Lee’s Donuts

Continuing on my review of the shops that I’ve visited during my recent trip to Granville Island, I had the chance to check out Lee’s Donuts. They are a small but popular donut shop located in the Granville Island Public Market. They offer a pretty wide range of flavours, and all of their donuts are made fresh daily. Unfortunately, I visited them a bit early – about an hour or so after they had opened – and they didn’t have all their varieties available (sadly, I wasn’t able to get one of their giant fritters :(). I ended up getting their Chocolate Crunch, Strawberry Iced, and Honey Dew donuts.

Chocolate Crunch ($2.25):


3.5/5
This appears to be cake donut that has been dusted in small pieces of chocolate candy. The donut had a soft, dense, cakey texture. It was not overly sweet, and had a bit of crunch from the bits of chocolate on top. The chocolate did not provide much in terms of flavour however, and I did find the donut to be just a bit too plain overall.

Strawberry Iced ($2.25):


4/5
This was a cake donut that’s frosted with strawberry-flavoured icing. The texture of the donut was similar too that of the chocolate crunch, although I did find it to be a bit lighter/more moist. I quite enjoyed the strawberry icing, which while bright pink in colour, did not taste overly artificial.

Honey Dew ($2.25):


3.5/5
This was a yeast-style glazed donut. I really enjoyed the texture of the donut, which was fluffier and lighter than that of the cake donuts. While I did quite like the icing, I personally couldn’t tell the difference between it and a regular glazed donut.

I quite enjoyed the donuts at Lee’s. Their prices are a bit on the higher side, but cheaper than Cartems (and I personally think that they taste better too). All in all, while I do think this place is a bit overrated, I still quite enjoyed their donuts, and I would recommend stopping by if you’re on Granville Island. Just try going around noon, when they have all their donut made.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Strawberry Iced Donut, Honey Dew Donut
Lee's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kaisereck Deli

I’ve recently visited the public market at Granville Island again. In addition to Lee’s Donuts and Laurelle’s Fine Foods (reviews on those coming up soon), I also decided to check out Kaisereck Deli. They serve Eastern Europen food, and has a menu consisting of perogies, sausages, and sandwiches. I had their perogy plate, which comes with your choice of perogy and sausage.

Perogy Plate ($12.50):

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Perogy Plate

3.5/5
This comes with your choice of perogy and sausage, and is served with fried onions, saukraut, and sour cream. I had their potato & cheese perogy and bratwurst. I found the bratwurst to be a bit underseasoned: it didn’t have the peppery spicey flavour that I liked, and it was also not as juicy as some of the better ones that I’ve tried. I did quite enjoy the perogies, which came with a good amount of savoury potato filling. I did find that some of their dumplings are broken or stuck together; they were still tasty though. The condiments were a nice touch; I particularly enjoyed the fried onions, which were nicely caramelized and sweet.

I quite enjoyed the food at Kaisereck Deli. The price was also fairly reasonable for the portion. This is a place worth checking out if you’re in the area and looking for a quick bite.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Perogies
Kaisereck Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Patty Shop

I’ve never had a patty or roti before; that changed recently after my visit to The Patty Shop. They are a small take-out place that serves several varieties of Jamaican patties, as well as rotis. You can buy patties either freshly made or frozen, which come by a dozen. I had their Pizza, Hot Beef and Curry Beef patty and a Chicken Roti.

Pizza Patty ($2.44):

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Pizza Patty

3.5/5
This is served hot on Wednesdays; you can get their frozen version on regular days. The outer layer is very light and flaky. The interior is filled with tomato sauce and what appears to be pieces of ham/pepperoni. Although I was initially worried about the patty being a bit too thin and not having enough filling, the ratio was actually quite perfect for the crust.

Hot Beef Patty ($2.34):

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Hot Beef Patty

3.5/5
This was similar to the pizza patty, but was filled with ground beef. The beef was very savoury and juicy. I personally didn’t find it to be very spicy: it just had enough heat to provide a slight kick.

Curry Beef Patty ($2.34):

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Curry Beef Patty

4/5
This was similar to the aforementioned patties, except that it was filled with curried yellow beef. The curry was very fragrant and savoury, with just a slight bit of heat. This was easily my favourite of the varieties that I’ve tried.

