Belgard Kitchen

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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.

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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.

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The interior is rustic and hip.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Zabu Chicken

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KH and KC finally made our trip to Zabu Chicken after months of talking about fried chicken and beer. We headed over on a random weekday after work, and we were surprised that that it had a decent amount of diners. Zabu Chicken offers Korean fried chicken and beer, and most of their diners are Korean. By 7:00 pm, the place shut off their lights and had some night club music going on. Contrary to what many people had said about their poor service, I actually didn’t find it a problem and the service was quite attentive. Food did take quite some time to come out, but since we had our drinks, it wasn’t too much of a problem.

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Complimentary Coleslaw and Pickled Radish

After you place your order, you get some complimentary dishes. They served us Coleslaw as well as some Pickled Radish. At first, we thought the dishes were pretty underwhelming, but once you have some beer and chicken, you will appreciate it. The sourness of the pickled radish will help you cool down from the spicy chicken.

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Sapporo

With fried chicken, you have to get some beer. We ended up getting two pitchers of Sapporo for the night. Not the cheapest, but at $17, it was a reasonable price to share. I like how they provide you with beer mugs which have been put in the freezer so that your beer is kept cold.

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Zabu Hot Combo (M)

We decided to share a few dishes and started off with the Zabu Hot Combo. You can choose between medium and large size. We went with the medium, and you get a mix of wings and drumsticks. These were delicious! They are spicy, but a tolerable one and great with beer. The batter is so crispy! Something about it just tastes a lot different compared to American fried chicken. The sauce makes the chicken moist, but you still get the crispiness. The meat is also kept moist and tender.

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Zabu Soy Combo (L)

We also got their original Zabu Soy Combo, and we got this in large. These were also very delicious, and it had a nice sweet taste to it. A must order! It’s funny because you can also order a whole chicken… When we asked the server about it, she said they literally chop up the whole chicken and fry it…

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Overall, we were extremely satisfied with Zabu Chicken. The fried chicken isn’t the cheapest, but I’ve realized that fried chicken can be quite expensive. I also liked how we were able to sit around and chat and continue drinking our beer and the servers didn’t kick us out. Cool place to chill at night!

Pros:
– Chicken is crispy and moist
– Fun, chill place to drink and hang with friends

Cons:
– Prices aren’t exactly cheap

Price Range: $15-25

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

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

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Gyu-Kaku (Broadway)

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Pitcher of Beer

Gyu-Kaku has two locations – one in downtown, and the second on Broadway. Since it was relatively close to work, I headed down there to meet up with the girls for dinner. On Mondays, the whole day is Happy Hour, so there are some pretty good deals! For drink deals, the pitcher of Sapporo is just for $9! (It’s a full pitcher by the way, just that I took the picture after pouring.)

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Steamed Chili Dumpling

We ordered one of the items off the Happy Hour Menu. The Steamed Chili Dumplings are normally $6.95, but is $4.95 during happy hour. They were your typical dumplings with some spicy sauce on it. Not bad, but it’s nothing too special.

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Gyu-Kaku Salad

Gyuk-Kaku offers many set course meals. The best part is that you can have more people than stated on the menu and still order these sets. We chose the Meat Lover’s for 2, although we were a table of three, and we were more than filled. The set is for $55, and when split between 3, it comes to around $20 each. It starts off with some appetizers, including the Gyu-Kaku Salad. Topped with burdock, greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and hard boiled eggs, it’s quite a salad. It came with a Japanese mayo sauce, which was very delicious!

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Edamame

Next up were the Edamame. Lightly salted, and a huge bowl!

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Chicken Karaage

The Chicken Karaage came with a spicy mayo dip. I found that there was too much batter compared to meat. This could’ve been worked on.

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Garlic Steak, Spicy Pork, Toro Beef Tare

Then our meats came. Each table is equipped with a built in barbeque so you can self-barbeque. However, I found that your meat could be easily burnt when you don’t look after it. My favourite had to be the Toro Beef. It was thin, tender and fatty. The Spicy Pork was probably my least favourite since it was easy to overcook it so it became rough. Many of the meat are already marinated, but they also provide you with three sauces. A spicy, sweet, and ponzu sauce.

