Ritual

1.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

Finally catching up on some posts! A few months back, S, N and I checked out Ritual on Denman. Ritual offers farm to table cuisine and offers both brunch and dinner. I believe they also have happy hour everyday and late night happy hour on Friday and Saturday.

2.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

We checked out Ritual for brunch on the weekend, and the ambiance is very cozy with pillows along the bench and fairy lights. Definitely a nice spot to get comfortable and have long chats. It wasn’t too busy the time we visited, so we were able to sit around for quite a while.

3.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

Lavender Latte

During brunch, there are a variety of coffee and teas along with cocktails.

4.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

Tea Latte

5.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

6.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

Curried Beef Brisket Hash

N got the Curried Beef Brisket Hash, which I don’t believe is on the menu anymore. A hearty dish with crimini mushrooms, roast garlic, cilantro, yogurt, pickled onions and rosemary yukons, this was full of flavour.

7.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

8.jpg by ukijojo on 500px.com

Overall, I quite enjoyed my brunch at Ritual. Flavours were on point and I enjoyed the cozy environment. Ritual was well known when they first opened due to their no tipping policy and the fact that their staff were being paid higher wages in return. However, weeks later, management realized this was not working and has reverted back to the traditional ways. Unfortunate, but regardless, the food is great and I will be returning.

Pros:
– Solid brunch items
– Cozy ambiance

Cons:
– Seating itself can be a little cramped

Price Range: $15-20

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

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

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

Advertisements

Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge (at Fairmont Pacific Rim)

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Torched Wagyu Beef Salad; Bloody Mary

Back in December, I took S out for her birthday at the Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. In the winter months, they had a five-course cocktail brunch for $42 per person with the cocktail pairing for an additional $28.

For the first course, there are two selections, so of course we got one of each. I chose the Torched Wagyu Beef Salad which comes with red onion, sake-beet puree, scallion-ginger emulsion, nori chips and miso creme fraiche. The wagyu beef was tender and melted in my mouth! The only complaint was that the beef was served cold, but I guess since it is a salad, the rest of the ingredients are cold.

The cocktail pairing was a Bloody Mary with vodka, lemon, tomato juice, sriracha, horseradish, salt, and pepper. I normally don’t like Bloody Marys but I actually quite enjoyed this one as the spice level was just right.

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Red Tuna Tataki

S got the Red Tuna Tataki  with yusuf cosh vinaigrette, soy glee, daikon, and micro greens. This was beautifully presented and the tatami was seared just enough while keeping the centre a beautiful pink.

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Light- Zaiten

The tuna tataki was paired with a Light-Zaiten which consisted of gin, organic green tea, dry vermouth, rosemary, cucumber and lime. This was a light and refreshing drink which paired well with the fresh tuna.

 

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Signature Bacon and Sable Miso

The second course was the same for everyone which was the Signature Bacon and Sable Miso. This soup featured bacon dashi, house-cured sablefish, ginger and scallions. This is definitely a gourmet miso soup and we both really enjoyed it. The bacon bits with the sablefish was absolutely delicious and paired so well together! I only wish this came out piping hot as it was served warm rather than hot.

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Beer Makes Miso Happy

The miso soup was paired with Beer Makes Miso Happy which we thought would be beer at first, but it was served in a tall cocktail glass. Turns out it consists of Grand Marnier, wheat beer, ginger, and lemon. The ginger flavour was very strong so if you’re not a beer drinker, you can still enjoy this. Love how they put puns in their menu names by the way!

 

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”

For the third course, S chose the Wild Salmon Motoyaki “Benny”. This is their take on an eggs Benedict as it’s not what you would usually see. It came with a poached egg, sweet milk bread, inure, miso hollandaise and avocado. Unfortunately, the egg rolled off and broke once our server placed it down. However, S really enjoyed the dish and the twist from the traditional.

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Kurobuta Pork Kakuni

For myself, I had the Kurobuta Pork Kakuni, which feature braised pork belly, 62 degrees egg, sweet soy broth, daikon, carrot, potato, and tamanishiki rice served on the side. The pork was very tender with the fatness bringing some richness to the dish. The soy broth was delicious with the rice and the egg was poached perfectly with the yolk oozing out. By this course, we were starting to get full, so the rice itself makes this course even more filling.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Pepe Le Pew; Pork ‘N’ Cider

The cocktail pairing for the salmon benny was the Pepe Le Pew, which featured a Lillet rose, sherry, and sparkling brut. This was definitely sweeter but I enjoyed the fizz from the sparkling brut. The cocktail pairing for the pork belly was the Pork ‘N’ Cider which featured Lonetree cider, sweet vermouth and sherry. The sherry paired really well with the pork although I found the drink on the sweeter side.