Chicken Roti ($9.50):


4/5
This consisted of curried chicken and potato wrapped in a roti. The roti is soft and tender, with a slightly chewy texture. The curry was similar to that of the filling in the beef patty. I was quite impressed by their chicken: they actually have some very large chunks of meat inside, which was also very tender, well-seasoned and flavourful.

I’m glad to have finally tried some Jamaican fare; the patties and rotis from The Patty Shop were quite tasty. My one wish is that they could place a few chairs or a bench outside their shop; currently there is nowhere to sit so you’d have to take your food to go (I ended up eating everything standing up). All in all, I really enjoyed the food here; this is a place that’s definitely worth visiting. Be warned; they are cash only, so make sure that you have some money on you.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Curry Beef Patty, Chicken Roti
The Patty Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Marcello Ristorante & Pizzeria

My latest new obsession is gnocchi. Ever since having tried it at Basil Pasta Bar, I’ve seriously developed a love for this dish and will order it whenever its available on a menu. Thus, after seeing pictures of the Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi from Marcello Pizzeria, a dish consisting of the aforementioned pasta baked in a four-cheese sauce, I knew that I had to check the place out. The restaurant is one of a number of casual Italian joints located on The Drive. They have a nice space inside, including an open kitchen where you can see their chefs making Neopolitan-style pizza. Since the latter appears to be their specialty (not to mention that I love pizza), I decided to also get a Medium Ai Due Formaggi Pizza in addition to the aforementioned Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi.

Medium Ai Due Formaggi Pizza ($14.95):


3.5/5
This contained tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, salame, baking cheese, and mushrooms. The texture of the crust was quite good, and was very crispy. There was a good amount of toppings at the centre, which were very flavourful. I particularly enjoyed the large blobs of cheese, which although messy to eat, was very rich and flavourful. The edges were less enjoyable however: I found the crust to be completely bland, as if they did not use any salt or other seasoning.

Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi ($16.95):


4/5
This contains gnocchi that is baked in a four-cheese sauce. The cheese sauce was very rich and creamy, and had a wonderful pungent flavour (I think they probably had gorgonzola as one of the cheeses). The gnocchi itself had a nice tender texture, and is well-seasoned and tasty on its own. The dish is served piping hot, so be a bit careful when eating: I actually burned my mouth a bit during my first few bites.

I visited Marcello Pizza for their gnocchi, and I was not disappointed. Their pizza is also fairly good, although I did struggle a bit with their strangely bland crust. The service could be improved however; while the staff were quite welcoming, they were a bit disorganized. I noticed them getting confused/mixed up by orders, and I did have to wait for almost 30 minutes to get my pizza. All in all, this isn’t a bad restaurant, but not one that I’d necessarily return to either.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Gnocchi Ai Quattro Formaggi
Marcello Pizzeria & Restaurants Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Banter Room

I know that it’s rude and probably a little creepy to eavesdrop on people, but sometimes I just cannot help myself. Recently, during a visit to the Banter Room, I found myself sitting next to two British blokes gentleman. In spite of my best efforts, I couldn’t help but listen in on them, and not just because they sounded just like Colin Firth, but also because they were asking the waitress for recommendations on the sandwiches. After hearing her response, I went with the Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup (even though neither of my neighbours got that dish). I also got their Mac & Cheese Skillet with Shortribs.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup ($13):


4/5
I loved the sandwich: the bread was perfectly toasted and very buttery, with a nice crispy exterior and a soft interior. It was stuffed full of cheese, which was rich and creamy without being too strong or sharp. It was very rich and I think that some people might actually find it to be a bit too heavy; I however, really enjoyed it. I’m not a big fan of tomato soup, and I found this version to be just fine. It was smooth and thick enough, and had a nice tangy flavour. I do wish that they could have had a wider serving bowl to make it easier to dunk the sandwich in.

Mac & Cheese Skillet ($15 + $6):


3.5/5
You can have this with pulled chicken (for $4) or shortribs ($6); I added the latter. The noodles were perfectly cooked, and were tender while still retaining a good chewy texture. I personally found the cheese sauce to be a bit on the thin side however, and did not coat the noodles well. The dish was also a bit on the bland side. The shortribs were very tender and juicy, but also a bit underseasoned. I also found the price to be a bit high since the portion was not very big.

