ZenQ (Marine Drive)

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

Across the complex at Marine Drive Gateway, right next to Coco Fresh Tea, is now ZenQ, a drink and dessert store which is also Chatime’s sister restaurant. This chain’s first location was in Coquitlam, and has now expanded to Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby.


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The location has a decent amount of seating, but you can of course get your drinks to go as well.


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You order up front first, and if you choose to eat in, the server will bring your food to you. They have a large variety of beverages and plenty of toppings to choose from. For desserts, they have both cold and hot desserts, including shaved ice, grass jelly, tofu pudding, and even waffles. ZenQ is known for their mochi balls in their desserts whcih are made from taro or sweet potato.


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Hand Made Taro Milk Tea, Winter Melon Tea with Small Pearls, ZenQ Milk Tea with Small Pearls

To start, we had a variety of beverages. Since I was sick, I had to get all hot drinks. Well, it turned out to be perfect because the Hand Made Taro Milk Tea was our favourite of the three we tried. The drink features fresh milk with taro which I think is real because you get this gritty texture. This drink is only served warm and is perfect in this cold weather! As for the ZenQ Milk Tea and Winter Melon Tea, we personally enjoyed the ones at Chatime and Presotea more. However, I really enjoyed the tiny pearls available at ZenQ and the drinks were not bad after all. If I lived in the area, I definitely wouldn’t mind coming here for the drinks. The drinks are also fully customizable for sugar and ice level, just like Chatime.


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Tofu Pudding with Green Beans, Peanuts, Pearls, and Q Balls

The highlights at ZenQ for us were the desserts. K tried the Tofu Pudding and you can choose from a variety of toppings. Here, she has green beans, peanuts, pearls, and Q balls. Their Q balls are essentially mochi balls and are made from taro, sweet potato, and matcha. My favourite was the sweet potato Q ball as I found that the taro Q ball was slightly on the harder side, especially when served with a cold dessert. The tofu pudding is refreshing and not overly sweet. You also get plenty of each topping so every spoonful is filled with texture.


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Hot Grass Jelly with Q Balls, Large and Small Pearls

As I was sick, I got the Hot Grass Jelly and had it with Q balls, and large and small pearls. I liked how the grass jelly wasn’t too sweet and every bite was chewy because of the toppings. Here, the taro Q ball is softer possibly because the dessert is served hot.


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Grass Jelly with Taro, Grass Jelly Ice, Q balls, and Large Pearls

Lastly, E had the Grass Jelly cold and got it with a few chunks of taro, grass jelly ice, Q balls, and large pearls. This again is not too sweet, but you can get it with cream which you pour on top. It tastes a bit more like condensed milk when you add it.  Refreshing and perfect in the summer months!

Overall, ZenQ has a large range of Taiwanese desserts and is a great addition to the Marine Gateway area. It’s perfect if you not only want a bubble tea, but also a dessert! Prices are also quite reasonable as these mochi desserts can get quite pricey.


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

Britannia Brewing Company

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The Britannia Brewing Company has opened for well over a year already. I can’t believe that I haven’t noticed this spot for so long. We definitely don’t have many craft beer spots in Richmond, so for Britannia to have both food and craft beers in an establishment, it makes it much more attracting. I believe they brew their beer on the other end of Steveston in the Ironwood area, so here, they just serve food and beers on tap.


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Whoever worked on the design of this spot seriously has good taste! I love the nautical white and blue theme and beautiful wooden furniture here. The patio outside which comfy pillows seriously make this the perfect spot in the summer.


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S, N, and I came here for brunch on the weekend. S started off with a glass of Mimosa. Other than beer, they have a variety of wines, cocktails, teas and coffees.


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Beer Paddle

For myself, I wanted to try their beers so chose the Beer Paddle. For $10, you can choose 4 different beers, including ciders. One of the ones I tried was the Chai Sasion which is something I haven’t seen before. Not a beer expert, but I quite enjoyed the various beers I tried. They also sometimes have guest taps available.


