Mak N Ming

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For J’s birthday this year, we went to Mak N Ming after hearing it won one of Canada’s best new restaurant awards. Located in the Kitsilano area, the restaurant what I’d like to think as Westcoast cuisine with twists from other cultures. One thing to note is that the restaurant only offers two chef’s menu during dinner time, so a la carte is not available. They have now expanded to offer brunch which is a la carte and the brunch menu is also much more affordable.

 

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The interior is quite small and features a simple modern design. However, I thought the seating was bit uncomfortable as the seats were pretty hard. It was also interesting that they put all their wine in the middle of the restaurant, possibly because of limited space. As noted, there is a Demi Menu which features 4 courses for $54 and a Chef’s Menu which features 7 courses for $83. We opted for the latter. We ended up getting 8 courses in total as the cornbread seems to be in addition to the rest of the menu.

 

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First Bite

To start, the First Bite was a savoury bread pudding which had truffle, cheese, and anchovies. It sort of reminded me of an egg omelette but it was quite flavourful.

The next course, I forgot to take a picture of, but it was a Halibut dish featuring line caught halibut from Vancouver island and a beurre blanc sauce with radishes.

 

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Chilled Sweet Pea Chawanmushi

Next was the beautifully plate Chilled Sweet Pea Chawanmushi. I love chawanmushi at Japanese restaurants, so this was an interesting take to the classic dish. At first, I quite enjoyed the flavours, but after a while, I felt like the pea flavour was too much and getting really bland. Perhaps It was also because I personally don’t like to eat peas that much. I think I would’ve enjoyed it if they cut down some of the peas on top.

Another dish I forgot to take a picture of was the Cornbread with honeycomb butter. This was a very memorable dish as I typically do not enjoy cornbread, but it was surprisingly very moist. Paired with the honeycomb butter which was slightly crystallized, it was sweet and savoury.

 

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Wild Salmon with Morels

Moving onto a larger dish, we had the Wild Salmon with Morels which are these spongy type of mushrooms. The salmon was cooked perfectly as it was moist in the center and tasted great with the fish roe and cream. The shitake crisp which was on top of the salmon was interesting and you could taste that hint of mushroom flavour. However, I didn’t think it was really necessary as we ended up just eating it on its own.

 

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Azuki Rice and Greens

The last main was the Azuki Rice and Greens. The server poured a dashi stock in the bowl at our table. Azuki beans are mixed with rice and a small patty was formed and coated with some batter to deep fry. The dish was nice when soaked in the dashi stock to soften the rice as it was a bit chewier than regular rice. I couldn’t tell what the greens were, but they were extremely bitter if eaten alone. However, the bitterness magically disappears when paired with the azuki rice which was quite odd!

 

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Buckwheat, Goat Cheese, Fruit

Moving onto dessert was a pretty underwhelming dish. This consisted of something similar to a buckwheat pancake, a slice of goat cheese, some nuts, and a blackberry. I just expected something that took a little more work to be made and thought this course was a bit random given the high price we paid.

 

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White Chocolate, Lemon, Hibiscus

The dessert to end our meal was probably my favourite of the night. It was something similar to a cannoli and consisted of white chocolate, lemon, matcha powder, and hibiscus sauce. The dessert was light and not overly sweet. I also appreciated that the kitchen added the birthday message on my friend’s plate.

 

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As they brought our bill, they also gave us each a bag of madeleines. These were such a nice treat and very delicious! It’s cute how they give you something to takeaway.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the food at Mak N Ming. I think I came in with really high expectations, but found many of the dishes to be a bit underwhelming. Perhaps the flavours did not fit my palette personally. Also, I would suggest getting one demi menu and one chef’s menu if you want to share and try different dishes. I saw many others do that and the demi menu actually looked better! The Chef’s menu is also very filling, so the demi menu is probably sufficient for me. Service-wise, it was professional and attentive.

Pros:
– Menu changes often (roughly every month)
– Some dishes are well executed while others are a miss for me

Cons:
– No a la carte available during dinner time

Price Range: $60-$100 per person

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

Food: 3 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid meter parking on street Overall: 3

 

Mak N Ming Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Linh Cafe

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Linh Cafe serves French-Vietnamese cuisine in the Kits area. The cafe has been around for a few years now but I never ventured out here until recently. In addition to lunch and dinner hours, the restaurant is open for brunch as well!

 

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Nem – Cha Gio – Spring Roll

On my first visit, we came here for dinner and ordered a variety of dishes to share. The first were the Spring Rolls which were filled with shrimp, pork, wood-ear mushroom, and glass noodles. These had a good amount of filling and were crispy on the outside.

