PappaRoti

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

PappaRoti began in Malaysia and opened their first North American store in Vancouver on Robson St. a year ago. Thanks to Sharon, a group of food bloggers were able to try a selection of their items.

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The interior reminds me of a Blenz, with a variety of different drinks and quick bites. Very spacious and I saw many people on their laptops working away.

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Crazy for Kaya

Of course, they are famous for their freshly baked caramel coffee buns. They are twice baked so that the outside is crisp and crunchy, and pillowy soft, buttery and rich on the inside. They feature a variety of different toppings and sides and Crazy for Kaya features kaya and honey. Reminds me of kaya toast which I have a love for!

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The Works

You can also choose The Works where you are able to select your choice of any four toppings. Here, they paired strawberries, whipped cream, ice cream and bananas.

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The Classic

I think my favourite was still The Classic which features nutella and banana. The two flavours are just perfect complements and paired great with the buttery bun.

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Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine features Pappa cream cheese and jam on the side. Be sure to eat these fresh from the oven to best enjoy them. I tried them cold and they weren’t as good for sure.

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Choco Banana Pappa Rollie

Their newest addition is the Pappa Rollie. These are made with a croissant dough but has the same sweet and crispy exterior. So flaky and I liked the chocolate filling inside with banana flavouring. They also have a Coconut Pappa Rollie

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Roast Beef, Chicken Chipotle, Apple Chicken Blue Cheese, Turkey & Brie, Vegan Moroccan

I always associated PappRoti with coffee buns and had no idea they had other menu items. Well turns out you can also get sandwiches and wraps here! My favourite was the Turkey & Brie.

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They also have salads including the Island Salad and Tuscan Salad, all of which make a healthy meal.

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Other than their gourmet coffees, teas and smoothies, they also carry drinks from other brands, including Revel Juice.

Overall, I really enjoyed the coffee buns but was surprised that their other items were just as good. PappaRoti is the perfect spot to grab a quick snack or even a meal.

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

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Chachi’s

Note: All food and beverages were complimentary. Opinions are based on personal experience.

Thanks to Sherman, a group of food bloggers and I were invited to a menu tasting at the new Chachi’s located in the food court of Metropolis at Metrotown.

Chachi’s goal is to “make mall food better” and this is their first location in BC with plans to expand to other locations in BC. The focus is on sandwiches, but they also have a variety of salads and sides. All ingredients, including cheese, meats and breads are locally sourced. The bread is fresh from a bakery in Langley daily.

You can choose from the set sandwiches on their menu, or build your own.

They also have three of their own lemonades and iced teas.

Freshly made cookies are available as well. The ones we tried were quite healthy with oatmeal and raisins.

Other than their homemade drinks, they also have a select few bottled drinks. Surprisingly, my favourite was the Cherry Iced Tea. It had a light cherry/raspberry flavour to it. Their homemade drinks are overall slightly on the sweeter side, but not bad.

Asiago Caesar

We also tried two of their salads, including the Asiago Caesar which features crisp romaine, bacon garlic crostini, Asiago, Caesar dressing and topped with turkey.

Arugula

My favourite was the Arugula, which had arugula, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, red onions, goat cheese, and a balsamic sauce with turkey. You can choose your type of meat or have it without. I loved the sweetness of the artichokes along with the acidity of the balsamic. The salad was slightly overdressed though, so a little less dressing would have been perfect.

Cali

Onto what we really came here for – the sandwiches! We tried almost all the sandwiches on the menu, inclduing this Cali, which was filled with chicken breast, double smoked bacon, house made guacamole, cheddar, tomato, romaine, and spicy mayo. I really liked how the bread wasn’t too tough.

Bahn Mi

The Bahn Mi was Chachi’s take on the Vietnamese sandwich. It was filled with beef brisket, asian marinade, pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic aioli. The beef brisket was very soft and tender, but the sandwich was slightly too saucy.

Hot Philly

The Hot Philly is not for the weak as this is one of the spicier options. Filled with rib steak, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, provolone, garlic aioli and spicy mayo, this is a delicious spicy sandwich.