 

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Sushi Omakase; Sparkling Junmai Sake

The fourth course was the Sushi Omakase, which featured a spicy tuna maki, temari sushi topped with crab meat, halo sushi topped with cured saba, and salmon and tuna nigiri. Honestly, this was one of the courses I was excited for, but I felt that the sushi left me disappointed. The presentation was not as nice as I expected, and the fish was cut sort of choppy. The seafood is oceanwise here, which is a plus, but I just didn’t find the fish very fresh. As for the pairing, this came with Sparkling Junmai Sake, which I really enjoyed. It can be quite strong for some though.

 

[] by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Yakult Shooter; Wakayama Beach

For dessert, the five course meal ended with a Yakult Shooter, which featured plum glee, pear, matcha green tea, black sesame powder and yusuf pearls served in oyster shells. This was visually beautiful to look at, but S and I both agreed we were confused with the flavours and ultimately did not enjoy it. Something was just off about it. This came with the Wakayama Beach which featured gin, yuzu, basil, coconut water, and ginger. The drink was a refreshing drink to finish off the meal, although we were quite buzzed after the 5 drinks!

As it was S’s birthday, I mentioned to the server the special occasion hoping to get a message written on our dessert, but they ended up giving us a delicious plate of truffles on the house which I thought was very sweet.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the five course brunch and would highly recommend getting it with the cocktail pairings. You get quite a lot of food and will be stuffed at the end and given its reasonable price, I think it’s a pretty good deal. I did have some issues with service, since I made the reservations a month in advance through email and had received confirmation. Yet, when I arrived, they told me there was no such reservation. Quite disappointed with that given they are such a large hotel, but luckily since it was a snow day, the restaurant was not very busy. Our server also did not tell us what our drinks were each time she placed them down, which would be expected at hotel restaurant. However, the ambiance of the restaurant is A+ since it has amazing natural light coming in and the simplicity of white tables and chairs with the orange chopsticks makes the setting visually appealing. I will be back again if they have other set menus in the future!

Pros:
– Cocktail pairings are on point with overall good food
– Ambiance and plating is visually beautiful

Cons:
– Service was a miss for us

Price Range: $50-80

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

RawBar at The Lobby Lounge - Fairmont Pacific Rim Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breakfast Table

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

The newest spot by the office opened and E and I could not be more happy as we are tired of eating at the same restaurants by now. Being a breakfast/brunch spot, that got us more excited! We decided to round up a bunch of the other guys at work to check Breakfast Table out.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Hangry

A got the classic called Hangry which featured three eggs, two maple sausages, four bacon, hash browns, and toast. After A ordered this, most of the guys wanted this as well. It was definitely one of the menu items with larger portions for a good price. For those who want value and enjoy a classic breakfast, this is a great option.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Chicken Karaage Hash

J got the Chicken Karaage Hash which featured two eggs, potatoes, green onion, sesame seed, and korean sweet chilli sauce. J said the chicken seemed like they were baked, but the real problem was the vegetables and hash. They were quite under seasoned and the potatoes were not crispy enough.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Coffee Crusted Pork Belly Hash

E got the Coffee Crusted Pork Belly Hash. The pork belly was crusted with milano bourbon coffee, and the dish came with two sunny side up eggs, seasonal vegetables, and hash. The coffee crusted pork belly was quite interesting but for those who don’t like coffee, they may find that the flavour tasted a little burnt. But for those who did enjoy coffee, they quite enjoyed this dish. However, again, the vegetables and hash were underwhelming.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Breakfast Poutine

StevieD got the Breakfast Poutine with a poached egg, shaved havarti cheese, and chicken gravy. Pretty god but the price is quite steep for poutine at $14.

 

o by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Beef Bulgogi Hash

For myself, I got the Beef Bulgogi Hash which had two eggs, kimchi, green onion, king oyster mushroom, spinach, korean sweet chilli sauce, and hash. The beef was tender and I enjoyed the korean sauce as it wasn’t too spicy. I have to say they cook their eggs pretty spot on as my poached eggs were perfect with the yolk spilling out. However, again, the vegetables and hash were under seasoned.