 

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Banh Mi Cay Hai Phong

One of my favourite appetizers were these Bahn Mi Cay Hai Phong. They are baguette sticks filled with chicken and pork live pate, topped with some hot sauce and fried shallots. The pate was smooth and creamy and deliciously seasoned. Although it has hot sauce, this dish was not too spicy.

 

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French Escargot

Another appetizer was the French Escargot. The snails sat on top of some bread which was soaked in tomato and garlic butter. Very strong in butter flavour so of course it tasted great.

 

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Braised Short Ribs

A main we shared was the Braised Short Ribs which is slow braised with peppercorn sauce and honey glazed sauce. The short ribs were tender and fell apart easily. The dish was served with a side of bread but the bread was not warm. It would have been much better warm, but the bread was still great to soak up the sauce.

 

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Pho(Phở) Bo

Lastly, we had my favourite! The Pho Bo which is a Hanoi style beef noodle soup with braised flank and rice noodles. The rice noodles in this pho are wider than the usual ones I get. But wow, the broth in this pho is unbelievably good! It’s so hearty and tastes almost like Taiwanese beef noodle soup. The flank is also the best I’ve had. The meat just falls apart and you get huge pieces.

 

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Pho(Phở) Bo

The pho was so good that I came back again with S a few weeks later. This is the large size but you can get a mini pho if you’re a small eater. The pho here is not cheap at $14 for the regular bowl but I think it’s well worth it. The amount of meat you get is generous and the quality is what makes it so worth it. The mini pho is still $8 so definitely not cheap. I highly recommend trying this if you enjoy pho!

 

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Britanny Breakfast

On this second visit, we were here during brunch/lunch hours, so I chose to try out something from their brunch menu. The Britanny Breakfast features two scrambled eggs, shrimp, ling cod, fish veloute, all served in a cast iron pan. The dish also comes with a side of fries, salad and bread. The salad is tasty with a light vinaigrette sauce. Fries were nice and crispy and bread was great to soak up the sauce. The seafood with eggs were seasoned well without being too salty and made a great breakfast.

Overall, I really enjoyed the food at Linh Cafe both visits. The pho is a must order but many of their other dishes were just as good. This is a great spot if you love Vietnamese food but want a hint of French food. Service is quite mediocre as I find it a bit cold with few smiles or words. On our second visit during brunch, we also waited over 45 minutes for our food which is quite long! I feel like they forgot to put our order in because people after us all got their food. I was quite disappointed since I really like their food, so hopefully this doesn’t happen again!

Pros:
– Hanoi-style pho is delicious!
– Good selection of French-Viet dishes which are well executed

Cons:
– Services is a bit cold

Price Range: $15-20 per person

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

Food: 4.5 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 4

 

Linh Cafe - French Cooking Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fable Kitchen x Bordertown Winery Long Table Dinner

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Thanks to a contest hosted by Peter from Vancouver Livin and Fable Kitchen, K and I won two tickets to the long table dinner at Fable Kitchen which featured a five course menu paired with Bordertown wines. The menu was created by Chef Max Straczek.

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Bordertown Winery was present at the dinner to explain the different notes of each wine and essentially provide a wine tasting experience!

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Bordertown is one of the newer wineries and is located in Osoyoos, BC. It started in 2015 and BC Liquor stores now carry their wines. Bottles range from around $18-40.

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Pan Seared Scallop and Cucumber

The first dish was the Pan Seared Scallops with compressed cucumber, cucumber relish and watercress. The scallops were perfectly cooked and almost melted in my mouth! I loved the pickled flavours of the cucumber relish and this paired great with the seafood. Refreshing and light. This was paired with the 2015 Muscat which was light and fruity. Muscat white wines are always one of my favourites.

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Slow Cooked Egg and Flash Steamed Asparagus

Next up was the Slow Cooked Egg and Flash Steamed Asparagus on top of gnocchi and topped with hazelnut bread crumb. The egg was cooked perfectly with the yolk spilling out. This was paired with a 2014 Chardonnay which has a buttery richness to it.

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Rabbit Turnover

For our main, we had the Rabbit Turnover with smashed peas and chervil. The portion looked small but I was seriously so full after this but I couldn’t stop eating because it was so delicious! The pastry was so flaky and the rabbit filling inside was full of flavour. This is the perfect introduction to rabbit for first timers. This was paired with the first red wine of the evening, a 2014 Cabernet Franc, which was perfect with this savoury dish.

