The Internet has been very useful for helping me find hidden gems around Vancovuer. I would have never known of the existence of Herbs & Spices Cafe had it not been for the existence of the Internet. They are a relatively new restaurant that’s opened in the basement of Park Place serving scratch-made Filipino/Western style food. Having never had Filipino food before, I decided to check them out for lunch today. I had their Orient Express, which according to the description on the menu, consisted of two eggs, your choice of meat, garlic fried rice and fruit. The food did take a while to come out (I waited about 25 minutes), and I suspect that they might have forgotten my order as they don’t appear to have a ticket system.
Orient Express ($9.99):
This came with two eggs and a choice of meat; I went with tocino. Now, the description in the menu states that it’s supposed to be served with garlic fried rice and fruits, but I didn’t receive any fruits and plain steamed rice. Now I didn’t really mind not having fruit, but I was admittedly a bit disappointed about not getting garlic fried rice (which sounds delicious). I don’t know if it’s because they made a mistake, or if they’ve changed the dish but had not the chance yet to update the description. In spite of this, the food was still tasty. I had requested for my eggs to be cooked with a firmer yolk, and they came out perfectly, and were actually well-seasoned and not at all rubbery. The tocino (which I think is best described as a Filipino-style bacon), however, was the definite highlight of the meal. The meat (which I think is pork belly) was very tender, juicy and incredibly flavourful. It was glazed with a sweet sauce that’s similar to that of Chinese Char Sui, except the flavour’s more intense here and the meat’s got a wonderful char to it. I can seriously eat a pound of this.
So my visit to Herbs & Spices was not without its flaws. In spite of these shortcomings however, I do feel obliged to overlook the problems in their service seeing that the restaurant is still quite new and probably need to still work some things out. Moreover, the staff were incredibly friendly and hospitable, and possibly the NICEST people that I’ve ever encountered at a restaurant. They apologized for the long wait, gave complimentary pieces of chocolate to everyone, and even offered me extra rice free of charge. I strongly recommend checking this place out if you happen in the area. Please support this place!