New Town Bakery & Restaurant

New Town Bakery & Restaurant seriously has an adorable store front. Unfortunately, the day that I visited it was raining somewhat heavily, so I wasn’t able to take a picture, but for those of you who don’t know, they’ve got a cartoon of a basket of steamed buns. In addition to steamed buns, they serve a good variety of Chinese baked goods, along with various Asian dim sum and other dishes from their restaurant section. I haven’t tried their restaurant however, I just stuck to their steamed buns and baked goods. I had their Pork Turnover, Baked BBQ Pork Bun, and Pork, Spicy Pork, Chicken Deluxe, and Chinese Sausage Steamed Buns.

Pork Turnover ($1.75):


4/5
This was glutinous rice that was filed with ground pork and has been deep fried. The exterior was nice and crispy. The glutinous rice had a soft, chewy texture and was slightly sweet while the ground pork had a nice savoury flavour. I do wish that there was a bit more of the filling however.

Baked BBQ Pork Bun ($2.25):


4/5
The bun was soft and fluffy; the meat was tender and juicy, and had a mildly sweet flavour. This was a very good amount of filling: I got meat in almost every bite. This may be a bit more expensive than other places, but it’s worth it for the quality.

Pork Steamed Bun ($2.50):


4/5
The bun itself had a great fluffy and chewy texture. The pork filling was very tender and juicy. I could have done with a tad more filling inside, but it was still sufficient.

Spicy Pork Steamed Bun ($2.75):


4/5
This was filled with what is essentially BBQ pork. The pork was very tender and juicy, and has a wonderful sweet flavour. There was also a pretty generous amount of filling.

Chinese Sausage Roll ($2.25):


4/5
This was basically an elongated steamed bun that’s filled with a Chinese sausage. The bun again was very fluffy, soft, and chewy; the sausage was what you’d get at Asian supermarkets, and is very tender, juicy, and flavourful. I would have liked there to be a slightly higher meat to bun ratio.

Chicken Deluxe Steamed Bun ($3.30):


4/5
Again, the bun was light, fluffy and slightly chewy. This was completely filled with all sorts of meats, including chicken, pork, and salted egg yolk. All of the meats were tender and juicy and flavourful; I particularly enjoyed the egg yolk, which had a great saltiness and oily flavour.

Although I haven’t tried any of the food from the restaurant part of this shop, I really enjoyed all of the steamed buns and baked goods that I’ve tried. Their prices are a bit higher than typical Asian places, but considering the quality of their food, I think it’s more than worth the cost. This is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Steamed Buns, Pork Turnover, Baked BBQ Pork Bun

New Town Bakery & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Deacon’s Corner – Gastown

I love French toast, I love fried chicken, I love pulled pork. Thus, when I heard about the Big Mounties, which consists of three pieces of French toast layered with fried chicken and pulled pork, along with swiss cheese and two eggs for good measure, I just HAD to try it. The dish can be found at Deacon’s Corner, a casual diner specializing in American comfort food. They have two locations, one in Kits and one in Gastown. I’ve visited their Kits location several months ago and decided to check out their Gastown location. In addition to the Big Mounties, I also had their Souther Belly Biscuit.

Big Mounties ($15.50):


4/5
This consisted of three slices of French toast sandwiching a layer of pulled pork and a piece of fried chicken, and was topped with two eggs. I LOVED the French toast: they were soft and fluffy with a wonderful sweet fragrance of cinnamon. The fried chicken was not the greatest: even though it was reasonably juicy for white meat and well-seasoned, the breading was quite soggy. I did really enjoy their pulled pork however, which was very tender and juicy, and had a nice sweetness, which I like in my pulled pork. Personally, I’d go with their Pulled Pork Monte Cristo, which is a similar dish but missing the top layer of fried chicken.

Southern Belly Biscuit ($13.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of bacon, an egg, cheddar cheese, biscuits, and two sausage patties, all topped with gravy and slices of jalapeno peppers, and came with a side of hashbrowns. I found the biscuits themselves to be a bit too soft and soggy, without any discernable flavour; I actually preferred the ones from Jethros a bit more. The gravy was not overly thick/gummy, but was also a bit bland for my taste. The meat was tasty however: the bacon was quite crispy and the sausage patties were tender, juicy, and had a nice spicy flavour. The jalapenos also helped lend more flavour to the dish. I also really enjoyed their hashbrowns, which were shredded and very crispy on the outside and was also quite well-seasoned.