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Duck Cooked Three Ways

Next up was the Duck Cooked Three Ways. The three ways were smoked, confit, and mousse and this was paired with cornbread, carrots, and pickled mustard. This dish was delicious, but I was beyond full at this point. My smoked duck was a little too rare for my liking. It was still very bright pink in the centre, and therefore more chewy than tender. My sister’s was cooked nicely with a light pink all around. The confit was really interesting as it was more like a croquette. Deep fried in a cornmeal type batter, this was tasty with the pickled mustard on the side. However, one of my favourites was the duck mousse. This was like a pâté and delicious when spread on the cornbread. This dish was quite heavy though, especially with the cornbread. Perhaps smaller portions of each would be perfect or if this was the only main we had. This was paired with the 2014 Merlot, a perfect pairing for meaty dishes.

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Apple Terrine

For dessert, we had the Apple Terrine which was absolutely delicious! Essentially a streusel with custard on the side, topped with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Sort of like a deconstructed apple pie, but so flakey and addicting. A must try! Paired with the 2014 Gewurtztraminer, one of my favourite dessert wines, this was a great way to end the night!

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Overall, we had an amazing time at the Fable Kitchen x Bordertown Winery long table dinner. What more can you ask for with good food, good wine, and good company! Thank you to Peter from Vancouver Livin and Fable Kitchen for the contest!

Fable Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

AnnaLena

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For my birthday, I gave a list of restaurants I wanted to try to S and told him to surprise me with something. He ended up choosing AnnaLena which I was super excited about! Located in the Kits area just before the Burrard Bridge, the kitchen is run by the talented executive chef, Michael Robbins.

The interior is whimsical but cool with modern art and lego toys. The restaurant is quite small, so I’ve heard that people have had to make reservations well in advance. I’m guessing S did just that to secure us a spot.

Because S had mentioned it was my birthday when he made reservations, I guess they noted it down and surprised us both with a complimentary cocktail. That was a really nice touch and the cocktail was delicious!

Chicken

As I had just came from happy hour, I really wasn’t that hungry so we ended up just trying out a few dishes. First was the Chicken, which was buttermilk fried, with a sesame dashi mayo, and accompanied with charred shishito peppers. These were so light and crispy! And the Asian style mayo was a nice twist and complemented the chicken so well.

Scallop

The second dish we tried was the Scallop which were seared, and came with smoked pork jowl, roast turnips, pickled apples, and cauliflower puree. The scallops were cooked to perfection without them being rubbery and the pork jowl was tender with a nice rebound texture.

Chocolate

For dessert, we had the Chocolate, which featured white chocolate mousse, sesame toasted mango, and passion fruit sorbet. Perhaps I took too long to take pictures, but the sorbet began to melt quite quickly. Still, I loved the different textures in this dessert and the strong passion fruit flavour in the sorbet.

Overall, just based on the few items we tried, I already enjoyed AnnaLena a lot and am looking forward to return and try the rest of the items. The portions are quite small for the price, but the quality and execution of the dishes are spot on. A great place if you want to celebrate a special occasion.

Pros:
– Quality and well executed dishes
– Professional service

Cons:
– Portions are on the smaller side for the price
– You’ll need to make reservations way in advance!

Price Range: $30-60

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

Food: 5 Service: 4.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 4 Overall: 4.5

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

Kinome

K loves soba noodles, so for our family outing, we decided to check out Kinome which has been much talked about for their handmade buckwheat soba noodles. They are only open for dinner and are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Be sure to make reservations as it is usually full.

The decor inside is simple but gives an authentic Japanese feel. They have a fresh sheet that changes up.

The inside is very small. They have around 5 tables of four and the rest is bar seating. Bar seating would be perfect if you order their popular omakase menu. The only downside is there is no air conditioner here so it can get super hot.

Dashi Egg Omelette

We started off with their famous Dashi Egg Omelette. The egg was layered with seaweed and flavoured just enough while remaining a hint of sweetness. So fluffy and moist.

Today’s Sashimi

One order of Today’s Sashimi features whatever the chef believes is most fresh. You can let the server know if you don’t like a specific type of fish. Our order came with 5 types of sashimi. Our selection included Red Tuna (sustainable bluefin tuna), Sockeye Salmon, Tobi-uo (flying fish), Mizu-tako (water octopus) and Shiro-ika (white squid). Flying fish was something new for us and wasn’t too bad! It has a slimier texture but wasn’t too fishy in taste. However, this dish is quite expensive at $30 for very small cuts. Very fresh though!