Smoked Bacon Breaky Sandwich

They also have some Breaky Sandwiches, including this Smoked Bacon Breaky. I didn’t try this but it looks quite similiar to a McMuffin.

Pork with Mac

My favourite sandwich was the Pork with Mac. This is filled with tender pulled pork, sweet chili, BBQ sauce, and topped with loads of mac ‘n cheese. The pulled pork was so tender and sweet, and the mac ‘n cheese was savoury with a slight spice. Amazing creation!

Dill Chips

They also have homemade chips with a variety of flavours. We tried the Dill Chips, which had a nice pickled flavoured. The chips are kettle cooked and reminded me of Ms. Vickie’s. Addictive!

Spicy Mac ‘N Cheese with Capicollo, Mac ‘N Cheese

The Pork ‘N Mac Sandwich was good, but I would actually just skip the sandwich and order their side of Mac ‘N Cheese. These come in two versions: the original or the spicy with capicollo. These were so smooth and creamy and some of the best mac I’ve had! If you enjoy a bit of spicy, I would highly recommend the Spicy Mac ‘N Cheese with Capicollo.

Overall, Chachi’s is a great addition to the food court by offering a more gourmet sandwich option with quality ingredients. The sandwiches are priced slightly higher at $8-$12, but I can understand since the ingredients are all locally sourced.

Chachi's Metrotown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buckstop

I had won a dinner for two at Buckstop from the 12 Days of Giveaway of Nomss so we headed to the cozy restaurant on Denman on a Friday night. The winning was a Social Shopper voucher for the American BBQ Feast for 2 valued at $59 for the price of $28.

The restaurant is very narrow with a bar at the front. Seating is a bit tight but I loved the ambiance with the dim lighting. Service was alright even though we were using a Social Shopper.

Phillips Blue Buck Ale

On Friday nights, they have select pints for $5. We chose the Phillips Blue Buck Ale since we like lighter beers. I noticed that they ended up charging us $6 (their regular price) but I didn’t want to fuss about the $1 difference since we were already using a Social Shopper voucher.

Fried Dill Pickles

The American Feast for 2 comes with all of the following items I’ll mention. First were the Fried Dill Pickles which was served with a cajun aioli. These were lightly battered and had a nice crunch. I did find them a little too sour but they were good when eaten between the meats.

Hush Puppies & Corn Bread

Next up were the Hush Puppies and Corn Bread which were served with a honey butter. These were still warm and I quite enjoyed the hush puppies as they were not too dense.

American Feast for 2 Platter

The main platter of the American Feast for 2 is more than enough food for two. This included two Smoked Chicken Legs and Thighs which had a nice barbecue flavour to it, but the meat was a little dry. In the middle was the Pulled Pork Sandwich featuring a Portuguese bun filled with a ton of pulled pork and sauce. It was odd that only one burger came and that it wasn’t cut in half for sharing. S and I really enjoyed the burger though as it was very flavourful and the meat was moist. However, the sauce was very wet so the bun became soggy. On the far right were St. Louis Pork Ribs. The meat was extremely tender and fell right off the bone. Flavourwise, it was rather bland. It needed the help of the homemade BBQ sauce to make it right. For sides, my favourite were the  Kennebec Fries. They were not the crispiest, but when dipped in their homemade ketchup, they were amazing! The ketchup had a bit of an onion flavour to it. The Navy Beans reminded me of chili as they were smokey and not your boring canned ketchup beans. Not bad, but again, they were rather dry. The Dijon Aioli Slaw was underwhelming and we didn’t end up finishing it.

Overall, we were quite happy with Buckstop. There are some hits and misses but overall we didn’t have too many complaints. Plus I really enjoyed their homemade sauces and most of their meats were tender. Nice spot on Denman to grab drinks and Southern food. Will revisit to try other items.

Pros:
– Most meats were tender
– Awesome homemade sauces!

Cons:
– Pork ribs fell short in flavour
– Seating is narrow and a bit tight

Price Range: $20-30/person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

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

Fondway Cafe – Media Launch

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of the media launch, but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

I was invited to Fondway Cafe‘s media launch last Sunday organized by Chobee PR. Apparently Fondway used to be inside Crystal Mall, but it has relaunched near the Metrotown skytrain station, so is very accessible.