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Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, New York Steak Miso, Yaki-Shabu Beef Tare

More meat came and another favourite was the Bistro Hanger Steak. Well marinated and tender meat. All cuts were very good. I didn’t have a single piece that was tough to chew. Other than meat, there was always Corn Butter, which were corn niblets that were wrapped in tin foil with butter inside. When you place it on the grill, the heat melts the butter. Very yummy!

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Sukiyaki Bibimbap

There was also a Sukiyaki Bibimbap. However, I found that it tasted more like Chinese sticky rice, rather than a bibimbap. I guess it was the type of rice they used. Not bad!

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There was also dessert to end the night. Since it’s a two person course set, it only came with two scoops of matcha ice cream, but they were one of the biggest scoops I’ve had. Overall, I was quite satisfied with Gyu-Kaku. Service was very attentive. Our grill was switched multiple times, and they even switched up our beer mugs to frozen ones once in a while. Quality of food is pretty good, and the price isn’t too bad. One of the better barbeque spots I’ve been to.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Catch 122 Cafe Bistro

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Throughout the summer, I despserately wanted to hit some happy hour spots, just because work would start soon and the weather would turn terrible. Finally, K and I decided to head to Gastown and we ended up checking out Catch 122 Cafe Bistro. They offer happy hour from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4pm to 6pm.

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We got there right at 4pm, and I guess it was sort of an odd weekday, so we were literally the only diners. Shortly, there were another couple, but it’s definitely not very busy during these odd times. The interior is rustic yet hip. I loved the wooden furniture and spacious setting.

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Beer Flight Paddle (4 X 5.5 oz) ($6.50)

For drinks, I decided to go for the Beer Flight Paddle, which is a great deal to try all their local craft beer on tap. It’s around $3 off the regular menu. Starting from the left, we have the Russell Eastern Promises Pilsner (5%). This was a Czech-style pilsner one of my favourites. I liked how it was light and crispy and had a touch of honey flavour. Next, was the Russell Blood Alley Bitter (5.5%), which was my least favourite. I didn’t like it mostly because I found it too bitter and dry. It did have a hint of grapefruit flavour though. Continuing to our right was the Driftwood Farmhand Belgian Ale (5.5%). This one is brewed in Victoria and is supposed to be Belgian in flavour. It was okay, but I found it to be on the bitter side. Last but not least, on the very right was the Driftwood Fat Tug IPA (7%). This was an Indian Pale Ale, and I liked how it was a fruity beer. It had notes of grapefruit, mango, melon, and passionfruit.

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Salmon Tartare, 63º Quail Egg, Gaufrette Potato ‘Chips’ ($4)

For snacks, we started off with the Salmon Tartare. The food items are not discounted, so they are the same price as the dinner menu. However, they don’t offer the dinner menu during happy hour time.The salmon tartare came with a quail egg, which I mixed together. The tartare was flavoured well and the dill definitely brought lots of flavour to your palette. It came with potato chips so you could scoop the tartare. The plate is definitely very small, but very well done.

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Mushroom Pâté, Olive, Hazelnut, Poppyseed Lavash ($3.50)

The second appetizer we got was the Mushroom Pâté, which was visually appealing. It looked like a little plant! The pâté was seasoned with olives, hazelnuts, and pepper. It was then topped with little mushrooms. Super cute! Around the pâté, there was a poppyseed lavash ring. The flatbread was crispy and great to scoop the pâté.

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Based on just the happy hour menu, Catch 122 has good quality food. I can’t comment too much since I didn’t try most of their menu. However, I liked the atmosphere and I appreciate the fact that they put thought into their dishes, so it’s a bit more unique. Service wasn’t extraordinary, but it was available. I’d definitely return to try the rest of their menu. I hear their breakfast/brunch menu is quite good!

Catch 122 Cafe Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kirin Ichiban Garden – Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft – Tokyo

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Walking around Shibuya, we somehow came across the Kirin Ichiban Brewery.

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There were tons of people sitting outside in the beer garden. Apparently, it only recently opened.

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There was also the Frozen Beer truck! We got in line to see what it’s all about. In Vancouver, they only recently began to sell it at Guu. They offer several different flavours for the frozen beer. You can get original, cranberry, lime, lychee, mango or cassiss (blackcurrent).