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Crab Benny

Brunch is available 9:30am to 1:30pm. There’s around 10 choices to choose from during brunch. N got the Crab Benny which was an interesting take on the classic. Instead of having english muffin on the bottom, it was served with a fried local crab cake on the bottom with 2 soft poached eggs and hollaindaise and hash browns on the side. Although the bennies had crab in it, I found the portions to be quite small for $16. It’s quite a light meal and I think many people would still be a bit hungry after.


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Gypsy Eggs

S and I both got the Gypsy Eggs which had chorizo, san marzano tomatoes, fennel, smoked paprika, and sourdough bread on the side. I liked the tart acidic tomato sauce which I dipped my bread in. The eggs were poached perfectly with the yolk spilling out. Again, slightly on the smaller side for $12. Maybe some hashbrowns on the side would make it a little more filling. However, the food itself tasted great.


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Overall, I’m happy to have learned about this new spot in Steveston village for brunch. I really think this is a great spot to catch up over food and drinks, especially in the summer when the patio is open. Not the cheapest, given the portion sizes, but at least the food is good.

– Great beer and food
– Visually aesthetic interior design

– Portions are slightly on the smaller side

Price Range: $15-25

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

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

Britannia Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice (Marine Drive)

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

CoCo’s latest location at Marine Drive has been open for some time now, and they will have their official grand opening this weekend. The location is short walk across the street from the Marine Gateway and Canada Line skytrain station.


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The location is brightly lit just like their other stores and has a decent amount of seating to enjoy your drinks. At Coco, you can customize your drink’s sugar and ice level.  Most drinks go for around $5 for a large. Regular is around $4.20.


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Of course they have the famous CoCo mascot here!


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Roast Pearl Milk Tea, Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean, Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls

I have tried a few of their famous drinks like 3 Guys and Bubble Gaga so I decided to try some drinks I haven’t tried before. The first was the Roasted Pearl Milk Tea which seems to be a new menu item. We had this at 50% sugar level but I think I would’ve preferred it at 70% sugar level as it was too strong in the roasted flavour. I think I still like Chatime’s roasted milk tea the most. In the middle is the Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean which I really enjoyed. Strong in matcha flavour and paired nicely with the red bean, it tasted like matcha red bean cake. Lastly, the Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls was my favourite. Although there are no taro chunks in this drink, I still enjoyed the tiny sago paired with the pearls. It’s like having Chinese dessert!


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To celebrate the Marine Drive’s grand opening, the Marine Drive location is having a buy one get one free promotion. From October 27 – 29, 2017, if you purchase any Top 10 Drink, you will receive a free medium Pearl Milk Tea. This is only valid at 491 SW Marine Drive.

The Top 10 Drinks include:

  • Red Bean Matcha Milk Tea
  • Lemon Yakult
  • Mango Smoothie
  • 3 Guys
  • Bubble Tea
  • Lemon King
  • Bubble Gaga
  • Black Tea Macchiato
  • Black Tea Latte
  • Sago Taro Milk Tea

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

[Japan Series] Day 2: A day in Shinjuku 新宿 – Ichiran 一蘭 and Wa Pasta

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The next morning, we decided to take it slow and just walk around the streets of the Shinjuku neighbourhood. First things first – breakfast! There are many options and fancy bakeries in our neighbourhood, but trying to stick on a budget, we decided to go to Family Mart to just grab some quick snacks. I absolutely love the Family Marts and 7-Elevens in Asia. There are so many choices to choose from! My all time favourite are the onigiris. I ended up having these each morning. They are usually under 150 yen, so under CAD$2.


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Shinjuku station is known as the world’s busiest railway station and home to the business and entertainment district. On a weekday morning, it wasn’t too busy as most locals were at work. Of course, it is still much more busy than the streets of Vancouver though! We decided to check out many of the famous Japanese department stores (because there is always so much to see even if we can’t afford it!) and also admire the tall buildings and towers in the area.