My visit to the Banter Room has been both and bad. While I did very much enjoy Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup, I did find their Mac & Cheese to be a bit too pricey. The service could also be improved: while everything was quite efficient, I did find the staff to be a bit cold and not very welcoming. All in all, this isn’t a place that I’d want to return to, but it’s not a bad joint either.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Banter Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Camellia Tea & Coffee

I’m a pretty impatient person. I get pretty bad cases of “bus rage” whenever I take public transit (which is literally everyday) and the bus is late and/or too full. My most recent instance occurred during my attempt to visit Camellia Tea & Coffee, a cafe/bakery located in Burnaby, not too far from Metrotown. To get there, I had to take the skytrain from Metrotown to the next stop, Royal Oak. Unfortunately, being the unlucky person that I am, I happened to go on the morning that the trains were apparently experiencing technical difficulties and were apparently running one lane, meaning that I had to wait about 20 minutes for a train to finally arrive. F***.

Fortunately, I did eventually manage to reach my destination, where I was greeted by a small display case of pretty-looking cakes and other desserts. I decided to get a selection of their cakes (London Fog Cheesecake, Berry Forest, Caramelized Almond Chocolate, Hazelnut Chocolate, Strawberry & Cranberry, and Black Sesame), as well as an Almond Croissant.

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Worth the wait

London Fog Cheesecake ($5.95):


4.5/5
This was served with a small side of cream and berry sauce. I loved the cake: the filling was smooth and creamy, with a wonderful tangy flavour as well as a great fragrance of Earl grey. It was the lighter, fluffier variety as opposed to the dense New York style. The berry sauce was a bit watery for my liking, but had a nice sweet and tangy flavour, while the cream was fresh and had a nice, mild sweetness.

Almond Croissant ($3.65):

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Almond Croissant

4/5
The croissant was tender, buttery, and quite flaky. The dough itself had a nice, slightly salty flavour while the almond paste inside was sweet and fragrant. It was not double-baked, and was hence, not as crispy, but still tasty.

Berry Forest Cake ($6.75):


4/5
This consisted of two thin layers of cake sandwiching custard and topped with berries. The cake itself is tender and moist, while the custard was light and mildly sweet. The berries had a nice tangy flavour and fragrance.

Caramelized Almond Chocolate Cake ($5.95):


3.5/5
This contained layers of chocolate cake sandwiching almond flavoured buttercream. The cake was quite tender and moist, with a nice bittersweet flavour. The buttercream was filled with nuts, and as very fragrant, but was a bit greasy. The candied nuts were fantastic however, and was crunchy with a fantastic fragrance.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake ($6.25):


3.5/5
This consisted of layers of cake sandwiching hazelnut and chocolate flavoured frosting. The cake was very tender and moist, while the frosting had a nice fragrance of hazelnut as well as pieces of the nut mixed in. It was not overly artificial either, as can sometimes happen with hazelnut flavoured desserts. I did find the flavour to be just a bit one-note however; I personally could have done with a bit more chocolate to compliment the hazelnut.

Strawberry & Cranberry Cake ($4.95):


3.5/5
The cake itself was quite dense, but moist. The icing was a tad greasy, but had a nice fragrance of strawberries and a slight tanginess.

Black Sesame Cake ($5.50):


4/5
This consisted of layers of black sesame cake and icing. The cake was tender and moist, and had a great fragrance of sesame. It was not very sweet, but had a nice, nutty flavour from the sesame. This is a great dessert for someone wanting something a bit lighter.

In spite of the difficulties that I had reaching my destination, I have to say that the food at Camellia Tea & Coffee was worth the approximately 30 minute wait for the skytrain. Their prices are also fairly reasonable. This is a place that I’d definitely recommend checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Croissant, Most of the cakes
Camellia Tea & Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hawker’s Delight

Being both broke and having a large appetite, I’m always on the lookout for cheap eats. I’ve been hearing some good things about a shop, known as Hawker’s Delight, that specializes in Malaysian food at very affordable prices. I’ve recently had a chance to check them out. They are a small casual eatery with a limited number of seating; you order at the front counter and they bring you your food once it’s ready. During my visit, I had their Roti Prata, Chicken Curry Noodle, and Fried Kuey Teow.