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Cassiss Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft

We got the Cassiss flavour, which is essentially blackcurrent flavour. The beer is flavoured with blackcurrent flavouring, so it just tastes like a fruity beer. The foam however is the frozen part. It’s like a slurpee at the top. However, the foam doesn’t have much flavour. Apparently, the invention was so that the frozen foam can keep your drink cold for 30 minutes without needing to add ice. Pretty neat. Worth trying!

Address: 3-7 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya, Tokyo

 

Warawara – Seoul

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After dinner, the boys took us to look for some fruit soju! We took a 10 minute walk and ended up in a street full of bars. And this was a random Wednesday night, but the street was busy! Shows how much Koreans love to drink! Anyways, we ended up Warawara, which is supposed to be famous for their fruit sojus. The dining bar was in the basement floor, and the decor is all wooden. I liked how they had little rooms with blinds separating you from other diners so it gives you some privacy.

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Italian Creamy Fried Chicken

Apparently, you must eat when you drink! It’s drinking etiquette to always order at least one dish to share. They say that’s how they get drunk, since you keep eating, and so you’ll drink more… Anyways, we ordered the Italian Creamy Fried Chicken, which was by far my favourite fried chicken we had in Korea. It definitely had to do with the creamy and cheesy sauce! I had thought that the best fried chicken would be the classic, but they really know how to fusion up their classic fried chicken. They were little chicken balls that were boneless, so no hassle with deboning. Filled with vegetables like corn, peppers, broccoli and onions, the dish was extremely flavourful!

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Then came our fruit sojus! What’s cool about this bar is that they actually use fresh fruit to make your soju or other alcoholic drinks. None of that cheap processed juice or powder! What’s even cooler is that they actually present the drink in the fruit’s shell! So here we have the server actually physically bring us all the equipment to make the soju. His blender was filled up half with soju already. He then pulls out the pineapple with a metal tool.

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He then actually blends the whole drink in front of us! Super cool! Plus, you’re guaranteed it’s fresh!

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Pineapple Soju

And here we have the finished product of the Pineapple Soju! He fills the pineapple shell with half of the soju and places it on a plate filled with ice to keep it cold. Loved the experience and the drink was absolutely delicious! I love how you get some pineapple pulp in it, and it tastes more like juice than alcohol! I see how you can get drunk off of this so easily…

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Watermelon Soju

The pineapple soju was so good that we had to get another round of soju! This time, we chose the Watermelon Soju. Unfortunately, they said they ran out of the actual watermelon skin for the bowl, so we were only able to get it in a jar already made. I’m not sure how that works out though, because where did the watermelon come from if there’s no shell for it…? Odd… Again, super refreshing! These fruit sojus are a must try if you normally like calpico sojus that are flavoured peach or grape and such. Never thought these fruits would be so great with soju!

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Cass Beer

We mentioned how we liked the Korean beers, since it’s really light and diluted, so the boys taught us how they normally drink their beers. This time, we tried Cass, which is also a popular Korean beer.

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Soju

Now apparently, just drinking beer alone isn’t enough to get these boys drunk….so they mix it with soju! Here, the boys were showing us a trick where they spin the green soju bottle, and place light from their phone under the bottle to create a tornado…

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Soju Bombs

Typically, you can make soju bombs by dropping a shot glass of soju into a pint of beer. Instead, the boys just poured the soju into the beer. They then took a spoon and poked the drink through, and somehow the drink just mixed itself together. Pretty neat!!

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And here is what it ended up like! Some foam at the top, and the beer and soju mixed up! This definitely gets you more drunk quicker!

Overall, an absolute fun night to finish off our trip in Seoul! Can’t wait to visit these crazy boys again. Warawara is definitely a great place to hangout and have a few drinks in a comfortable environment! If you’re not a heavy drinker, those fruit sojus are perfect for you! I believe they have several franchises all over South Korea, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one!

Freiraum – Vienna

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Next stop was Vienna! K had friends on exchange here, so they took us to Freiraum. It’s a very casual bar/ restaurant on a busy street called Mariahilfer Straße. Pretty noisy too but the atmosphere is fun. For non-smokers, it’s good to keep in mind that in Vienna, you’re allowed to smoke inside restaurants, although they have designated areas. Even though there’s a non-smoking area, the smoke really just travels over. The restaurant was packed, so we ended up sitting in the smoking area. Not ideal, but being in Europe for so long, I’ve sort of gotten used to the smell.