Grilled Marinated Squid Legs

Next up were Grilled Marinated Squid Legs which came with a side of mayo. I liked how they had a bit of char on the ends and were very tender.

Prawn Tempura

The Prawn Tempura was battered so lightly and the shrimp itself was very fresh because it wasn’t mushy like the ones you get at all you can eat. It had that bounce! It also came with some asparagus.

Braised Berkshire Pork Belly with Grilled Leak & Miso Sauce

The Braised Berkshire Pork Belly was a delicious fatty goodness with the fat melting your mouth.

Chopped Kale & Prawn Kakiage Tempura

A favourite of mine was the Chopped Kale & Prawn Kakiage Tempura. Never though you could tempura kale! It was filled with bits of shrimp and scallop too which was delicious!

Asakusa Soba

Next up was what we came here for – their handmade buckwheat soba! They have three choices. First was the Asakusa Soba which features hand made buckwheat noodle with green onion, tempura bits, radish, seaweed, and sesame. This dish is served cold and you pour a cold broth on top and mix it together. They advise you eat it as quickly as possible so the texture remains. This one was great with a very fresh take on the traditional soba.

Zaru Soba

The Zaru Soba was what I was used to. With this one, you can truly taste how fresh the noodles are. The texture has just the right amount of firmness. I can see why people go crazy over the soba here!

Kamo Seiro Soba

My favourite was the Kamo Seiro Soba though. This was the same handmade buckwheat noodle but served with a warm duck dipping sauce. The sauce was just so flavourful without being too salty. This soba is pricey at $16 but it does come with three tender pieces of duck and is irresistible!

Cold Udon

Kinome’s dishes tend to be smaller in portion size so of course we were still hungry. We decided to try their udon which is new on the menu. There are two choices so we got both. First was the Cold Udon which I absolutely loved. I think I might even like this more than the soba. The udon here is handmade as well and very thin. The cold broth really makes the dish refreshing and keeps that firm texture.

Warm Udon

The Warm Udon featured the same thin noodles, but I felt that because it sat in the broth, the texture of the noodles became slightly soft. Still, I really enjoyed both version of the udon.

Overall, I was very impressed with Kinome’s dishes, especially their soba and udon. Prices are slightly on the higher side for the size of their dishes, but I think it’s well worth it. Plus, they are extremely environmentally friendly which is always a plus. Service was also very friendly.

Pros:
– Handmade buckwheat noodle and udon is a must order!
– Ingredients are extremely fresh

Cons:
– No air conditioning may be a problem in the summer
– Prices are slightly higher for the portions

Price Range: $20-30/person

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

Food:4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

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

Tangram Creamery

With the sun out these days, I’ve been craving ice cream so I suggested we check out Tangram Creamery in the Kits area after seeing all the pictures on Instagram.

The ice cream prices are on par with most of the other gourmet ice cream shops starting at $5 for a single scoop. Cookie cones which are made in house and what Tangram is famous for is an additional $1 but a must purchase! They also have ice cream maracarons and affogato.

The menu is quite limited but they change it up about once a week so ensure to check out their social media to see what flavours are available.

We chose to get single scoops and got the Mango Sorbet and Salted Caramel. They pack quite a lot in a single scoop so the cone is filled inside as well. The mango sorbet was very refreshing, but the salted caramel was the star. I loved the mix of sweet and salty and the ice cream itself was very smooth. The cookie cones are also absolutely delicious and a great change from the typical waffle cones. I love how they dip the pointy end with chocolate so your ice cream doesn’t drip out.

Overall, S and I both really enjoyed the ice creams at Tangram Creamery. Service was very friendly and there is self-serve water available. There is limited communal seating, but with the nice weather, taking a stroll in the neighbourhood is a good option as well.

Pros:
– Delicious rotating flavours
– Love the cookie cone!

Cons:
– Very little seating

Price Range: $5-10/person

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

Food:4.5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4.5

Tangram Creamery  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Green Leaf Sushi

After seeing so many beautiful pictures of aburi sushi on Instagram, I suggested to SP and SK to check out Green Leaf Sushi.

I’ve been hearing there are long line ups so I came a little earlier to grab a seat. Luckily, it still wasn’t very busy on a Sunday for some reason. Ambiance is simple and nothing special.

Aburi Sushi Platter

We decided to get the Aburi Sushi Platter since we could try most of the aburi sushi. This came with the following:

 

  • Sime Saba Oshi Sushi
  • Yukke Tuna Oshi Sushi
  • Aburi Tobiko Roll
  • Salmon Oshi Sushi
  • Hotate Oshi Sushi
  • Basil Ebi oshi Sushi

This is around $60 so definitely a platter to share. Between three girls, we were beyond full and could barely finish it in the end. The sushi all have a very creamy topping which made it very filling and by the end of it, we felt like each one tasted very similar. I would suggest splitting it with more people so you’ll find each one more satisfying. Our favourite was the Salmon Oshi and of course I had to compare it to the famous Miku’s. Although the price is cheaper, Miku’s is still much better. We found that the rice easily fell apart and the sauce was too creamy at Green Leaf.

Overall, based on the aburi sushi platter we tried, Green Leaf was a good alternative to Miku especially for its price. However, I would still go to Miku if I wanted to treat myself. I would need to revisit and try their other dishes to really comment on the restaurant overall though.

Pros:
– Great variety of aburi sushi
– Prices are quite reasonable

Cons:
– Rice fell apart easily from the items we tried
– Found the aburi sushi to be too creamy

Price Range: $20-25/person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

Green Leaf Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Supermarine – Dine Out Vancouver 2016

My second Dine Out Vancouver Festival restaurant was at Supermarine, a relatively new restaurant tucked away in Kitsilano in an area I was not even aware of. Located on Yew St and W 1st Ave, the restaurant is quite the hidden gem.

The interior is very small, fitting around 35 diners, with a rustic charm.

Their Dine Out Vancouver Festival menu was $30 so very reasonable, considering we were beyond full by the end of our meal.

Smoked Whitefish

For appetizers, we ended up trying all three choices on the menu. I got the Smoked Whitefish, which was presented a little funky looking with their bottles of homemade hot sauce and creme fraîche served on the plate. On the side were buttered saltines to place your smoked whitefish on. We all really enjoyed this and it reminded me of Fable’s canned tuna.

Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad

SP got the Crispy Brussels Sprout Salad with soy, honey vinaigrette and yogurt. I had a bite and the brussel sprouts were cooked to tender with nice crispy edges. I don’t usually like brussel sprouts, but these were delicious!

Littleneck Clam & Ham Hock Chowder

SK got the Littleneck Clam & Ham Hock Chowder. It comes with oyster crackers and is topped with a green garlic pistou sauce, which is similar to a pesto.

Octopus Chips

We also added on a side of Octopus Chips for around $9. Served in a jar, these were sliced octopus and fingerling potatoes battered and deep fried. A slightly spicy tomato aioli was served alongside for dipping and this made a great snack. The octopus was very tender and potatoes were nice and crispy. Too bad we found that there were way more potatoes than octopus.

Salt Spring Island Mussels

SP and SK both got the Salt Spring Island Mussels for their entree. The mussels came with chorizo, fennel and were cooked in a smoky tomato broth. The mussels were plump and fresh. No empty shells in the bowl! A generous serving alongside with a huge bowl of fries and tartar sauce. The girls could barely make a dent in the fries after finishing the mussels!

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

I sort of wanted the mussels as well, but being a foodie, I had to order something different, so I went for the Grilled Flat Iron Steak. The already sliced steak came on top of a nori potato puree with smoked fingerling potatoes and covered with watercress. The steak was cooked to a beautiful pink medium rare and was very tender. At first I thought the plate looked small, but there were actually a lot of meat and potatoes. Was definitely stuffed by the entree!

Chocolate Semifreddo

For dessert, the girls got the Chocolate Semifreddo. I stole a bite and really enjoyed it! A nice firm chocolate cake with toasted marshmallow, graham crumbs and smoked salt.

Calamansi Lime Curd

For myself, I chose something different again and went for the Calamansi Lime Curd. When I saw it, I was pretty confused at what I had, but it turned out to be a lime curd with whipped ricotta, shortbread crumb, candied citrus and topped with cilantro. The flavours worked very well together with that herb taste coming through from the cilantro. The lime curd was quite sour but when mixed with the sweet ricotta, there was a nice balance. Not bad!

Overall, we were quite impressed with the flavours of the dishes at Supermarine. Prices are also very reasonable and if you enjoy cocktails, they have a great list. Only downside was that our service started out pretty good, but at the end, apparently they had a huge 10 people reservation right after us, so they kept pushing all the diners along one side of the dining table to leave. Felt like the service lacked because of wanting to maximize capacity from Dine Out, so will need to come back on a regular day.

Pros:
– Great portions and reasonable prices
– Flavours in dishes are unique

Cons:
– Service during Dine Out wasn’t very good
– Seating was a bit tight (not sure if it’s like this during regular service)

Price Range: $30/person (DOVF menu)

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

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