Overall, we found that the main protein and eggs were cooked very well for each dish, but their sides definitely lacked. With prices that are around at least $14, you would want everything on the dish to be pretty good. That being said, not a bad place to check out on the Broadway area if you don’t want to wait in line at Yolks.

Pros:
– Eggs and proteins are on point
– Nice chill vibe and music for ambiance

Cons:
– Vegetables and potatoes are under seasoned

Price Range: $15-20

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

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

Breakfast Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honey Doughnuts & Goodies

Quarry Rock is a hike that I do pretty much every year just because it’s probably one of the easier hikes yet you still get an amazing view once up top. For years, people have been telling me about Honey Doughnuts & Goodies and that you must get some of their doughnuts after your hike. Well, since I came to hike, I thought it would be more wise to eat it first and then hike it all off… Anyways, when we arrived, they said they only had their honey doughnuts left, but they do normally have other doughnuts available.

Honey Doughnuts

We ended up all getting the Honey Doughnuts since there was nothing else available. Man, these are big doughnuts! The texture is more like a cake batter with the outside very crunchy. It sort of reminded me of the sweet Chinese doughnuts if you know what I’m talking about. Is it as amazing as how everyone says it is? I wouldn’t say so, but I wouldn’t mind coming here to grab it after or before a hike. I wouldn’t make a trip here just for the doughnuts though. I think these were around $2-3 but they are quite large and dense so can fill you up. Service was mediocre. They seemed very busy and in a rush to move the line.

Pros:
– Love the crunchy exterior
– Reasonable price for the size

Cons:
– Other doughnuts can sell out quickly
– Some people might not like this cake batter type of doughnut

Price Range: $2-5/person

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

Food:3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 2 Overall: 3

Honey Doughnuts and Goodies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef Tony

1265

Chef Tony has been the talk of the town for quite some time and even won Vancouver Magazine’s 2015 best dim sum award.

1266

The restaurant is known for their high-end Chinese cuisine and you can tell just by the interior of the restaurant. Crystal chandeliers and VIP rooms with closed doors perfect for hosting parties.

1267

Even the entrance has a gallery of expensive Chinese liquor as well as tea. We made reservations ahead of time on New Year’s Eve for dim sum and we waited less than 10 minutes and were seated. Pretty good since dim sum restaurants never get you seated on time based on your reservation.

1268

Dry Shrimp and Chives Rice Noodle Roll

We started off with the Dry Shrimp and Chives Rice Noodle Roll which had loads of dry shrimp. The rice noodle roll was very smooth and thin.

1269

Black Truffle Shrimp and Pork Dumplings

Next up were the famous Black Truffle Shrimp and Pork Dumplings. Once placed on our table, we could smell the strong black truffle. This definitely made the typical dim sum very luxurious. The black truffle gave the dumplings an earthy flavour which I quite enjoyed. The wrappers were also thin and filled with a large shrimp and abundance of pork.

1270

Baked Barbecue Pork Bun

The Baked Barbecue Pork Buns were glistening on the top. They were soft and fluffy and filled with lots of meat.

1271

Marinated Chicken Feet

The Marinated Chicken Feet was a bit of a disappointment as I found that they were rather bland. They had a bit of chili flavour but nothing else.

1272

Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf

The Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf came with three servings.

1273

These were different from the usual as they had wild rice mixed in. This made it rather dry. It was also filled with some minced meat and salty egg yolk.

1278

Deep Fried Taro and Abalone Dumplings

The Deep Fried Taro and Abalone Dumpling was another dish that was elevated from a simple dim sum to a high-end dish. The deep fried taro were topped with mini abalones. Crispy and flaky on the outside with a slight chew from the abalone.

1277

Deep Fried Sticky Rice

An interesting dish was the Deep Fried Sticky Rice. It was essentially sticky rice which used wild rice again and was coated in a thin batter and deep fried. I thought this was average as it was rather dry and the rice would stick to my teeth.

1276

Braised Mushrooms with Egg Tofu

We also ordered a larger dish which was the Braised Mushrooms with Egg Tofu. The sauce was thick and gooey as it should be. The tofu was smooth in the inside and crispy on the outside.

1275

Steamed Egg Sponge Cake

Lastly, we finished off with some desserts. First was the Steamed Egg Sponge Cake. I found this to be rather dense and wasn’t my favourite.

1274

Baked Durian Paste Pastry

The last was the Baked Durian Paste Pastry. The outside was extremely flaky with the inside filled with some durian paste. The paste was actually not very strong but still pungent nonetheless. If you want strong durian pastries, I would suggest trying Shiang Garden’s.