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Getting close to lunch time, I suggested we check out Ichiran 一蘭, one of my favourite ramen spots in Japan. It is a chain restaurant, but I don’t care, because I absolutely love their ramen! If you’ve had Danbo Ramen in Vancouver and like it, then I’m pretty sure you will enjoy Ichiran. We went to the Shinjuku location, but there are Ichiran stores in almost every district.

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Even though we went to the restaurant before the peak lunch time, there was already a line up, and it didn’t stop after. Once you get closer into the store, there is a ticket machine, where you purchase your ticket for your ramen. This is really common in Japan, and I absolutely love it, as you don’t need to worry about payment after. The hostess can help you out if you have some trouble with the Japanese menu, but usually you can sort of figure it out. Then you are taken down closer to the seating area, where you will see a light up board that shows which seats are available. It’s super high tech like that! The hostess will also give you a piece of paper so you can fill out your specifications of the ramen you ordered.


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The seating here is perfect for single diners as there are dividers separating each diner. However, you can easily close the divider so you can see your friend! This location only has 19 seats, but ramen is quick, so the turnover is usually within 30 minutes for each diner.


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Here is the ordering menu once you have purchased your ramen ticket. I like how they have an english version now, so no need to worry if you can’t read any Japanese. Here is my order! Once you are ready, you click the button on your table and hand your sheet along with your ticket you purchased to the person behind your table. I believe the ramen is 790 yen, and the soft boiled egg is at an additional cost.


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Once you’ve handed in your order sheet and ticket, the person will pull the blind down. You basically won’t ever see the people behind the blinds during your whole visit. I love this intimacy so you can just enjoy your food. There are also cups on the side, green tea powder, and a tap for hot water so you can make your own green tea. I ordered the marinated soft boil egg, and this comes with the shell and a packet of salt. You will have to peel your own egg, but it’s worth it!

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As you can see, the egg yolk in Japan is almost orange! Quite different from what I’m used to. The egg yolk is not really runny here, but more of a medium creamy texture. I still find it great with the ramen! You can also dip it with some salt to eat on its own.


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Here is my order of ramen. The broth is rich and flavourful, and the noodles are thin and firm, just the way I like it. The selling point here is the spicy sauce, which is not numbing spicy, but extremely flavourful instead. Even if you don’t like spicy, like S, he still really enjoyed the broth on its own.


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S paid extra to purchase the extra chashu ticket. However, we were quite disappointed with this and the amount you get. I would skip this next time. Even the chashu that comes with the ramen already is not anything exciting. They are not known for the chashu, but rather the broth, spicy sauce, and noodles. Definitely would skip the extra meat next time.

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After lunch, we continued to wander the streets of Shinjuku. We ended up inside Mylord, a trendy department store with 7 floors of shopping and 3 floors or restaurants. As our feet were getting tired, we decided to stop by a cafe to cool down and rest our feet. We ended up at Wa Pasta, which I can’t seem to find the restaurant name anymore. So not sure if the name changed, or if it no longer exists. I got the Yuzu and Orange Pudding which was creamy smooth and perfect with the citrus.


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S got the Hazelnut Chocolate Cream Puff. Sweet and beautifully presented, perfect for those who love chocolate.

Overall, a cute cafe with both pastas and desserts to choose from. Mylord has so many options to choose from, so is a great place to stop by after shopping.

Ichiran (Shinjuku Central East Entrance location)

Address: 3-34-11 Shinjuku | Peace Bldg B1F, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

Mylord Shinjuku

Address: Mylord, 1 Chome-1-3 Nishishinjuku, 新宿区 Tokyo 160-0023, Japan

Wild Sweets – 2017 Summer Collection

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

Wild Sweets is always coming up with innovative desserts each season. They have recently launched their 2017 summer collection, and we got a sneak peak to see what there is to offer!

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Cocoa Bean ‘Chocolate Iced Tea’

Last time I visited Wild Sweets, we got to try their Chocolate Tea, which is a drink made entirely from pure in-house roasted cocoa bean husks only and no sugar or any other ingredients are added except for a touch of vanilla bean powder. Now, for the summer, they have blended the tea with pure fruit purées and lightly sweetened with a vanilla syrup. You get this undertone of chocolate flavour, but the overall drink is fruity and refreshing when served cold. Currently, there are 5 flavours: Strawberry, White Pear, Lychee Raspberry, Morello Cherry, and Apricot Passion. My personal favourites are the Lychee Raspberry and Apricot Passion.

