Yaletown L’Antipasto

Note: Read to the end but there is a ‘surprise’ for you.

The first thing I noticed about this restaurant is how tiny is it. The restaurant is finally packed and we were seated at a table that is meant for four people (we are a party of six) on the very edge of the tent (which later got real cold).

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Olives were served when we were waiting for our guests to arrive. However I noticed other tables got bread but ours didn’t.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio – AAA Beef Tenderlonion, sliced thin, Alba white truffle oil, vegetables sott’ olio

The pleasant aroma of truffle oil keeps lingering while I enjoy other food on the table, I just kept smelling it and couldn’t get it off my mind during the whole entree course. 😛 The truffle oil successfully kept the beef tender, it added this extra zing to the beef which I cannot describe. It was so smooth the way the beef goes into your mouth, much smoother than olive oil (which most restaurants use).

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Insalata Celeste – Organic spring greens, Okanagan chevre goats cheese, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, balsamic vinegrette

There is really nothing unique about this salad, everything worked in perfect harmony though. Afterall this is a very classic salad to be served at almost any restaurants.

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Carpaccio di Tonno – Albacore tuna, salt cured with espresso, a traditional method from Sardinia, lemon extract olive oil, caper berries & cherry tomatoes

I know it says salt cured, but it is not salt they actually use – espresso. Yes they use espresso to cured the tuna, which gave it such interesting flavour!  I instantly fell in love! The espresso worked surprisingly well with the soft tuna. If you are to dine out here, please try this onne.

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Risotto alla Pescatora – Arborio rice served with a medley of shellfish; prawns, salt spring mussels, clams, calamari & scallops

This risotto was praised by almost all my girlfriends, they all loved it very much. It wasn’t a typical very salty risotto with more shellfish than rice. 

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Pappardelle Rosse – Thick ribbon shaped pasta in an old family recipe meat sauce of boneless short ribs, chicken breast & Italian sausages

This was my favourite entree. I loved the thick ribbon noodle with a nice sauce that is essentially just juices from the three types of meat in it.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREGnocchi Quattro Formaggi – Piedmonte style potato gnocchi with a creamy cheese sauce and a hint of Gorgonzola

This is one delightful gnocchi, which was so sad got cold so fast! (Also because we were seated at the side.) But I noticed none of the dishes were warmed so the food heat couldn’t stay.
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Tiramisu – this was overily sweet and very liquid. I felt as if I was eating ice cream.

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Lavender Creme Brulee – I couldn’t really taste the lavender and there is a thick coat of caramel (about 5mm) on top, also lack of smooth brulee texture.

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with forest fruit  coulis – was my favourite dessert with smooth and frangrant vanilla until my friend ate a piece of dish washing cloth… (see next photo)

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Exif_JPEG_PICTURENow really, this really shouldn’t be in there or I should say anywhere close to it. Or maybe this is left over from cleaning the mixing bowl…. But when I told our waiter he only offered to give an extra dessert for free. But really, a Yaletown restaurant should offer at least to waive the bill.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the dishes are amazing. But seeing that piece of non edible cloth in a dessert is very disturbing. The server was really friendly but the way this is dealt is simply unprofessional.

Yaletown L'Antipasto on Urbanspoon

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Schokolade

This year I am back for the Hot Chocolate Festival, last year I went but didn’t write reviews for the cafes I have visited. (Since I went to so many.) This year again I am trying my best to write reviews for all the cafes I am visiting this year. So stay tuned along with all my Dine Out Vancouver experience! Four busy weeks! 😉

To start off this year’s hot chocolate festival I visited this old place again – Schokolade. Last year I visited and tried out their “SNOW WHITE” – White chocolate and steamed milk, flavoured with peppermint and rose. They have the same menu as last year so you can still try this one out this year! I really liked the creamy smooth white chocolate, however there rose flavour is not strong enough (which I really wished it was!) But it was such a pretty drink to look at. 😉

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DARK AND SPICY” – Made from 70% dark chocolate, cayenne, a shot of espresso and steamed milk. This one is spicy, it’s the cayenne spice that leaves and stays at the your throat while you keep sipping through this chocolate. It seriously doesn’t go away right away. Just a tad bit of the espresso flavour.

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“EXTRA DARK”  – Made from 90% dark chocolate and steamed almond milk. This extra dark chocolate comes with a little bit of bitter from dark chocolate, rich but not sweet. But it is very filling along with chocolate pieces that they serve, I couldn’t finish it.

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“WINTER COMFORT”  – 100% pure hazelnut butter blended with your choice of milk or dark chocolate. This was the easily drinking hot chocolate that day, it was smooth and buttery as it goes down your throat. Comes with freshly made chocolate-dipped hazelnut biscotti.

They have combos such as four pieces of chocolate with your hot chocolate for $10 so three of us were able to try out twelve different chocolate:

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Sunny Orange White, Raspberry, Orange Mah Jong, Dark Passionfruit, Chilli

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREBrandy Truffle, Dark Pomergranate, Earl Grey Milk, Mango & Jalapena White, Chai Spice Dark

Their chocolates are generally really good, comes with a wide variety of interesting flavours. My favourite so far is pomergranate dark, earl grey milk and sunny orange white. Go try this one and you won’t regret it!

Schokolade Cafe on Urbanspoon

Merchant’s Oyster Bar

You probably wouldn’t think such restaurant at this location and this neighborhood. This little restaurant at the corner of E 1st and Commercial Drive, you can see from the outside how clean and simple the place is. Once you enter you will see lots of different type of harbor lamps and anchors, making you feel like you are by the pier. We were greeted right away and seated right away without reservation.

They have only set menus, oysters or a la carte. With the four of us, we ordered three sets to share. Their set menus comes in different combinations:

1.       Snack, 1st course, 2nd course       $29

2.       1st course, 2nd course, dessert    $31

3.       Full four courses                           $37

I have to warn those who likes to have big meals to stay away from this place. This place is great for a drink with some snacks such as oysters and small bites. Even though they are written as course on the menu, they are verily small portions. Also they are quite slow with the meals, okay maybe I am just being nice. They are slow. So if you are hungry and want food fast, do not come here or else you will be pretty fungry.

So we did one set menu 1 and two set menu 2. For snacks we ordered oysters (of course you eat oysters if the restaurant name is Merchant’s Oyster 😛 ) I know the menu combination seems to a little hard to digest but you will understand more when you get there.

Oysters are fresh, good fresh. So if you like oyster maybe this will be a new oyster joint for you. Their quality is Rodney’s and Chewies, minus the noise and at times annoying waiters.

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1st Course:

Roasted Heirloom Beets – Moroccan spiced yogurt, citrus glaze and herbs

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Delicious sweet sweet beets with different colours and herbs, almost looked like a salad… I guess it is sort of a salad. But you know I just can’t get over how sweet the beets are! I absolutely love beets that these ones are so tasty! Sweet and right texture, they were perfect. Seriously, perfect. *in heavn~~*

Beef Tartare – sriracha, pickled shallots

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Don’t let the colours scare you, it is not as spicy as it looks. It is loaded with tomatoes, or maybe they are not tomatoes I don’t know what they are because they taste like tomatoe. But it is not that spicy. This one is actually very yummy also, the light refreshing tomatoe allows the beef to shine. Literally… XD I have eaten some tomatoes cooked with beef but never raw for both, but now I know the secret! It’s so great!

Linguine Carbonara – bacon, yolk, Parsley

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I would give this pasta a meh, because it is not that great. The pasta itself is a little too al dente. Flavour is a little bit lacking. Maybe they are good with meat and seafood?

2nd Course:

Pemberton Flank Steak – pan seared with herb puree, roast root vegetables, onion soubise

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Very good flavour steak, although of course it is not the best cut but the flavour of this totally makes up for it. It is hard to describe, I just really enjoyed it, not too heavy and just right. (Hahah, I guess they are essentially the same meaning. 😛 )

Pork Belly – with Brussels sprouts, House Mustard

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Was surprised how nonfat they were able to make this. Usually most restaurant pick a pretty fat cut, but this one piece is a good balance of fat and meat.

Spinach Ravioli – For some really odd reason I can’t even recall anything about this dish. It must means it is not just a very average dish. Nothing stands out (good or bad).

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Dessert:

Chocolate Ganache with brown butter and rose gelato

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Of course, if you order chocolate ganache you are expecting rich chocolate flavour, but I just don’t know about that think puree at the bottom… I didn’t know what I was eating, it’s just not good. I guess they are not very good at dessert either. But the rose gelato is so good, full of rose aroma in every bite.

They are participating in the Dine Out Vancouver right now, so you can for sure go try it out. Maybe they are still quite young and learning new stuff and styles. Maybe next time I will return with a few friends to see if anything has changes.

Sorry for the bad quality photo, I left my camera at home. 😦

Merchant's Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Sushi by Yuji

I saw this new sushi place that popped by on Kingsway and Nanaimo, oh new sushi place! But at a glance it looks like a very quiet place not many people. Then later I saw photos of my friends visiting this sushi place and they recommended it so I decided to really try it out myself.

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It’s very quiet, there were only one extra table there with my friends and I. It is also a very clean place, ran by Japanese – their whole staff crew speaks Japanese to each other.

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Wild Salmon Sashimi – fresh and tenderExif_JPEG_PICTURE

Yuji’s Roll – shrimp, ika, cucumber, salmon. I really like how the ika (squid) played in this roll, gave chewy texture and light sweetness to the roll. Then there are these very bouncy shrimps and velvet like salmon. Mmm, I high recommend this.

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Negi Shio Saba Roll with  Ginger – do you like ginger? IF you do you will like this one. It also tasted real great with saba, I have never eaten saba with ginger (mostly just onion) but it is great to balance out the over powering saba flavour.

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Ika Mentaiko (Gunkan) – fresh chewy squid sashimi with mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock). These mentaiko which you can find in many Japanese udon. They are extra delicious with squid and seaweed.

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Hamachi Avocado Roll – I never thought of the combination of hamachi of avocado would be perfect harmony. The nice creamy avocado adds to the smooth rich hamachi, they really do work great together.

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And I have to say, even with different types and new creative combinations of sushi the sushi chef still roll his perfect Japanese sushi rolls. (You should notice in my other posts how important it is for me for sushi to roll in the perfect firmness.)

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With great sushi this place comes with great service and friendly staff. I would revisit for sure, It is at a very awkward location that most people would probably not notice. So if you go, open your eyes and look hard for their sign! Enjoy everyone. 🙂

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