Overall, I was quite pleased with Chef Tony. The food is carefully prepared although there were some hits and misses. It’s nice that the chef is getting creative with traditional dim sum and adding other complex flavours to the dish. This of course comes with a price but the service and ambiance is also much better than many other Chinese restaurants.

Pros:
– Pretty solid dishes
– Great service and ambiance

Cons:
– Pricier
– Parking is a pain here

Price Range: $20-30 / person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2 Overall: 4

Chef Tony Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Belgard Kitchen

1057

Belgard Kitchen has been on my list for a long time and thanks to K’s gift card, I finally got to go try it! Belgard is located in a very random area east of Gastown, and past Ask For Luigi near the Railtown area. It’s mostly industrial area there, but those who know about Belgard Kitchen will make their way here.

1058

The building is actually called the Settlement Building and houses Belgard Kitchen, Postmark Brewing, and the Vancouver Urban Winery. High ceilings and super cool area for the Postmark Brewing. You can also purchase beer in bottles here.

1059

The interior is rustic and hip.

1060

Be ready to wait for a seat though… We arrived on a Saturday at around 2 pm and wanted to make it before brunch ended at 3pm. Even though it was really late already, the place was packed and we still had to wait for around 15 minutes. We were still able to get the brunch menu though! A very late brunch for us!

1061

They change up what’s on tap and they usually have food features.

1062

Tasting Paddle

I started brunch off with a Tasting Paddle. You can choose the beers you want or have the waitress choose for you. I told her to choose some lighter beers for me. If I remember correctly, from left to right is the Lager, Pilsner, Strawberry Blonde, and West Coast Pale Ale. My favourite was the Strawberry Blonde since it had a hint of fruitiness to it. The West Coast Pale Ale was too bitter for my liking. For $8, this is a great way to try different beers.

1063

Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe

S got the beer on tap which was the Raspberry Lemon Zest Hefe. I actually really enjoyed this one since it was light and fruity.

1064

Steak and Eggs

For food, S got the Steak and Eggs, which featured Argentinian spice rubbed flank, chimichurri, and poached eggs. It normally comes with Parmesan cream, but he asked for it without. I thought the portion looked a bit small, but it’s still quite acceptable.

1065

S said the steak itself was a bit chewy though and wished that there was a bit more seasoning to it.

1067

Brunch Spuds and side of Grilled Sausage

The Steak and Eggs also come a side of Brunch Spuds. These are basically roasted potatoes. Not bad, but could be more seasoned. We also added an additional side of Grilled Sausages to share. These came in a glass jar and the sausages are cut in half. It basically equals one sausage but is quite pricey for $5. Flavourwise, we thought it was just average. I personally thought it was rather dry.

1066

Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet

For myself, I got the Belgard Meatball Brunch Skillet, which features fresh mozza, San Marzano tomato sauce, poached eggs, smoky onion and Parmesan cream, and a side of brunch spuds. I loved the meatballs! The Parmesan cream sauce mixed with the tomato sauce was delicious. At first, I thought four meatballs and 2 poached eggs would not be enough, but the heavy cream made the dish very filling. I loved how the poached eggs were cooked just until the yolks spilled out.

1068

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food and drinks at Belgard Kitchen for brunch. Definitely the place to go if you want drinks. Prices can be a bit pricey and there is often a wait. Cool hip ambiance though and service was decent.

Pros:
– Large variety of beers and wine
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Some items can be a bit pricey
– Usually a wait to get a seat

Price Range: $20-30

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

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

Click to add a blog post for The Belgard Kitchen on Zomato

Save On Meats

932

Save On Meats has been on my list of “to try” restaurants ever since it was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. So when K suggested we give it a try, I was excited to see what it’s all about. What’s cool is that the building was actually built in 1891, so it has over 100 years of history! You cannot miss this building driving down Hastings because you’ll see the neon pig sign. Save On Meats also has a butcher shop next to the diner, so you can conveniently head over there for some fresh and local meats.

933

You can see that the interior has that retro old diner feel to it, but the seats and tables were well kept and clean. Funny paintings and signs decorate the walls of the diner.

934

Coffee SOM Milkshake

SOM is famous for their milkshakes, so I decided to share the Coffee SOM Milkshake with K. It’s quite the large one and it’s great since they give you all the leftovers from making it in a metal cup. You end up getting 1 and a half cups of the shake for under $5. The milkshake is thick spun and I loved the light coffee flavour we chose. It reminded me of an iced cappuccino! There are also various other flavours you can choose from.