I quite enjoyed the dishes that I had at Deacon’s Corner. While neither are perfect, I absolutely loved their French toast and I quite enjoyed their pulled pork. The food is also very filling and the prices are reasonable. The staff is not the most attentive, but are quite friendly. All in all, this is a place that I’d highly recommend checking out for some tasty, hearty comfort food.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Pulled Pork Monte Cristo, French toast

Deacon's Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crave India

I don’t eat wraps enough. I really should. Not because they are ‘healthy’ – the reason why I didn’t eat wraps was because I thought that they’d be too healthy and boring – but because, as I learned from a recent trip to Crave India, they can be awesome. The latter is a small shop located on Granville Street serving up a small menu of popular Indian dishes. Even though they have a few seats, most of the people get takeout from here. During my visit, I had a Veggie Samosa, Butter Chicken on Rice Bowl, and Chicken Naan Wrap.

Veggie Samosa ($1.75):


3.5/5
The samosas aren’t made on order, and the one that I received was wram, but not hot. However, it was still quite tasty, and contained a nice amount of spiced potatoes. The surrounding pastry was also crisp and had a nice flakiness that I quite enjoyed.

Curry on Rice Bowl (Butter Chicken, $8):


4/5
The curry contained several large pieces of butter chicken. They appear to use at least some dark meat, which was naturally more tender and juicy. The sauce was thick, creamy and quite flavourful, with just enough heat to make me sweat a bit. The basmati rice was also well-cooked and maintained a nice bit of chew even after being covered by the sauce. The portion size was not very big – more of a snack than a meal – but since it’s $8, I can’t really complain.

Chicken Naan Wrap ($8):


5/5
The wrap was filled with masala chicken, lettuce and some other vegetables. I freaking LOVED this. The naan was warm and fresh and was filled with tender pieces of chicken that were coated in a delicious curry sauce. The lettuce and other vegetables were fresh and crisp. The wrap did get a little soggy from all the sauce, but was still delicious. It was also a pretty generous size, and well worth the $8.

I really enjoyed the food at Crave India, in particular their naan wrap, which has really made me rethink my current view on wraps. The prices are also more than reasonable. All in all, this is a place that I’d highly recommend checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Curry on Rice Bowl, Chicken Naan Wrap
Crave India Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fable Diner

Fable is quite a well known and liked restaurant in Kits. I have been pretty reluctant to try it out however: usually when places are highly hyped, I end up getting disappointed. And the menu doesn’t look all that exciting to be honest. However, they apparently have another location called Fable Diner located on Broadway, near Main. The latter is a sort of upscale diner serving up a menu of traditional diner food with a more modern twist. During my visit there, I got their Baked Mac and Cheese, which I added Bacon to for an additional $5. I initially wanted their Nutella French Toast, but unfortunately some a-hole customer in front of me ordered the last slice. I ended up going with their Roasted Duck Pancake, which I added an egg to for $2.

dav
Roasted Duck Pancake and Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac and Cheese + Bacon ($13 + $5):


4/5
This came topped with breadcrumbs, green onions, and goat cheese. The noodles were perfectly cooked for me, being sufficiently tender but still maintaining some chew. I loved the sauce, which was rich and thick, and coated the noodles well. The goat cheese also lent a nice saltiness. I also really liked their version of bacon, which wasn’t really bacon per se, but rather chunks of tender pork belly. I did find it to be a bit underseasoned, however. The portion was pretty small; more like a side to me than a main.

Roasted Duck Pancake + Egg ($15 + $2):


4/5
This consisted was topped with pulled duck, kimchi, onion, sesame and kewpie mayo. I loved the pancake itself, which was really soft and fluffy, and was of a fair size. The flavours of the toppings were just fantastic, and a perfect blend of savoury and sweet. I did find the portion of duck to be a bit stingy however. I added a poached egg for an addition $2, but to be honest, I’m really not sure if it really added all that much. While I certainly did enjoy the dish, I don’t think it’s better than the pancakes from Red Wagon, which is cheaper and comes at a much heartier portion.

The food at Fable was pretty good. I did find their portions to be rather small, especially for the prices that they were charging. The service was also uneven: the servers were very friendly at first, but towards the end of the meal, they seemed to forget my existence and it took me 15 minutes to finally flag one down and get the bill. All in all, while I did like the food in this place, the prices and uneven service prevents me from giving this place a full-hearted recommendation.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Roasted Duck Pancake, Baked Mac and Cheese
Fable Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honey Salt

A picture’s worth a thousand words and a big, gorgeous slice of cake is worth a long bus ride to a restaurant. Thus, after seeing photographs of the magnificient Society Chocolate & Banana Cake from Honey Salt, I knew that I just HAD to head down to that restaurant to get myself a slice.

dav
Can you hear the angel choir singing?

The latter is a fancy restaurant that’s located on the first floor of the Parq hotel beside BC place. In addition to the aforementioned cake, I also got the Grandma Rosie’s Meatballs and a side of Mac N’Cheese.

Grandma Rosie’s Meatballs ($13):


2/5
This came in a plate of 5 small meatballs with tomato sauce, caramelized onions, and a good dollop of ricotta cheese. Unfortunately, I found this dish to be somewhat of a disappointment. The meatballs were quite bland and were somewhat dry, while the tomato sauce was thin and one-note in flavour. I did enjoy the cheese however, which provided a nice richness, and the caramelized onions, which were sweet and fragrant.

Mac N’Cheese ($7):


3.5/5
The noodles in the dish were perfectly cooked, being a bit chewy while still tender. The sauce was quite rich and creamy, and the bread crumbs lent a nice bit of texture. I did find the dish to be just a little too bland however.

Society Chocolate & Banana Cake ($12):


4.5/5
This consisted of alternating layers of chocolate and banana cake, sandwiching chocolate mousse and covered in chocolate glaze, and was served with a small scoop of banana ice cream. Surprisingly, my favourite component of the dish was probably the ice cream, which had a wonderful fragrance of banana and was topped with crunchy pieces of cereal and chocolate sauce. The cake itself was very moist, with wonderful flavours of chocolate and banana, and the mousse was luscious and light. Even though it is quite a generous serving, it was light and not overly sweet, and I ended up polishing about 2/3 of it without too much trouble.

I went to Honey Salt specifically to try their cake, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. Service was very good: the staff were quite friendly, professional and attentive. All in all, while I was a tad disappointed with some of the savoury dishes, I would still recommend checking this place out for their desserts alone.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Society Chocolate & Banana Cake
Honey Salt Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nice Cafe

Just a quick note: unfortunately, I will be scaling back on my postings. I’ve gotten quite fat busy, and all the eating out has been taking a toll on my productivity at work (not to mention my wallet, seeing that I am living on a graduate student’s salary). Of course, I’m not going to stop my posts altogether – I will definitely continue on getting my obligatory pastries during the weekends, but I will be eating out less during the weekdays.

And with that, here’s one of my final weekday reviews for Nice Cafe. The latter is a small, casual restaurant located near Broadway and Main specializing in breakfast/brunch and lunch items. During my visit there, I had their Meat Lover’s Omelette and Monte Cristo.

Meat Lover’s Omelette ($9.95):


3/5
The omelette contained bacon, sausage, ham, and cheese, and came with a choice of either toast or hashbrowns; I picked the hashbrowns. The omelette is a pretty good portion with a fairly good amount of filling: my favourite was the breakfast sausage, which had a nice bit of spice. I did find it to be bland however, as the eggs don’t appear to be seasoned. There was a fairly generous amount of hashbrowns. Unfortunately, I found the hashbrowns to be a bit disappointing: it was not crispy and also quite bland.

Monte Cristo with Chicken, Ham, Cheese on French Toast Style Bread ($9.25):


3.5/5
This came with your choice of side; I got their potato salad. I must admit, I was quite disappointed when the dish arrived as the portion was quite small. However, since it was only $9.25, I guess it wouldn’t have been fair to expect a large amount of food. The sandwich itself was quite tasty: the bread was soft, fluffy and well-toasted and although there wasn’t an overly large amount of filling present, it was still very tasty. I quite enjoyed the potato salad, which was flavourful and creamy: I just wish that they could have given a larger serving.

I had a decent time at Nice Cafe. While I did find the food to be a bit underwhelming, it was still decent and the prices are very reasonable. Service-wise, the kitchen seems to be a bit slow: I had to wait probably over 20 minutes for my food. However, the lady working at the front was very friendly and attentive. All in all, while this place did not blow me away, I still quite enjoyed my experience there, and I do think it’s worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: N/A

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

Gold Train Express II

Not too long ago I visited a Vietnamese restaurant called Pure Delight Cafe located on Broadway. Apparently, the restaurant had undergone renovations, including a name change from Gold Train Express II. However, I have since discovered that there is actually a restaurant called Gold Train Express II that’s apparently located on 10th Avenue an Sasamut (and that also serves Vietnamese food). I guess that’s probably why the other restaurant ended up changing their name in order to avoid confusions.