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Strawberry Cream C|Puff2

The new C|Puff2s are Wild Sweet’s take on the classic cream puff. However, their cream puffs are not round, but instead a square shape! The Strawberry Cream C|Puff2 features a choux pastry and almond cookie crust filled with a strawberry custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh strawberries, red berry confit, and served with an encapsulated mint aroma pipette. It is then decorated with chocolate cereal pearls, paper thin hand-painted chocolate petals and chocolate ‘pasta’ strands.

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Chocolate Cream C|Puff2

The Chocolate Cream C|Puff2 features a dark chocolate custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh raspberries, red fruit confit, red fruit Kirch aroma. I love how there are so many components to these desserts and they all work together. The amount of work that goes into each piece before it gets assembled is really amazing! What a piece of art!

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Praline Cream C|Puff2 

The Praline Cream C|Puff2 features a hazelnut praliné custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh black berries, apricot passion confit, and orange liquor aroma. This is perfect if you love hazelnut, but can be slightly on the sweeter side.

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CocoArt ‘Summer’ Limited Edition Collection

Each of the Summer 2017 Collection chocolates feature 2 types of fillings including a fruit-based liquid caramel while the other is a ‘Créme Fraîche Vanille’ – a lightly sweetened soft cream made by emulsifying fresh cream and butter scented with vanilla bean. All of the chocolates are hand-painted with cocoa butter colours in different artistic patterns. They are designed to be eaten cold from the fridge so make sure to keep them chilled! The following flavours are available:

  • Liquid strawberry / raspberry fruit caramel
  • Liquid apricot / peach fruit caramel
  • Liquid blackberry / cassis fruit caramel
  • Liquid mango / lychee fruit caramel

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Ice Cream Dessert

Last but not least, Wild Sweets has also come out with some Ice Cream Desserts. The one pictured above is the Dark Fruit Sundae which features:

  • Blackberry Cassis sorbet
  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • White chocolate Marcona almond foam
  • Assorted fresh dark fruits
  • Blackberry cassis confit
  • Almond fruit brittle
  • ‘Burnt Ends’ custard cream crunch
  • BTB salted butter caramel popcorn
  • Vanilla ‘Salad’ cookie
  • Chocolate ‘petals & pasta’ decor

The other flavour is the Red Fruit Sundae which features:

  • Strawberry sorbet
  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • White chocolate pistachio foam
  • Assorted fresh red fruits
  • Red fruit confit
  • Almond fruit brittle
  • ‘Burnt Ends’ custard cream crunch
  • BTB salted butter caramel popcorn
  • Vanilla ‘Salad’ cookie
  • Chocolate ‘petals & pasta’ decor

Yes – it’s crazy how many components there are to the ice cream! Each bite, you will find something different!

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Overall, there are definitely beautiful pieces of edible art for Wild Sweets’ new 2017 summer collection! You’ll have to pick these goodies up at the Atelier in Richmond, which is open Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM & Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00 PM. If you’re looking to pick them up from Mondays to Friday, you can also do so by making an appointment in advance. Check out their website for the full collection!

Wild Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Caffè Artigiano – New Summer Menu

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

Last month, Caffè Artigiano launched their new summer menu with a selection of chilled caffeinated (and decaffeinated) artisanal iced coffee, teas, and sodas along with some new food menu items. I was invited to check out the location on Main and 24th.


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The Main Street location is extremely spacious with long communal tables as well as seating for smaller parties. Love the cool vintage Italian vibe in here.


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There are a number of new menu items for food this summer as Chef Dawn Doucette has curated some new breakfast and lunch items. Chef Dawn has worked with Michael, the Director of Coffee, to introduce menu items that pair well together for the summer.