935

Real Nova Scotian Seafood Chowder, Caesar Salad

We were supposed to be here for brunch, but it ended up more like lunch as usual… Well lucky us, since they feature breakfast and brunch items until 4pm on weekends. Both of us didn’t end up going for their breakfast menu though. Instead, K went for a simple soup and salad. She had the Real Nova Scotian Seafood Chowder, which came with a cheese scone on the side. She said the chowder was not as thick as she had expected, but filled with lots of ingredients. She was thinking it would be something like canned soup, but nope, it seemed to be homemade. She also got a side of Caesar Salad which was lightly dressed and topped with croutons and Parmesan.

937

Shepherd’s Pie

For myself, I was feeling like it was a pie day. I chose the Shepherd’s Pie, which showed up on a skillet with a side of green salad. I was slightly disappointed at first because I was expecting a pie, but this was rather deconstructed. Nevertheless, it actually tasted pretty good. There was a mixture of ground beef and vegetable stew and it was topped with a cheesy mashed potato crumble. It was very simple and probably something very easy to reconstruct at home but tasty.

936

Overall, I was quite pleased with Save On Meats. You will find simple diner food here – nothing extravagant or fancy. I wouldn’t say it blew my mind, but I don’t think I was expecting much anyways. Prices are kept low and probably the most expensive item is roughly $12. Plus, I think what makes SOM very special and worth a visit is that they are a strong supporter of the Downtown Eastside community and partner with various organizations in giving back to those in need. They also have a token program where you can purchase a token for $2.25 and this will allow you to redeem a Breakfast Sandwich. You can either distribute this yourself or have SOM do so. A great way to help those in needs and I personally think it’s a better way than donating money. Definitely a cool place to check out!

Pros:
– Cool retro ambiance
– Cheap simple food

Cons:
– Service was a bit slow at times

Price Range: $5-15

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

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

Click to add a blog post for Save On Meats on Zomato

Kongee Dinesty 金津粥品專門店

571 (640x480)

Kongee Dinesty opened up earlier this year in the complex on Garden City. It offers congee and limited dim sum items during breakfast and lunch, but becomes a typical Chinese restaurant during dinner time.

572 (640x480)

They offer a kitchen with glass windows so you can watch the chefs prepare your food. The restaurant itself is pretty nice with your typical dim sum restaurant decor. The restaurant itself is quite small though. We were lucky to score a spot at around 11:30 am, but it soon became packed by the time we left. The waitress basically put our bill down before we asked to shoo us out, since there was a line forming at the door.

573 (640x497)

Sampan Congee

Of course we had to try their congee, so we went for the Sampan Congee. We ordered this off their pre-customized congee menu, but you can actually customize your congee for $8.95. With this option, you can choose two toppings of your choice, the congee base and garnish. If you order from 8:00am to 11:30 am, you can also choose an extra side, like Chinese donuts, free of charge. Anyways, we ordered the Sampan Congee and added preserved eggs in addition. Sampan Congee comes with just about everything and it definitely had a lot of toppings. We shared this between four people, and everyone had at least one bowl or more. Quite delicious!

574 (640x480)

Gingko Nuts and Bean Curd Sheets with Baby Bak Choy

Next, we got some veggies, so we went for the Gingko Nuts and Bean Curd Sheets with Baby Bak Choy. This was a healthy choice and the bak choy was very fresh.

575 (640x447)

Chinese Donut Wrapped with Rice Roll

Then we went for a dim sum item, with the Chinese Donut Wrapped with Rice Roll. The Chinese donuts were fresh and crispy with the rice roll being relatively thin.

576 (640x480)

Yee-Fu Noodles with Golden Chives

Lastly, we got the Yee-Fu Noodles with Golden Chives. The noodles were chewy and were not too oily. It came with baby scallops and vegetables, so pretty good for the price you pay.

Overall, I was quite satisfied with Kongee Dinesty. Prices are reasonable, but the restaurant is quite small, so I can see it being packed very quickly. Great place to go if you want to get congee. I especially like how you can customize it.

Pros:
– You can customize your congee
– Items other than congee are pretty good too

Cons:
– Not a place to have long chats – they tend to kick you out
– Not a lot of seats

Price Range: $10-20

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

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

Kongee Dinesty 金津粥品專門店 on Urbanspoon