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Their menu offers coffees, teas, and cafe style snacks. It is a Taiwanese cafe but mixed with a hipster European feel.

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They offer over 60 teas and you can purchase the teas to bring home. They also sell a variety of tea and coffee appliances.

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For the media launch, we got to sample an array of their garden fruit teas. The teas are brewed with a special machine called Teapresso that uses a 9-bar water pressurizer to extract the flavour of tea.

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Signature Iced Tea

I tried the Fruit Garden, which had hibiscus, rose-hip peels, apple bits, citrus peels, and sunflower petals. The teas were served cold and I enjoyed the fruitiness and floral flavours.

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We then moved over to the coffee bar where the girls were pumping out the drinks. They offer coffee beans from Elysian coffee roasters and the beans are from Guatemala and Costa Rica.

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Nitrogen Coffee

Fondway differs from other coffee shops as they feature a Nitrogen Coffee, which is cold brewed and infused with nitrogen gas to create a silky texture and bubbly taste. The coffee was very smooth and clean but I found it very odd that that the coffee taste disappears after you consume it. Your first initial contact with the coffee will give you that strong coffee flavour, but it disappears right after. It’s great for people like me who do not enjoy the after coffee taste that lingers in my mouth.

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Honey Lemon Coffee

The Honey Lemon Coffee was a bit of an odd one for us. We found it to have that odd sour taste that we didn’t really enjoy.

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Grass Jelly Milk Tea

One of my favourites was the Grass Jelly Milk Tea. The milk tea was strong in fresh tea flavour.

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Caramel Macchiato

We also tried the Caramel Macchiato with one shot of espresso. The coffee was smooth and the caramel wasn’t too sweet. I also noticed they have really neat menus where you can check the items you want to order with an erasable marker. Pretty neat!

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And then we hurried over to the food! This was a foodie’s dream with all the food presented beautifully!

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Belgium Waffles, House Salad

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Taiwanese Sandwich, Chicken Croissant

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Tuna Waffles, Cheese Salmon, Pumpkin Cracker, Daily Sandwiches

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Daily Soups

Daily Soups included a Minestrone and Clam Chowder Soup. M and I both agreed the chowder was the best. It was flavourful and didn’t taste like your typical canned soup.

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These were the items we sampled. Our favourite was the Cheese Salmon which featured smoked salmon on top of a cracker along with cheese, lettuce and dill. The Tuna Waffle was also a favourite as the waffles were light and fluffy and tuna was flavoured nicely with a light mayo. The Taiwanese Sandwich was a nice twist as it featured waffles as the bread.

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Coffee Pana Cotta

And onto the desserts! We started off with the Coffee Pana Cotta which is more like a creme brulee with coffee caramel liquid at the bottom. Quite sweet, but the custard was smooth.

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New York Cheesecake

The homemade cakes then started rolling in. The New York Cheesecake had sugar on top and it was torched to give that creme brulee hard sugar feeling. The cheesecake was denser than what I would’ve liked as I prefer the light and fluffy Japanese ones, but good nevertheless.

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Ujikintoki Cake, Seasonal Fruit Cake, Earl Grey Cake, Concentrated Chocolate Cake

We also got to try a variety of their daily cakes. Since we were too full, we only tried the Earl Grey Cake. The cake itself was very fluffy, but I found that the hazelnuts on top stole the show so it tasted more like a hazelnut cake. More earl grey flavouring and less hazelnuts would’ve made the cake perfect.

FONDWAY 咖啡_反3

Overall, we had a good time and enjoyed the beverages and snacks that Fondway offers. Service was also extremely friendly and waitresses are able to speak both Mandarin and English. I can see this as a cute place to catch up with your girl friends.

Fondway is offering a grand opening day special and you can experience a 4 signature course for only $20. You can choose from either option A or B. Please see picture above for details and contact details to reserve your ticket in advance.

Fondway Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dunn’s Famous – Relaunch Media Event

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NOTE: As part of the relaunch media event, all food and beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

I’ve been to Dunn’s Famous during the PaintNite events, so I was excited when Peak Communicators contacted me about the Dunn’s Famous Relaunch Media Event. As I was away during the actual event, Peak Communicators was able to arrange for me to visit the restaurant at another time. I met with Yonathan Delgado, the General Manager who gave me a thorough tour of the newly re-opened restaurant.

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Dunn’s Famous is the only franchise outside of Quebec. The store launched in 2011 and the grand re-opening was on October 9, 2015. They have revamped their menu to focus more on their signature dishes, but have also added a couple of new items. My immediate reaction when I entered was how bright the restaurant is now.

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You’ll find brick walls on one side and tables with black and white photography of Quebec.

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The new addition is the deli experience where customers can purchase both quick lunches and also goods to take home. They offer a variety of smoked meat, pickles, salads, and soups. Of course, you can also choose sit-down dining, but it’s great that there’s an option for Downtown workers for a quick sandwich.

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Dunn’s Famous specializes in authentic Montreal smoked meat, an artisan meat product produced from beef brisket that is cured and spiced using old-world techniques before a slow cooking process. It is then steamed again and hand sliced to order, before used to create the iconic Canadian Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

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Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Of course I had to try their signature item, so I ordered the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. For the sandwiches, you can choose the size, cut of your meat, mustard, and any side add ons. I asked for advice from one of the servers (who by the way, are extremely well-trained and knowledgeable with the products) and chose the smallest size, a 4 oz meat sandwich, with a medium cut, and Dijon mustard. They use rye bread which comes from the local bakery, Brekka, so the bread is extremely fresh. All sandwiches also come with a pickle, which is refreshing to eat between the sandwich. The smoked meat is seriously some of the most melt-in-your-mouth meat I’ve had though. This is because Dunn’s offers the only hand-sliced Montreal smoked meat in Vancouver. The hand slicing is an art that takes years to perfect and allows the meat to be cooked for a longer period of time and it can be cut against the grain. This would not be achievable with a machine. With a medium cut, you get a mix of lean and fat meat, so you still get the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture.

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Quebecoise Poutine

For my add-on, I chose the Quebecoise Poutine. The fries are hand cut and made from Kennebec potatoes, and topped with fresh Canadian cheese curds covered in an original BBQ beef gravy. The gravy is made in house from scratch using roasted beef bones and a signature barbecue spice mix, which I thought was quite different from your typical gravy sauce. I quite liked this and the fries were extremely crispy.

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Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the service and food at Dunn’s Famous. There are very few, if any, Montreal smoked meat restaurants that I’m aware of so it’s great that Dunn’s still keeps the traditions and authenticity of this delicious artisan meat. Great location and I’m loving the new vintage retro ambiance at the restaurant. Plus, you can now bring home the smoked meat to assemble your own sandwich!

Dunn's Famous Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Li’l Cheese Steak Spot

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Li’l Cheese Steak Spot recently opened up in Royal Centre’s food court. Since I was nearby for work, I headed over to grab take out. The food takes a little longer to get prepared since they make the sandwich when you order. You can wash the cook grill your steak and veggies on spot. They also have other sandwiches and soups to order.

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Cheese Steak Sandwich

I went for their signature, which is the Cheese Steak Sandwich. It doesn’t look appealing because it was all wrapped up and the sauces got all smothered, but this was delicious! If you love steak and cheese, this is for you. The beef was tender and you actually got quite a lot of it. It was also filled with onions, melted cheese, banana peppers, tomatoes, and a white sauce. Only downside is that the sandwich is quite pricey at $9. Nevertheless, it’s filling and the quality of steak is great.

Pros:
– Steak is tender
– Sandwiches are made to order

Cons:
– Pricey sandwich for food court

Price Range: $10

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

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

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Liquids & Solids

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Liquids & Solids is just a few blocks away from work and is perfect whenever you feel like some soup and sandwich. You can grab lunch, which will fill you up for around $10, which is pretty decent around the Broadway area. The shop is bustling at lunch time and you need to first line up to order. They then call your name and you can grab your order to go or to dine in. They offer mainly soups and sandwiches, but also quiches. They change their menu daily, so you may see some daily specials.

