh.


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To start, we were given complimentary bread that was topped with poppy seeds and served with whipped butter. The bread is shaped like a leaf which follows the whole botany theme of the restaurant. Even the serving plate which is a piece of petrified wood adds to the theme. The bread was delicious with the whipped butter!


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Pan-Seared Scallops

To start, we shared the Pan-Seared Scallops. This was a beautiful work of art and featured onions, green apple, guanciale, brown butter, and snap peas. What made it extra special was that the scallops were wrapped with a thin slice of guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a beautiful brown sear and not rubbery at all.


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Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle

For our mains, S got the Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle which featured green garlic panisse, favas, shallots, and natural jus. I am not familiar with this cut of lamb, but it was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and very tender! The panisse was very interesting. It is supposed to be similar to a polenta, but we found it tasted almost like fish cake. Overall dish was colourful and delicious!


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Duck Breast

For myself, I had the Duck Breast which featured spaghetti squash, rhubarb, and natural jus. After my first bite, I immediately thought it tasted like Chinese roast duck! The skin was extremely crispy, while the meat was a beautiful pink and tender throughout. The slightly sour rhubarb worked well with the meat along with the spaghetti squash. I really enjoyed the Asian flavours of this dish and it was executed very well.


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Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake

To finish, we shared the Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake which featured apple, honey, angelica brulée, lemon buttermilk ice cream, and a ring shaped polenta cake. The dish was expensive but the presentation was spot on. So many components, but everything worked well together. I found the polenta a little too dense for my liking, but the light ice cream helped balance it out.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food at Botanist. I felt that every dish was presented like a piece of art. Although the prices are on the higher end (think Hawksworth prices), I found that the portions were very reasonable. The mains were all very filling although they will cost you around $40 each. Service was also spot on although I felt like the service was almost a little too attentive and I was being watched! Ambiance of course is perfect for any date night. Happy to have this new addition in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood!

– Ambiance is beautiful
– Food was well executed and presentation was spot on

– High end prices (not your everyday meal!)

Price Range: $60-100

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

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4


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

Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2017 Returns!

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Vancouver’s largest all white dinner party is back for the summer! This year, Diner en Blanc Vancouver will take place on August 24, 2017 at a secret location. This year, the dinner will take place at two secret locations and Vancouver will be the first city outside of Paris to do so.

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Hopefully by now, you’ve scored yourself one of those exclusive invitations. After experiencing the event last year, I can tell you that this event requires lots of work and preparation if you want the day to be perfect! Read along to learn what tips I have for preparing for this beautiful all-white event!

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One mistake I did last year was doing everything last minute. If it’s your first year, you’ll find that you likely don’t have a lot of the required items. When it’s down to crunch time, you’ll find that most items are sold out and you’re left purchasing the most expensive product and one that you may never use again. With less than one month to go, here are some tips for any first-timers:

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What to Wear

  • Shop early for your outfit! You can check out the typical retailers like Zara, Aritzia, or Forever 21, but chances are you will match with someone else. Try looking for outfits from vintage stores or independent retailers such as in Gastown or on Main Street.
  • Remember you need to wear all white! This means even your shoes need to be white. Don’t wear off-white or any other colours. You will stand out but not in a good way!
  • Wear comfortable shoes or at least bring a pair as backup. You’ll be hauling your tables and chairs to the venue so wearing sky high stilettos won’t help. If the venue is on the grass, wedges, flats or sandals would also be easier to walk in.
  • Accessorize with gold or silver accessories because you are allowed to!
  • Bring a light white scarf or cardigan in case it gets cold in the evening. Last year, it was hot throughout the night, but you never know!

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What to Eat

Sure there is catering which you can purchase in advance through Diner en Blanc, but for most of us, the catering menu seems quite expensive for what it is. In fact, we purchased our wine in advance through their website since you’re not allowed to bring your alcohol, but the line up to retrieve it took extremely long. The good thing with ordering through them is you don’t need to think about packing your food though. Anyways, for those of you are packing your own food, think of items that can be served at room temperature. The fact is, it will be hot out and it’ll likely be a few hours from transportation to set up. So any food that needs refrigeration would likely spoil, and food that is typically served hot would become lukewarm. I would suggest charcuterie boards with some bread since it also looks great on the table. If you’re too lazy to get the board set up, I would suggest buying take out such as sushi.

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What to Bring

This was probably the most difficult thing for us since we didn’t have white tables and chairs. I’d suggest purchasing or asking your friends as early as you can. We even tried rental stores, but they were completely sold out for the day.

For chairs, I would suggest foldable light chairs such as these from Ikea. As for your table, it actually doesn’t need to be white, since you can easily cover it with a white tablecloth. However, a table can be very heavy, so make sure it is foldable and light to carry. There are specific dimensions that you need to adhere to and the table must be a square shape since they will be placed next to a strangers so the line of tables need to look somewhat aligned. By the time I looked, most tables were sold out, and I ended up carrying a heavy and expensive table from JYSK. I saw some people carrying these roll up tables which were super handy as you can just sling it over your shoulder. I would also bring a trolley that can be folded up and hidden under the table if you want to ease carrying all the tableware. A picnic basket for the tableware may work, or else make sure to bubble wrap all glass and ceramic ware.

Other items to bring:

  • white table cloth
  • white cloth napkins (lots of fun to wave it around at the beginning of dinner)
  • wine glasses
  • white plates
  • silver or gold cutlery (no plastic!)
  • sparkling or still water
  • garbage bag and extra bags to put your dirty plates and cutlery in at the end of the night
  • paper towel
  • matches (to light your sparkler at the end of the night)
  • electronic candles
  • flowers or other white/silver decorations (try to find items that are light!)

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Hope you’re ready for one of the most photo-worthy event now! Be sure to walk around the venue and check out other people’s outfits and table decorations. And remember to capture the moments at the end where they hand you sparklers to light. Probably one of the most magical moments of the night! Enjoy and have fun!