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This also includes some pastry items.


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Italian Sodas

For drinks, we tried the new Italian Sodas which guests can choose flavours like the frutti do bosco berry or peach syrup. The flavoured syrups are mixed with sparkling San Pellegrino and topped with fresh blueberries or mint. These make light and refreshing beverages and are great for those who enjoy a bit of a fizz.


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Another exciting addition is the Affogato, which features a dark espresso poured warm over a scoop of cold vanilla gelato from Mario’s Gelato. This item is available at locations that have freezer space, so this includes Park Royal, YVR (McArthurGlen Designer Outlet) and Hornby Street.

Other summer beverages included the Ice Cofffee, Iced Caffè Latte , Iced Spanish Latte, Frappé, Shakerato, and Ice Tea. What’s great here is that they do not use powders and syrups in their coffee drinks and therefore much healthier. Further, kid’s drinks are made with organic milk, soy, or almond milk, and also available for an added price for adults.


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There are many new sandwich options which are drawn from Italy. The Pavarotti  features green olive tapenade, Italian mortadella, nitrate-free country ham, smoked salami and provolone served on focaccia. The focaccia is toasted beautifully and the ingredients inside are savoury with a hint of spice from the salami.


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Paolino Piadina

The Paolino Piadina features rustic Italian flatbread, parmesan breaded chicken, roast garlic aioli, mozzarella, marinara sauce and arugula.


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Breakfast Wrap

The Breakfast Wrap is filled with scrambled eggs, marinara sauce, potatoes, cilantro, green onion and served with a side of salsa and sour cream.


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There are also several new salad options, all of which are colourful and fresh. These are prepared at the commissary kitchen in Vancouver.


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Overall, a great selection of new summer menu items. I especially love the new iced drinks and affogato, which are perfect for the hot weather.


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This summer Caffè Artigiano is giving away all things Vespa! Prizes include some of their bright red gift cards, loaded with $20 worth of great coffee drinks in their caffès; a Vespa LX50 day rental for two; and five bright red Vespa bags full of coffee, a travel mug and gift card, and in one of those bags, a key to a brand-new Vespa Primavera 50 Rosso Dragon. Follow them, comment and share pictures of the scooter at their various locations around BC this summer for your chance to win!


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Check out their social media for more details!

Caffe Artigiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Le Tea

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Le Tea opened up last year at Continental Plaza in Richmond and was probably one of the first to bring over the new “cheese lattea” hype that’s been popping up everywhere now. They have an extensive menu of beverages to choose from, but their tea based drinks are what they are noted for as they use fresh tea leaves in their drinks.

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Peach Oolong Cheese Lattea

I got the Peach Oolong Cheese Lattea which you can choose hot or cold and I chose the latter. You can also choose between salty or sweet for the cheese. Yes, it may sound weird to have cheese on your drink, but it was actually really good! The waitress told me salty is more popular, so I went with it. Essentially, the top white foam is the cheese flavour and you should drink it at a 45 degree angle to get both the foam and tea. It sort of tastes like cream cheese at the top and the sweet tea surprisingly goes well with it. I did wish that the tea was more strong and after Happy Lemon opened up, I have to say they do a better job at this drink.


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Oreo Smoothie

Of course S chose something off the “popular” charts. Instead of the teas, S chose the Oreo Smoothie which was topped with an Oreo cookie. The smoothie was not too sweet but I thought it was a bit too icy.


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Overall Le Tea has some decent drinks but with so many new Taiwanese bubble tea chains opening, it’s hard to compete. Their prices are comparable to the others at around $4 – $5 a drink, but I would probably go back to Happy Lemon or Chatime instead. Service was also not very friendly, but I do like the brick wall decor inside.

– Large selection of tea-based drinks
– Decor is nice and nice spot to enjoy your drink

– Tea flavour is not strong enough

Price Range: $5-6

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

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

Le Tea 樂茶 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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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.

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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.

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Lavender Latte

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

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Tea Latte

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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.

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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.

– Solid brunch items
– Cozy ambiance

– 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