Roti Prata ($2.75):

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Roti Prata

5/5
This is served with a small side of curry for dipping. The bread itself was seriously just fantastic: warm, soft and flaky. The curry also had a great fragrance of coconut as well as a slightly sweet flavour that paired great with the bread.

Chicken Curry Noodle ($9.05):


4/5
This contained noodles in a curry broth with potatoes and chicken. The chicken itself wasn’t really curried however, but was rather like Hainese chicken that was added to the noodles. It was tasty however, and was tender, juicy and well-seasoned. The noodles had a nice bouncy texture and the broth was very flavourful with just a slight bit of heat. It was quite a good portion for $9.05, and filling.

Fried Kuey Teow ($9.05):


4/5
This consisted of broad rice noodles stir fried with egg, bean sprout, prawns, fish cake, shredded chicken and green vegetable. You can have it spicy or non-spicy; I had the spicy version and found it to have just a slight kick without being overly hot. I really enjoyed the texture of the noodles, which were chewy and bouncy. There were only a few prawns, but a good amount of fish cakes. The portion size was not enormous, but more than generous for just $9.05.

I’m thoroughly impressed by Hawker’s Delight. All of their food was very tasty, and their prices are very reasonable, especially given their quality and reasonably generous portions. Definitely check this place out if you’re looking for some affordable food, or just tasty food in general.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4.5/5
Recommendations: Roti Prata, Chicken Curry Noodle, Fried Kuey Teow
Hawker's Delight Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Templeton

Ever since having had the pulled pork pancakes from the Red Wagon Cafe, I’ve been looking for more places where I can get that version of the dish. Not too long ago, I’ve had a similar dish from Lucy’s Eastside Diner, and quite enjoyed that. After learning that The Templeton now also has Pulled Pork Pancakes on their menu, I decided to check their version out. The latter is a small casual diner located on Granville, not far from Davie. Their menu consists of classic casual comfort food. In addition to the aforementioned Pulled Pork Pancakes, I also got their Mangled Eggs and a side of French Toast.

Pulled Pork Pancakes ($13.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of pancakes layered with pulled pork. The pancakes themselves were a bit tough, but still tasty and had a nice chew. They were a bit bland on their own, but tasted nice with the pulled pork, which was very tender and juicy, and flavourful with a nice bit of sweetness that I quite enjoyed. While I do prefer the versions from Lucy’s Eastside Diner and Red Wagon, this is still a pretty good renditions.

Mangled Eggs ($10.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of a croissant that’s filled with scrambled eggs, brie, and a choice of either bacon or veggie bacon (I had the bacon), and was served with a side of rosemary potatoes. The croissant was nice and buttery, and had a great amount of filling. I really enjoyed the brie, which were rich, creamy, and flavourful. While the eggs were fluffy, I did find them to be a bit too bland, even with the bacon. The rosemary potatoes were crispy with a nice fragrance, but also a bit bland and underseasoned.

Side French Toast ($3.50):

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French Toast

3/5
The bread was toasted well, but not really fluffy, which is what I prefer. It was also a bit bland on its own. This was not bad, but not memorable either.

Although I was not blown away by the food at The Templeton, I still quite enjoyed my visit. Moreover, the staff was friendly (seriously thanks for not judging me for ordering so much food) and the prices and portions are fairly reasonable. This is a place that’s definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pulled Pork Pancakes, Mangled Eggs
The Templeton Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Congee Noodle House

I’m very antisocial. I don’t like dining with other people, especially strangers. Thus, I did feel a bit uncomfortable during my recent visit to Congee Noodle House. They are a casual Chinese restaurant located on Broadway near Main Street with a very large menu consisting of congee, noodles, rice and Chinese barbecue. Since I was a single diner, I had to share a table with several other diners. It was understandable, since most of their tables are quite large and suited for groups of table. However, they were quite slow in cleaning the tables, and I found myself sitting with a pile of dirty dishes right next to me, which is not the worst offense but is a bit distracting…Anyways, I had their Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on Steamed Rice (which I upgraded to Fried Rice for an extra $2.5) and their B.B.Q. Duck with Noodle.