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Zwettler Beer

We ordered the Zwettler Beer since apparently it’s the most common Austrian beer. For some reason, I think the server heard us wrong, and he brought us a variation of the typical Zwettler beer. It had a taste of lemon and wasn’t very fizzy. It didn’t even taste like beer…

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Freiraum Schmarren

I was way too hungry to wait for dinner, so I had ate some kebabs before arriving at dinner. So instead of having an entree, I ended up going for an Austrian dessert. On the menu, it’s called a kipferlschmarren. I think it’s more often known as the Kaiserschmarren or just the Schmarrn. Schmarrn means shredded pancake and Kaiser is named after one of the Austrian emperors who enjoyed this pancake. Basically they were pieces of fluffy pancake mixed with caramelized walnuts and apples. It was topped with a bit of icing sugar and came with a side of homemade applesauce. I actually really enjoyed this! No need to fuss with cutting up the pancake into smaller pieces and the toppings worked really well together. It didn’t taste too sweet, which can happen with maple syrup. It’s a very common dessert in Austria, so I recommend trying this!

Na Zlate krizovatce (Closed?) – Prague

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I was responsible for looking up places to eat and within our budget. Since Europe doesn’t use urbanspoon, I’ve been relying on Tripadvisor. I found this top rated restaurant that was at a reasonable price range called Na Zlate krizovatce. No idea how to pronounce it, once again. The interesting thing was that the restaurant was well known for being gluten-free. I’ve never really had gluten-free food other than gluten-free bread, but my friends were excited to give it a try. I mean, it sounded like a “healthy” meal! The restaurant is located pretty far from where we stayed. It was dark at night and the streets were pretty quiet. The restaurant wasn’t situated in a lively area, and it was a little hidden, especially in the dark.

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The interior is very fancy looking and very quiet. There were around 2 other tables of diners when we arrived. It’s definitely more like a place to bring your date to since it’s got a bit of the romantic ambiance to it. Actually, we found a table later with a couple meeting the parents which was interesting.. So yea, that type of setting. Well, we were a group of friends and we kept our voices low and it wasn’t that awkward and bad after all. The prices are actually quite reasonable too, which our whole meal being under CAN$20. But then again, the cost of living seems to be substantially less compared to Vancouver.

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Zatec Beer

Again, U and I decided to try out some Czech beer. Whenever we go on a trip together, we seem to be determined to try some local beer. Zatec is an old town in the Czech Republic and apparently this beer’s brewery is now situated in the Zatec Castle. Pretty cool! Anyways, I’m not a huge beer person, so I don’t know much about beers, but to me, it wasn’t very bitter. That’s basically all I care about.

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 Complimentary Bread

Again, we got complimentary bread, and the owner said it was their homemade gluten-free bread. D didn’t really like it since she thought it was too dense, which is true because it’s more difficult to get soft and fluffy like normal wheat bread. It definitely didn’t taste as good as wheat bread, but I wouldn’t say it was terrible. The texture is a bit gritty too. Again, it came with two spreads – a butter and some sort of fat mixed with herbs. I guess using fat as a spread is really common here! K and I actually really liked this herb spread, although I don’t know how healthy it is…

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 Roast Pork with Dumplings

I wasn’t sure which entree to get, so I asked the server for suggestions. He suggested the Roast Pork with Dumplings. This was average. The roast pork wasn’t super moist and I found it a little dry. The sauce was really good though. The dumplings were good at first, but after a while, I found that they were really dry and I really had to dip them in the sauce to moisten them. Not sure if it’s because they’re gluten-free, hence that texture. It’s sort of like eating bread pudding, or those German bread dumplings. A little chewy, but I found these much more gritty.

To be honest, I found that most of the food on the menu was gluten-free anyways. Like if you order the roast pork or duck or chicken, the meat is gluten-free. Only the sides have a chance of having gluten. So basically, I felt like I was just eating typical food and nothing too special. On a side note, I visited their website, and it says that they have closed due to some health concerns. Not sure what happened, but it sounds like they’re permanently closed.