Anyways, I did quite enjoy Vietnamese food, so I decided to pay a visit to Gold Train Express II this week. They have a pretty big menu of the usual Vietnamese noodle soups, rice dishes, vermicelli, and banh mi. I decide to get their Lemongrass Chicken & Pork with Fried Rice and an X-large Curry Beef with Vermicelli.

Lemongrass Chicken & Pork with Fried Rice ($11.50):


4/5
This consisted of a generous piece of grilled chicken and pork chop on top of fried rice (which you can get for an additional $1), and was served with some pickled vegetables. I loved the meat: the chicken was tender and flavourful and had a great fragrance of ginger while the pork was tender and juicy, and had a wonderful charred flavour and sweetness. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the fried rice nearly as much: I found it to be quite bland and nowhere near as good as the version that I had previously at Pure Delight Cafe.

X-Large Curry Beef with Vermicelli ($10.50):

dav
X-Large Curry Beef with Vermicelli


3.5/5
This consisted of a bowl of beef, potatoes and vermicelli in a curry-flavoured broth. The beef was very tender, although a bit bland. Although I would have like there to be a bit more meat, given the price, I think that the portion is fairly reasonable. The noodles had a pretty good, bouncy texture. The broth was mildly sweet and contained peanuts, with provided a good fragrance, although I would have liked the curry flavour to be a bit stronger.

I quite liked the food at Gold Train Express, in particular their Lemongrass Chicken & Pork. Their prices are also very reasonable. The service was a bit lackluster however: while the food comes reasonably quick, the server’s not particularly attentive and can be also a bit slow. All in all, while I do prefer Pure Delight Cafe, this is still a more than decent restaurant, and worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Lemongrass Chicken, Pork Chop
Gold Train Express II Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Basil Pasta Bar (Yew Street)

I’ve heard some mixed things about the portions from Basil Pasta Bar. There were some people who claim that their portions are relatively small, and that they are still hungry after a plate. Then there are others who swear that their portions are absolutely enormous, with one reviewer even stating that a single plate is “easily enough to feed two”. Now, I knew that the last statement is not true – there’s just absolutely no way that a single plate of food that’s not the size of a small table will be enough to make two meals – but I was curious to see if I could get full on one plate. Thus, when the opportunity arose, I made my way to their Kits location (they have another shop in Downtown, on Davie). They have a menu of “House Special Pastas”, as well as a Build Your Own option where you get to pick your own combinations of sauces, meat etc. I went with the latter option since it’s more fun. I ordered a plate of Fussili (with alfredo sauce, chorizo, broccoli, and parmesan) and Gnocchi (with pesto cream sauce, chicken, zucchini, and goat cheese). Now, I did notice the cashier struggle as she tried putting my order in through the computer, and when I received the receipt for my order, I saw that they charge me an additional $1.50 for extra meat/cheese/vegetable, even though I didn’t add that any of my dishes. I was, of course, way too cowardly to question them about the surcharge and decided to keep quiet. I mean hey, $25 is still a very good deal for two plates of pasta.

dav
Not sure what the extra $1.50 is for, but it’s still a good deal!

Create Your Own Pasta (Fussili, $11.40):


3.5/5
I had the pasta with alfredo sauce, chorizo, broccoli, and parmesan. The pasta was cooked to my liking, being tender without being mushy. There was a very generous amount of shave parmesan and chorizo present. I was a bit disappointed with the alfredo sauce however, as I found it to be a bit on the thinner side and under-seasoned, making the entire dish a bit bland.

Create Your Own Pasta (Gnocchi, $10.94):


4/5
I had gnocchi with pesto cream sauce, chicken, zucchini, and goat cheese. This was the first time that I’ve had gnocchi, so I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to taste like. I can say, however, that I quite enjoyed the dumplings here. They were soft, slightly chewy, and had a good savoury flavour on their own. The pesto cream sauce was considerably thicker here, forming a nice coating on the pasta, and had a nice fragrance of basil. Although it was also somewhat bland, since the gnocchi was already seasoned, that did not bother me too much here. Again, there was a good amount of goat cheese, which was creamy and tangy, providing a nice flavour to the dish. There was also a fairly good amount of chicken.

I must say, I was very impressed by Basil Pasta Bar. Although I did find their sauces to be a bit bland an underwhelming, I still quite enjoyed the pastas, and am very impressed by the very generous amount of meat and cheese they provide. The portions were quite generous. While they’re certainly NOT enough to feed two, a single plate is enough to satisfy a glutton like me, and since I ordered two plates, I had enough left over for lunch the next day. All in all, I was very impressed by Basil Pasta Bar, and I strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a tasty and affordable meal.

dav
Lunch for tomorrow

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Gnocchi
Basil Pasta Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Goldstone Bakery

I’ve got no idea what Portuguese chicken is. No, not the Nando’s Peri-peri version, but the “Chinese” version that’s often on menus of HK restaurants. And apparently my mom doesn’t either, so I guess it’s more unique to HK vs. Mainland China. Well, I’ve had the chance to finally try out the dish at this week, when I visited Goldstone Bakery. They are a restaurant in Chinatown with a large menu of Chinese and HK-style cuisine. Although quite spacious, the restaurant does get very busy, and I had to wait 5-10 minutes to be seated during lunch time. I decided to get their “special” versions of their Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti and Baked Portuguese Chicken with Rice, which are currently priced at $9.75 and comes with your choice of either coffee or tea.

Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti (Special Version, $9.75):

dav
Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti


4/5
This consisted of a generous piece of pork chop served over a bed of spaghetti and covered in tomato sauce. The pork chop was essentially like a schnitzel or Japanese katsu, and was pounded thin and breaded. It was very crispy and reasonably tender, although I would have liked there to be a bit more meat present. The spaghetti was cooked to my liking: tender without being too mushy. Although I’m not the biggest fan of tomato sauce, I did like theirs, which was not too watery and coated the noodles and pork chop pretty well.

Baked Portuguese Chicken with Rice (Special Version, $9.75):


3/5
The dish consisted of chicken and taro baked in a yellow sauce. I thought that it was going to be served with rice baked together with the chicken (similar to the pork chop); instead, the chicken came in a dish that’s separate from the rice. Now I’ve never had Portuguese chicken before; I thought that the yellow sauce was curry but it did not have any heat or spice, although it did have a nice fragrance of ginger (and I think there might be some coconut as well). There were several large pieces of bone-in chicken, which was extremely moist and tender, as well as a few large pieces of taro. Unfortunately, I did find the dish to be overall pretty bland and under-seasoned.

I certainly enjoyed my visit to Goldstone Bakery. While their food does certainly have room for improvement, it is still quite tasty. Portion-wise, their “special” versions are considerably smaller (probably 1/2 to 2/3 the size) compared to the regular versions, but still reasonably large: while I could have done with a bit more food, it’s probably more than enough to satisfy an average appetite. The service is what you’d expect from a lower-end Asian restaurant: the staff is reasonably friendly, but not the most attentive and the food can take a while to arrive. They are currently cash only, so be sure to have some on you if you wish to visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Price: 5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Baked Pork Chop Spaghetti
Gold Stone Bakery Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

I love instant ramen. By far my favourite is that Korean brand Nongshim both for their great spicy flavour and their thick, bouncy noodles. I used to stock up boxes of their ramen. I’ve easily consumed over a thousand bags of ramen in my life.

As much as I enjoy instant ramen however, I’ve actually never been to be Japanese ramen shop. It’s not that I’ve got anything against non-instant, artisanal, “authentic” (a word that I personally don’t believe in) ramen, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Wanting to change this, I decided to visit the Broadway location of Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (they have a 2nd location on Robson). I’ve had their Miso Cha-shu Ramen, which I upgraded to a large size for an additional $1.

Miso Cha-shu Ramen ($13.80 + $1 for Large):

dav
Large Miso Cha-shu Ramen


4/5
The bowl was filled with ramen noodles and broth that’s topped with cha-shu pork and vegetables (woodear mushrooms, green onions and bamboo shoots). The noodles had a great bouncy texture. I loved the broth, which was rich without being oily and very savoury, and had a nice fragrance from ground sesame. There were five generous pieces of pork, which although a bit chewy, was still reasonably tender and had a good ratio between lean meat and fat. While I did find the cha-shu to be a bit bland on its own, it tasted fine when eaten with the noodles and broth. Even though the bowl didn’t look particularly big, the rich broth and generous amount of noodles made it quite filling.

dav
I had to get all of that delicious broth

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ramen at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. Yes, you may shell out much more than the $1 you do for instant ramen, but the taste and quality does make up for it. The staff are quite friendly and attentive, and frequently call to each other in Japanese. The place does get busy however; being a single diner I was able to get a seat by the bar quite easily, but the tables do get full, so be prepared for a wait if you’re going in a group. All in all, I was quite impressed by this restaurant, and I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Ramen (duh!)
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato