Torafuku – Dine Out Vancouver 2016

Our first Dine Out Vancouver for 2016 was at Torafuku. I’ve been wanting to try this new restaurant ever since having a good meal from their sister food truck, Le Tigre. The Dine Out menu was $30 per person.

The interior is minimalist with barely any renovations. There is one long communal table and some booths on the side. We had made reservations early in advance but unfortunately we were still given bar seats. S was quite disappointed since he had wanted a more intimate seating. Bar seating was fun to watch the kitchen, but it definitely wasn’t very comfortable.

Love the wooden plates. Definitely has that hipster ambiance.

Since we were seated at the bar, we got a good view of what was going on in the kitchen.

One Fish, Two Fish

Apparently, we were only allowed to choose one appetizer per two people for the Dine Out menu. We were slightly upset with that since we had already heard that portions would be small. (It did say in fine print at the bottom of the online menu, so my fault for missing that!) Anyways, we chose One Fish, Two Fish. This was a bowl of sashimi salad with salmon, tuna, and geoduck sashimi on top of salad greens and wakame mixed with a sesame dressing. I quite liked this as the mix of seaweed and greens gave a nice texture, but I wish there was more dressing as it was slightly bland. Loved the texture of the geoduck though and the sashimi was quite fresh.

Pickled Cucumber and Radish

While waiting for our entrees, the server brought us a complimentary side dish of Pickled Cucumbers and Radish to share. I enjoyed the pickled flavour and it definitely opened up my stomach for more food.

Call of Duty (CoD)

For my entree, I chose the Call of Duty (CoD). If you go through Torafuku’s menu, they have such witty names! This consisted of crispy ling cod, clams, root veggies, and handmade gnocchi in sake a kumbu broth. The fish was moist and my favourite was the handmade gnocchi. The broth was very flavourful as well and I could’ve had a whole bowl of this. Veggies were slightly undercooked for my preference. Overall, a good dish, but the portion was way too small! The fish was almost half the size of usual portions.

Kare Kare

S got the Kare Kare, which I preferred out of the two entrees. It came with seared beef blade steak, on top of a 3 grain risotto, with pickled veggies, oxtail, and peanut ragu. The flavours were delicious and the beef was cooked to a beautiful medium rare. Again, portions were way too small though. This was more like an appetizer.

J-E-L-L-O

For dessert, the menu online had said we could choose between two options and I had seen pictures of others from the week earlier order the second option. However, our server told us that there was only the J-E-L-L-O that night. Quite disappointed since I wanted to try different desserts. However, the J-E-L-L-O has got to be one of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time. It was an oolong infused yuzu jello, with condensed milk ice cream and topped with crispy salted caramel. The dessert was light and refreshing and the milky flavour paired well with the slightly citrus jello. I had nothing to complain about this and could eat this over and over again!

Overall, I was quite pleased with the dishes from the Dine Out menu. However, we both agreed that the portions were way too small! Especially the fact that we had to share an appetizer between the two of us and it still costed $30 per person. Service was also a bit cold. No one really checked up on us. We also ended up having to pay a visit to McDonald’s to fill up. I’m curious to see what it’s like during regular service though and will need to make a revisit to try their regular menu.

Pros:
– Great flavours on Asian-inspired dishes
– Jello dessert was the bomb!

Cons:
– Portions are small
– Seating isn’t very comfortable

Price Range: $30/person (DOVF menu)

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

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

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

Oru (Fairmont Pacific Rim)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2013 is about to end soon! 😦 I’m sad since I wish I had tried out more places, but that also means my bank account is going to hurt! For those of you who don’t know about Dine Out Vancouver, it’s basically 200+ restaurants offering set menus that range from $18, $28, to $38. They are usually pretty good deals, but occasionally there are ones where you are paying for basically what you would if you ordered off the regular menu.

Anyways, this year, I decided to try out Oru. I really had not heard much about it, but I had a look at the menu, and it seemed like food I would want. Oru is located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and it is absolutely gorgeous! When you walk through the hotel doors, you are at their lobby and when you continue walking, you see this clean bright white area and stairs leading up to Oru.

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Oru has two sides to their restaurant. One side is more of a lounge, where people are mostly drinking. I love the red couches against the white walls. Such a nice contrast! There’s also a mini bar on one side.

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They have an open kitchen, where you can basically see all the chefs working. Pretty neat if you sit close to them, but our table was pretty far from the kitchen. I also love how the kitchen area is all white. So classy looking.

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Oru is supposed to be a Pan Pacific Asian fusion restaurant, so they actually serve sushi and such in their menu. I guess that’s why they also have chopsticks on their table. Orange chopsticks to be exact.

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This is the view we had for our table. Not an ocean view, since we sat by the window that just overlooks the new convention centre. Still pretty nice though.

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ORU Salad – sunflower seed butter, quinoa, organic greens, pea shoots, lemongrass dressing

My parents got the ORU Salad, which we stared at for quite a while. We realized that the cabage was literally still fully attached. So you really had to use your knifes and fork to eat this. That also means that they had to buy a cabbage for each dish they made! All fancy huh… Underneath the leaves were quinoa, and on the top, it was topped with sunflower seeds. I took a bite, and it was pretty good. The lemongrass dressing gave it a nice zest.

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Yarrow Meadows Duck and Rabbit Terrine – pickled mustard seeds, radish and fennel salad

E had the Yarrow Meadows Duck and Rabbit Terrine. I didn’t try it but he said it was pretty good. Definitely a dainty piece on the large plate though.

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Roasted Sunchoke “Mocha” – sunchoke veloute, truffled milk foam, morel cocoa powder

For myself, I had the Roasted Sunchoke “Mocha”. To be honest, I didn’t really know what a veloute was, so I did some quick googling beforehand, and it’s basically a soup. There was some cocoa powder on the top, but I didn’t really taste it. The truffled milk foam however, was powerful, but worked well with the soup. It had an interesting consistency, and was something I hadn’t tried before. Was it something I loved though? Not exactly, but I wouldn’t mind it.

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PEI Coldwater Lobster – cold water lobster, isreali cous cous, coconut butter sauce

K had the PEI Coldwater Lobster. I didn’t try it, but apparently it was quite bland. You definitely cannot compare this to how Chinese restaurants prepare lobster. This was definitely just lobster with some butter sauce to go with. She did however mention that the lobster was a little overcooked, so it was a little tough.

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Angus Reserve Beef Tenderloin – wild mushrooms, house cured bacon, confit fingerling potato, jus

I was debating between the lobster or the beef tenderloin, and am I ever happy that I ordered the Angus Reserve Beef Tenderloin! At first, I thought the portions would be small, because they usually are at fancy restaurants, but I was totally wrong. Medium-rare prepared, the piece of beef tenderloin was huge, and it was the most tender beef tenderloin I’ve ever had!! You still had to chew on it, but there was no fuss in cutting up the pieces, and it was just oh so tender!!! The sides were slightly crispy, and the meat inside was juicy and full of flavour. The sauce underneath was also delicious. It as a mixture of wild mushrooms, bacon, and potatoes. And I literally finished every bit of the dish. Everything just worked so well together, and I would definitely recommend this. This dish is on their regular menu too, and for $38, so it was definitely a steal for dine out, since you basically get the appetizer and dessert for free. But if I were to come to Oru again, I would highly recommend getting the Beef Tenderloin. So worth your money!

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Chocolate Mousse Trifle – single-origin Mexican chocolate, candied banana, coconut foam

Everyone at my table opted for the Chocolate Mousse Trifle. It was presently beautifully like an art piece. The top of the chocolate mousse was a hard chocolate shell. This is definitely for the chocolate lovers. I liked how they had some candied bananas on the side, so you weren’t too overwhelmed with the chocolate flavour, and the banana flavour works well with it.

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Lemon Tart – vanilla syrup, meringue crisp, crème fraiche Chantilly

I wanted to try something different, but I didn’t want their third option, which was cheese, so I got the Lemon Tart. The waitress said that was her favourite, so why not! I’m normally not a big fan of lemon tarts, because they can sometimes be too sour and tarty. However, this one was delicious. It was almost like a lemon creme brulee. It had some sugar on the top that was burnt and the lemon filling was smooth and creamy. I also enjoyed the meringue crisps at the top. Everyone at the table got a bite and said that it was surprisingly good. And best of all, it wasn’t super sweet!

Overall, I was extremely pleased with the Dine Out menu for Oru. I can’t comment on how the food is normally, but their food seemed to be consistent. Oh, and I cannot stress how much I loved the Angus Reserve Beef Tenderloin! Beautiful place with great views as well. Servers weren’t annoying and gave us enough space to eat, while occasionally checking up on us.

Oru at Fairmont Pacific Rim on Urbanspoon

Leisure Tea & Coffee (Revisit)

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Crispy Chicken Sandwich

I’ve revisited Leisure way too many times by now. But there still seems to be items that I haven’t tried. I always tend to go for my favourites, but this time I decided to try some other menu items. These are actually two separate visits, but I’ll just put it in one post. The first item was the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. I’ve heard great things about their Club Sandwich, but I was curious to see what a Crispy Chicken Sandwich was. So glad I got this because it was really delicious! They come in a plate of four triangular sandwiches in white bread. Each sandwich has three layers of bread, so it makes it quite large in size. With the crispy chicken inside, which is really their famous Taiwanese chicken, the sandwiches are too big to take a whole bite of. But I didn’t mind that. Inside was also tomatoes, cucumbers and mayo. I would definitely recommend this.

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Crispy Chicken Waffle

Then, on Christmas night after my Christmas potluck, I joined some friends to go to Leisure again… Only Asian restaurants are open on Christmas, so the place was surprisingly quite packed. With all Asians of course. Sadly, I wasn’t too satisfied with my potluck dinner, so I was actually craving some more food by then. I’ve had their Ice Cream Waffle before, but what was a Crispy Chicken Waffle?! I decided to give that a try and it was oh so delicious! It’s really the same thing as the Crispy Chicken Sandwich but in a waffle form. The waffle also had a lot more chicken than the sandwiches. It wasn’t too salty and all the ingredients just worked well together with the vegetables giving a refreshing feel.

Overall, extremely satisfied with both visits again. The food never seem to disappoint!

Leisure Tea & Coffee on Urbanspoon

Salt Spring Island Noodle Bar (at PNE)

Chicken + Veg + Pad Thai + Thai Chow Mein

Continuation of The Fair at the PNE! We also looked for some actual food instead of just desserts, and we came across this Asian looking booth called Salt Spring Island Noodle Bar. We thought Pad Thai sounded appealing at that time, so we decided to get it, but we soon realized that it wasn’t the Pad Thai noodles, but the Pad Thai sauce! But it wasn’t even really close to that sauce anyways… It was actually some sort of spicy sauce with chow mein noodles. Although it wasn’t what we had expected, it was still pretty good. It’s not even Asian operated, but I have to say it’s probably better than most of the non-Asian operated food places I’ve tried. After searching it up, I also found that the noodle bar is actually from Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands! So it actually came all the way from Victoria to attend The Fair. Pretty cool!

Salt Spring Island Noodle Bar and Curry House on Urbanspoon