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Heavenly Pesto Chicken and Salmon Chowder

On the first occasion, D recommended I try the Heavenly Pesto Chicken. This was delicious! The sandwich was filled with slow roasted chicken topped with aged cheddar, spinach, tomatoes and their popular pesto aioli. This was grilled up on sourdough, which was toasted perfect. The sandwiches are around $7.95, and you can add an extra $2 for soup. I chose the Salmon Chowder, which was filled with salmon pieces and vegetables. Very flavourful!

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Cheesus Crust and Chili

E got the Cheesus Crust, which features a blend of cheddar, provolone, Parmesan and blue cheese. It is topped with a cilantro pesto, roasted red pepper antipasta and a touch of sour cream. She said it was very cheesy and had a slight heat. She also added the Chili to her meal.

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Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork and Chili

On another occasion, I had the Jack Daniel’s Pulled Pork, which featured slow roasted pork cooked for hours in Jack Daniel’s sauce. It was topped with carmelized onions and served grilled on Yukon gold, scallion foccacia bread. I also had the Chili which was filled with beans and shredded meat. The chili wasn’t too spicy, but full of ingredients and flavour.

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The pulled pork was very moist and was slightly sweet. You couldn’t really taste the alcohol in it. Overall, great sandwiches and soups and reasonable prices. Not much service, but they are still friendly.

Pros:
– Great variety of sandwiches and soups
– Reasonable prices

Cons:
– Not much service
– Not too many seats for larger groups

Price Range: $5-15

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

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

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Smokehouse Sandwich Co.

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It’s almost a ritual for N and I to take each other out for our birthdays and this year N suggested we try Smokehouse Sandwich Co. I’ve briefly heard about this spot, but I honestly had no idea where it was. Driving down Westminster Highway, I still could not picture where it was. Between No. 1 and No. 2, there is tiny little plaza and there hides these sandwich company. Such a hidden gem. We arrived early for lunch, but soon after, the place was absolutely packed!

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They have a fairly simple menu board with sandwiches, sides, and drinks. I love how each sandwich has a name to it. You order at the front and they call you when it’s ready. You can then choose a seat to enjoy your meal.

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The interior is rustic and cozy. Tall chairs against wooden tables, with sofas, books, brick walls and rugs. It almost feels like you’re at someones home.

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Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea

We decided to try their only two drinks. Both drinks come as hot versions as well. They are definitely following the current Mason jar trends here. Most of the ingredients have sunk to the bottom, so we were told to shake it well before drinking.

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Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea

N got the Iced Honey Ginger Lemon Tea, which was surprisingly full of ginger flavour. Almost a little too spicy for me! I can imagine the hot version to be perfect if you have a cold. For myself, I had the Iced Strawberry and Mint Tea. Mine was more bland than N’s, but still had a good amount of strawberry flavour. Very refreshing!

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Samson

N got the Samson, which came with coffee crusted strawberry glazed beef brisket, butter leaf lettuce, red bell peppers, and aioli. She said it was delicious! It definitely looked really good! Tons of beef brisket for sure.

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Billie

For myself, I went for the Billie. First, the bun itself is toasted perfectly! It’s crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside. I also liked how none of the ingerdients made the sandwich soggy. Inside the Billie, it was filled with salt-cured pork belly, butter leaf lettuce, tomato salsa and aioli. Something about that tomato salsa and aioli made this sandwich absolutely delicious! The flavours just worked so well together. A little spicy, but not overwhelming. The pork belly also had a good ratio of fat and meat. A must try!

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Crisps

We decided to share a side of Crisps, which are basically like potato chips. They are thin cut potatoes fried in olive oil, so I guess it’s more healthy? The potatoes are so thinly cut! It’s so airy and light. They are already lightly salted, but we were told to try it with their two hot sauces if we like a bit of spice. The red one is made with chilis, smoked garlic, onions, red peppers, and vinegars. I don’t remember what was in the green sauce, but it was definitely much more spicy! Super addicting!

Overall, we were extremely satisfied with the sandwiches we had. The service was also extremely friendly. I loved how the lady asked us what we thought afterwards. It’s always a good sign when restaurants value customer opinions. A hidden gem!

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