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Dirty dishes right beside me

Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on Steamed Rice ($12.50 + $2.50 for fried rice):


4/5
The pork was very good: it was tender, meaty and quite crispy wihtout an overly thick batter. The sauce was thick, and had a good balance between sweet and tangy. I got the dish with fried rice for an extra $2.50, and although the rice was quite tasty and had a nice savoury flavour, I actually don’t think that you need to have it as the sauce was very flavourful and probably would be better paired with plain rice. Although a bit on the pricier side, the portion that they provide is fairly generous, and given the quality, I do think it’s worth the cost.

B.B.Q. Duck with Noodle ($10):


4/5
They have two versions, either the the noodles in soup or with the soup on the side – I had mine with the soup on the side. The noodles had a very nice bouncy texture. There is a pretty good amount of bbq duck. The duck itself was quite flavourful, although I found it to be a bit too boney. The side of broth had a good savory flavour, and went well with the noodles.

To start with the positives, I really enjoyed the food at Congee Noodle House, and the prices were quite reasonable given the quality and portions. Unfortuantely, the service was pretty poor and really soured my experience. In addition to the dirty dishes, the staff were were very inattentive and never checked once on our table other than to bring the food. One of the other diners that I was sharing the table with asked for her bill and I swear she waited probably 15 minutes before the server finally arrived with her bill. I seriously felt sorry for her. All in all, while I really did like the food, the lackluster service prevents me from whole-heartedly recommending this place.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 1.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pineapple Sweet & Sour Pork on Steamed Rice, Soup/Mixed Noodles
Congee Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Breka Bakery & Cafe – 4th Avenue

Probably my favourite chain bakery/cafe in Vancouver is Breka Bakery. They have a very good selection of tasty cakes, cookies, donuts, and other pastries, as well as breads, sandwiches and savoury items. They have several locations in Vancouver, with the closest one to my house being the one on Fraser. More recently, I’ve visited their Kits location, which is on 4th Avenue near Alma. Having only tried their cakes before, I decided to sample a few of their savoury items, including a Chicken Pot Pie and a Green Onion Cheddar Scone. Of course, I couldn’t resist their cakes: I got a White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, a Pistachio Ganache, and a German Chocolate Cake.

Chicken Pot Pie ($6.75):


4/5
This contained chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas and corn topped with puff pastry. They heat the pie up for you, and I received mine piping hot. I found the pastry to be a bit soggy, but still tasty. The chicken stew was delicious however: thick, creamy with a great savoury flavour. I did find there to be a bit too little chicken however.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake ($4.75):


4/5
The cheesecake was thick and creamy, and had a great flavour from the white chocolate as well as a fragrance from the raspberry. The crust on the bottom was actually on the crispier side, and had a nice toasted flavour. I would have liked the raspberry to be a bit more tart to help balance the sweetness from the chocolate. While I did not have any issues with the cake itself, I did find the whipped cream topping to have a slight freezer-burned flavour. This is still a very tasty cheesecake however.

Green Onion Cheddar Scone ($3.25):

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Green Onion Cheddar Scone

3.5/5
The scone had a nice savoury flavour and a great fragrance from the onions. It was a bit crumbly for my liking, and not as moist as the scone that I had from Beyond Bread, but still quite soft and tender.

Pistachio Ganache ($4.75):


3.5/5
This consisted of chocolate cake and chocolate pistachio mousse, and is topped with ganache. The layers of cake were very tender and moist while the mousse was luscious, with the pistachio having a nice and not overly artificial fragrance. The ganache was quite sweet, and not waxy. Unfortunately, the cake did have a slightly off, freezer-burned flavour that was a bit distracting.

German Chocolate Cake ($4.75):


4.5/5
This consisted of chocolate cake layered with pecans and coconut, and covered in ganache. The cake was a bit more dense here, but still quite soft. The coconut and pecans provided a great fragrance as well as texture, while the ganache was once again sweet without being waxy. This is definitely one of their better cakes.

I’m quite impressed by the food at Breka Bakery: both their savoury and their sweet options proved to be tasty. Their prices are also fairly reasonable. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Chicken Pot Pie, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, German Chocolate Cake
Breka Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato