Wagamama

During our stay in Oxford, we ended up taking the train down to London again, as we had the opportunity to visit Canada House, part of the High Commission of Canada in London. As it was located right in Trafalgar Square, it was a great opportunity for us to visit attractions that we’d missed out on during our stay in London. We visited the National Portrait Gallery, which houses the portraits of what seems like every notable British person ever. It’s an interesting lens through which to view British history, and like the British Museum and the Natural History Museum, admission is free.

Before all this, though, we stopped by Wagamama for a quick lunch. I was wary of Wagamama, as I had been of most Asian restaurants in London. Wagamama reminded me of The Noodle Box in Vancouver, a very Westernized “Asian” restaurant serving a mix of dishes from different Asian cuisines.

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I had the Cha Han (£7.80), fried rice with chicken and prawns, mangetout (snow peas), mushrooms, sweetcorn and spring onions, served with a side of miso soup and pickles. The miso soup was the usual predictably salty fare, with tiny tofu cubes and some seaweed. The rice itself was, strangely enough, too oily yet too dry at the same time, but also a tiny bit undercooked. I added some soy sauce to moisten it, which helped. I liked how the veggies were in smaller pieces, as it made them easier to eat, especially in the case of the snow peas. The chicken was sufficiently moist, and the prawns had a nice snap to them. Overall, though, it wasn’t a particularly memorable meal.

DSCN0977Dolph’s Chili Men (£10.95) included prawns, zucchini, red onions, peppers, mushrooms, and mangetout in a spicy tomato chili sauce, on soba noodles. With that variety of ingredients, it sounded delicious, but it fell short of the description. The noodles were quite limp and not chewy enough, while the sauce was one-dimensional, simply being spicy with no other real flavours.

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Shawarma opted for the Chili Ramen (£9.65), noodles in a spicy chicken soup topped with grilled chicken, red and spring onions, beansprouts and chilies, garnished with coriander and lime. Like Dolph’s noodles above, Shawarma found her ramen lacking, as there was not much in the way of flavour. While the chilies added some spice, the broth was mostly thin and bland. The noodles were disappointingly mushy, not chewy as ramen should be. She also thought that the dish was quite overpriced, as it really was nothing special.

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Pickles had the Pad Thai (£9.55), with egg, beansprouts, leek, red and spring onions, Chinese chives, garlic, ginger and chilies, fried shallots, and peanuts. Despite the plethora of ingredients, she wasn’t very impressed, having had many a good pad thai in her day. She commented that this version lacked flavour, and that it would have benefitted from more sauce.

Overall, we were underwhelmed by our lunch at Wagamama. Hailing from Vancouver, where there are so many excellent examples of Asian cuisine, I suppose I had some unrealistically high standards when it comes to Asian food, especially since I was lucky enough to grow up with my mother’s cooking. Wagamama is fine for a quick lunch, but it’s nothing I would heartily recommend to someone.

DSCN0989After lunch, our group ventured to Canada House, where we were given a tour of the rooms and provided with a quick history of the building. Following this, we ventured across Trafalgar Square to visit the National Portrait Gallery. Trafalgar Square was even more packed than usual, due to a Scotland vs. England soccer (or, as the British say, football) game taking place that day. Scotsmen in kilts filled the square, downing countless beers (and leaving ten thousand empty cans to be disposed of the next day). Before I visited the U.K., I’d always thought of “British” as more or less a single identity, but now I realize how wrong that is. I learned to clearly distinguish between “English” and “British”, as the latter includes the Scottish and the Welsh in addition to the English. One regret I have about my trip was that I didn’t get to spend much time in the English countryside other than passing through it on my way to and from London.

In any case, I suppose lunch at Wagamama was a fond memory for us, but it definitely paled in comparison to more exciting aspects of the day, including experiencing firsthand the boisterousness of drunken Scotsmen. Ah, London.

Wagamama
14 Irving Street
London, United Kingdom WC2H 7AF

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

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Toshi Sushi

Probably the cuisine I longed for most during my two-month European adventure was Japanese food. Authentic or inauthentic, we are blessed in Vancouver to be able to enjoy sushi, ramen, and other Japanese foods to our hearts’ content. Sometime soon after I returned to Vancouver, SB and I decided to try out Toshi Sushi, one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Vancouver, at least according to Urbanspoon.

Despite its popularity, I’d never been to Toshi before. Located on East 16th and Main, the tiny restaurant was bustling with activity. At least they have a system in place. Basically you just walk in and record your name on a list posted near the front door, and the servers seat people via this list. We had to wait half an hour for our seats after recording our names, but the weather was nice enough that we just took a walk around the neighbourhood.

We were finally seated at the bar. I personally love sitting at the bar because it allows me to observe the chefs at work. The sushi chefs here were clearly skilled, but also immaculate in terms of hygiene and cleanliness, which I think is a must-have for a restaurant where raw fish is a major ingredient.

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We started off with four pieces of Maguro Sashimi ($5.75). We actually watched as the chef in front of us cut the slices, so the anticipation was that much greater. The sashimi was buttery soft and served in slices that were thick enough but not overly so. The thickness of the slices allowed us to really savour each piece as it melted in our mouths. The fish was also noticeably fresh and incredibly smooth, and an excellent way to start our meal.

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Next up, we also had four rolls. The two rolls on the left, the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Spicy Chopped Scallop Roll made up the Spicy Combo ($7.75). We also added on the two rolls on the right, which were the Negitoro Maki ($3.50) and the Family Maki ($4.25). In general, I enjoyed these rolls, as they were clearly made with care. The rice had just the right hits of sugar and vinegar. The spicy tuna and the negitoro were quite similar in terms of the texture of the tuna used, which was pleasantly creamy. The naturally mushy texture of the tuna was nicely complemented by the use of cucumber and green onion, as well as the addition of spicy sauce in the spicy tuna roll. I was particularly happy with the negitoro roll here because of the sheer amount of tuna used, since most sushi restaurants in Vancouver serve the negitoro roll in a smaller portion. Anyways, the spicy sauce, which I believe was some kind of variation on Japanese mayonnaise, was the type with a subtle sting rather than overt heat, if that makes any sense, making it not too spicy. The same sauce was used for the spicy chopped scallop roll, so the two rolls naturally tasted quite similar. The family roll was basically a salmon maki with ikura on top, and mainly relied on the briney flavour and the texturally pleasing pop from the roe more than anything else. It was simple but delicious, just the way that sushi should be.

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We had even more tuna in the form of a Tekka Don ($10.50). The rice, which didn’t taste too strongly of either sugar or vinegar, was topped with very fresh tuna sashimi. In fact, the rice almost tasted like simple, regular steamed white rice, with just a bit of vinegar seasoning. There isn’t much to say about this, except that the tuna was fresh and had just the right amount of fat, while the cucumber slices included were a nice touch.

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We were still hungry, so we added on two more items. The first was the Chicken Wing Karaage ($4.95). I swear, at least five other tables ordered this while we were eating, and every time it left the kitchen, I could smell the delicious, deep-fried goodness from a mile away. The couple seated beside us also added this to their order once they saw us devouring it, so there you go. It was definitely worth the anticipation, being very crispy, hot, and freshly fried. The bones were separated so that the wings were comparatively easy to eat, and the chicken meat itself was juicy and tender. They were also lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, almost reminding me of the Taiwanese salty peppery chicken nuggets that I love so much.

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And lastly, we had the Ika Tobi Kyu Roll ($3.75). I generally shy away from ordering squid at most restaurants, unless it’s calamari, as squid tends to be tough and difficult to chew. However, here, the squid was quite tender, with only a slight chewiness. The tobiko added that nice pop, and the cucumbers were fresh and crunchy. Still, I thought this was the weakest of the rolls we sampled, as there was simply too much rice. The rice was also a bit too warm, which distracted from the taste of the other ingredients.

Overall, though, we had a lovely time at Toshi Sushi. Other than the wait, our experience was flawless, from the delicious food to the friendly service. I mean, I hate waiting for food as much as anyone, but as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait, right? The next time that I’m shopping at all those adorable boutiques on Main Street, Toshi will be high on my list of possible dinner locations.

Toshi Sushi
181 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Toshi Sushi on Urbanspoon


Misato

After our 4-day stay in Dublin, Pickles, Dolph and I returned to London and settled into our accommodations for the next three weeks. Since our breakfasts were included in the costs of the program, we only had to take care of our lunches and dinners. For me, this inevitably lead to overconsumption of my favourite Starbucks drink (the iced chai latte), as well as some cold ready-to-eat items from M&S Simply Food. London was abnormally warm during our stay, often going over 30° Celsius (or 86° Fahrenheit if you’re Celsius-illiterate like I am). Cold pasta salads from M&S were my saviour when I wasn’t in the mood for a hot meal, which was often.

Still, once in a while, you’re just in the mood for a warm dinner, so the three of us decided to go eat at Misato, a Japanese restaurant in London’s Chinatown, which Dolph had visited earlier in the week. After consuming so many prepackaged sandwiches and pasta salads, I was excited to have some warm steamed rice and yummy Japanese food.

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Pickles decided to indulge in Japanese-style comfort food with the Chicken Katsu Curry with Rice (£6). She was more than pleased with her meal, which was a better value for its price than pretty much any other meal we’d had so far in London. The chicken was crispy and well-fried, but also moist on the inside, while the rice was warm and comforting. The curry tasted mildly salty as opposed to sweet, which I found different than the other Japanese curries I’ve tried, but we still enjoyed it nevertheless. The little salad accompanying her meal was fine, but nothing memorable, and honestly, the chicken and rice were more than what we’d expected for the price.

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Meanwhile, Dolph ordered the Tempura Soba (£5.50). She regretted this afterwards, saying that she wished she’d gotten a tempura udon instead, but no matter. The three of us agreed that we all enjoyed soba served cold, as in zaru soba, but I guess that’s just personal preference. Since the tempura was served in the soup, it was naturally soggy, losing its crispiness. While the portion size was large, the broth was predominantly salty and had little else in the way of flavour. Out of the three dishes we ordered, I guess I would have to say that this was the least satisfying, although it might be just our personal preferences.

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Lastly, I had the Grilled Mackerel with Rice (£4.50). Since about a week earlier, I’d had an intense craving for grilled mackerel, which my mom cooks up for me on a regular basis at home. I’ve noticed that a lot of people I know tend to shy away from mackerel, probably because of its intense fishiness, but that’s exactly what I love about mackerel–besides, why eat fish if you’re afraid of the fishiness?  In any case, I had to order the mackerel once I saw it on the menu, and I was both pleased with the huge portion size as well as the price, which was only £1 more expensive than that Starbucks chai latte I mentioned earlier. In any case, the mackerel was obviously a bit oily, as it was fried, but it was both salty and satisfyingly fishy, as mackerel should be. It was also easy to eat, as there were no noticeable bones, and the lemon slice helped to alleviate some of the fishiness. The salad was more or less the same as the one included with the chicken katsu curry. Although this made me miss home more than ever, I still was comforted by the idea that I could find something similar to my mom’s home-cooked meals in London’s Chinatown, of all places.

Overall, I was really happy with our meal here. Out of the restaurants I ate at during my three week stay in London, I would have to say that the prices at Misato were the best fit for my broke-student/broke-tourist budget. I know that the cost of living in Vancouver is quite high and often a source of stress for me and my fellow Vancouverites, but sometimes the food prices in London just baffled me, especially once I learned to intuitively apply the correct conversion rate. Of course, London is a huge city with many different types of cuisine to offer, but if you’re on a budget and near Piccadilly Circus, I would highly recommend Misato, which is not only a frugal option but a tasty one as well.

Misato
11 Wardour Street
London W1D 6PG
United Kingdom

Misato on Urbanspoon


Sushi Hiyori

When I mentioned to acquaintances that I’d be spending two months of my summer in Europe, many told me to indulge in sushi while I could. As I sit writing in my flat in Oxford, I wish that I’d considered their advice more seriously. Sushi restaurants here are nowhere near as plentiful or inexpensive as in Vancouver, and while I’ve been too afraid to try any myself, my classmates all agree that sushi in England is nothing like sushi back home. I’ve found in Vancouver that while popular spots like Sushi Garden are popular for a reason, the small neighbourhood joints are often quite good. This post is about an excursion I made to a relatively small sushi place in downtown Vancouver, with my favourite sushi connoisseur, SB.

I’ve found that while there are many Japanese restaurants downtown, a simple good old-fashioned sushi place is hard to find. Sure, there are many izakayas and ramen joints and Spaghetei, but sometimes I just feel a craving for a simple negitoro roll. Sushi Hiyori is a quick walk from the central shopping area of downtown Vancouver, and had exactly what we were looking for: all the basics plus some specialty rolls of their own.

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SB had his usual Salmon Don ($9.95). We thought that the plating of it, although not particularly practical, was somewhat cute in the chef’s thoughtfulness. As for the food itself, SB pronounced it acceptable, as the rice was sweet and vinegary but not overly so, while the sashimi seemed decently fresh. I personally thought that the salmon was sliced a bit irregularly, with some thick pieces and some very thin slices, but overall, it was fine considering the venue and price.

DSC_0006We also decided to try one of their specialty rolls, the Las Vegas Roll ($8.99), which was described as a California roll topped with spicy tuna sashimi, prawn tempura, and sweet and spicy sauce. It wasn’t exactly neatly presented–SB observed that it was like a California roll wearing a hat, and was difficult to eat due to its height. The tempura appeared to have been freshly fried, being warm and crispy, but there was too much batter to really taste the prawn inside. With the avocado, imitation crab, and spicy tuna, the roll had an overall mushy texture, and the rice was rather gummy in places. I’m generally not fond of specialty rolls and their often high price tag, so this didn’t especially stand out for me. I would take a simple maki over a fancy roll any day.

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And, of course, we had to have that simple maki in the form of our favourite, the Negitoro Roll ($2.45). Although this wasn’t the best version we’ve had, it was still acceptable. The seaweed was a tad soggy and therefore difficult to chew, but the toro was smooth and creamy, and the green onions were satisfyingly crunchy. The toro also had a sufficient level of fishiness, while the rice, again, wasn’t overly sweetened or doused in vinegar, which I liked.

Our meal at Sushi Hiyori wasn’t spectacular, but it was definitely acceptable. We were especially pleased with the service, which was very friendly, plus our tea and water were both refilled many times without us having to ask. Based on my experience, I wouldn’t recommend trying their specialty rolls, which are mostly variations on the California roll or the dynamite roll, both of which aren’t my favourite rolls anyways. Other than that, Sushi Hiyori is a viable option if you’re in the neighbourhood, and clearly a neighbourhood favourite: although there weren’t too many seated customers during our visit, there were many customers coming in and out to pick up their take-out. This place isn’t gourmet by any means, but hey, who wants to eat gourmet all the time?

Sushi Hiyori
1348 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC

Sushi Hiyori on Urbanspoon


Guu Garlic

Funnily enough, the last day SB and I saw each other before my Europe trip happened to coincide with Canada Day. Despite my aversion to crowds, we decided to head downtown to enjoy some of the festivities. Sure enough, there were crowds upon crowds of people, and the day was swelteringly hot. We decided to go see a movie to escape the sun, and by the time we ventured back out into the world, it had cooled down considerably. Since it was my last time dining in Vancouver for a while, we decided to munch on my favourite cuisine: Japanese–izakayas, to be more specific, and Guu Garlic to be even more specific.

I’d been to Guu Garlic several times, but never blogged about the experience before. Guu Garlic is right beside Santouka, which even on this blisteringly hot day had a line out the door and down the street. In comparison, our restaurant of choice was not incredibly busy, and although they had no air conditioning, it was still mildly cool inside. The restaurant itself is divided into an area with a bar and tables, and a sort of upper level where you sit on cushions on the floor. I’ve sat on those cushions before, and it was very uncomfortable, so we opted to sit at the bar, which was nice because we got to observe the chefs at work.

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For our first dish, SB chose the Grilled Squid ($7.80). I generally avoid ordering squid at restaurants (other than calamari), because it tends to be too tough. However, the squid here was very tender while still retaining chewiness and a tad of rubberiness. It was also not too oily and was firm on the outside, but soft on the inside. I also liked that it was sliced into nice, bite-size portions for us, and served with garlic mayo on the side. The mayo was flavourful and provided a slightly spicy and rich aftertaste, which was lovely. We were both pleasantly surprised by this deceptively simple dish.

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Next, we found the Salt, Pepper, and Sesame Oil Marinated Tuna Sashimi ($6.80) on the daily specials sheet. Here, we could clearly taste the salt, pepper, and sesame oil present in the dish. The sashimi was served alongside some veggies, garlic chips, and onions, which both soaked up the sesame oil and ended up being nice and flavourful. The fish itself tasted quite fresh and was a little chewy, but also soft, with an almost toro-like texture. We were quite happy with that since we’re huge fans of toro.

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And to deviate from the seafood theme, we also had the Beef Tenderloin Steak Rice Bowl ($9.80). This was so incredibly satisfying. The beef was cooked medium rare and was nicely tender, while oozing with red juices. Meanwhile, the bowl was hot enough that the rice formed a nice crust, and the garlic chips added a nice punch of flavour. There was also some soy sauce included that kept the mixture from getting too bland, and the egg added moisture without making the mixture too wet. I found that the ingredients really balanced each other out, making for quite a yummy meal.

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Being who he is, SB was still hungry after all this, so we also shared the Assorted Sashimi ($16) off of the specials sheet. For that price point, we were expecting nothing but the best. What we got was very fresh scallop and salmon sashimi, along with some tuna tataki. First off, the scallops tasted a bit too fishy, but were very smooth and buttery. Personally, scallops are my favourite type of seafood (when cooked), but I enjoyed the tataki the most here. It had formed a nice crust that added a bit of flavour, while the inner layer of sashimi was smooth and naturally sweet. Similarly, the salmon retained its natural sweetness and texture. Overall, all of the sashimi was quite satisfying.

And that’s the word I would use to describe our dinner here: satisfying. All of the dishes were well-prepared and tasty. I think I’m probably a bit biased because izakayas are my favourite places to eat, but then again, I’ve often had not-so-great experiences with the Guu franchise, especially the Thurlow location. Based on this experience, though, I would highly recommend stopping by Guu Garlic for a bite to eat!

Guu Garlic
1698 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC

Guu Garlic on Urbanspoon


Hukuya Sushi

Each of my childhood summers has a defining trait to remember it by. There’s the summer I moved to Canada, the summer my family took a road trip, and several summers spent visiting relatives back in Seoul. Summer reminds me of family vacations and structureless days of splashing around in a pool and consuming shaved ice by the bowlful. Each year, summer is a special time, magically separate from the rest of the year.

And, of course, this summer is going to be extra special, since I’m going to be spending the last two months of it in Europe! I’ve never been to Europe before, and I’ve always romanticized the notion of a trip to Europe during college, so I’m quite excited to go, to put it mildly. In any case, having catch-up lunches with friends prior to a big trip is always nice, so Cindy and I planned to meet up near North Road for a quick meal.

Despite the high density of Korean restaurants on North Road, I’ve never been partial to eating at Korean restaurants. I can get it so easily at home, plus my mom’s cooking is free of MSG and the huge amounts of sugar that is often hidden in Korean restaurant fare. Once you eliminate all the Korean restaurants in this area, you’re left with not so many choices, especially considering that it was raining and we weren’t eager to walk far.

So, we headed to Hukuya Sushi, which is hidden beside the Red Robin in a small complex behind Lougheed Mall. Somewhat ironically, Hukuya is Korean-run, but so are many of the popular sushi places in the area, so we gave it a try. We were greeted by the somewhat unpleasant smell of old cooking oil, but seated promptly by the server/owner. They had quite an extensive menu with both lunch and dinner specials, so it took us a while to decide what to order.

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First, we shared a Spicy Chopped Scallop Roll ($5.25). They also had a lot of larger specialty rolls on the menu, but none of them really appealed to me (plus they were actually quite pricey!) This was a decent attempt, but I thought it was expensive considering that the roll was not especially large. It wasn’t much bigger than your regular maki. The presentation was also a bit sloppy, as you can see, with some of the rice falling apart in places. I personally prefer the scallops to be directly massaged with spicy sauce rather than the sauce being distributed on top, but this tasted alright. The rice itself was a bit too vinegary, but not unpleasantly so, while the scallops themselves were nice and juicy, and in large chunks. The sauce was both sweet and spicy. I think I would rather try one of their special rolls on another visit, considering this simple roll cost me more than five bucks…

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I then had a Tuna Don ($10.95), which I again thought was a bit pricey considering the prices at other, similar Korean-run sushi restaurants, but oh well. The tuna was of a decent quality, being neither too mushy nor too firm. I found the rice a bit too sweet and vinegary, but I tend to prefer milder flavours, so that’s just personal preference. The portion size was quite large, and I ended up having a lot of rice left afterwards. It was a simple but filling meal and I would definitely consider ordering it again if I were to return.

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Cindy decided on the Lunch Box A ($8.95), which included miso soup, assorted tempura, chicken teriyaki with rice, green salad, and a California roll. To break down the lunch box one by one…the miso soup was the usual slightly salty fare with tiny cubes of tofu. The tempura was crispy and hot, while the teriyaki was lightly touched with mildly sweet sauce. The salad, meanwhile, was fresh, which is all we’re really asking for in a salad, with apple puree dressing served on top. Cindy was most pleased with the California roll, which she declared above average, and quite filling, despite it being four pieces instead of the usual six. I personally thought it was a great value for $8.95, especially, considering that the chopped scallop roll alone set us back $5.25. I generally don’t opt for lunch boxes since they usually contain teriyaki and tempura, which aren’t my go-to items at a Japanese restaurant, but I would consider ordering one here, since it seemed to be the best value out of the items that we sampled.

Overall, our meal at Hukuya was what we expected: a quick lunch at your average, run-of-the-mill sushi joint. As the only servers were the two owners, the service was a bit slow, but I thought that the service was subpar even considering that fact. The restaurant wasn’t terribly busy during our stay, and it took a long time for us to receive our cups of water and our cheque, even after we specifically requested them. To summarize, I wasn’t incredibly impressed by Hukuya, but then again, I wouldn’t actively dissuade someone from eating there.

Hukuya Sushi
9626 Cameron Street
Burnaby, BC

Hukuya Sushi on Urbanspoon


Spaghetei すぱげっ亭

Spaghetei recently opened near Robson and Denman, taking over a space previously occupied by Benkei Ramen. SB, Dolph, Justin and I decided to try out this new restaurant and its somewhat unfamiliar specialty, Japanese-style pasta. When we visited, the restaurant was still in its soft opening phase. This meant that our food was discounted by 30%, but that they were also only accepting cash as payment.

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We started off with some complimentary Pesto-Garlic Bread, with one piece being brought out for each person at the table. At first, we we were somewhat disconcerted by the vibrant green colour of the bread, but it simply tasted like regular garlic bread. It was well-toasted, crisp, and warm. This was accompanied by some kind of Soup or broth that looked like water with a few lettuce shreds floating around. We couldn’t really identify what this was, except that it tasted vaguely salty. Well, I’m not going to complain about free food, so whatever.

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SB decided on the Meat Sauce ($11) pasta, which was spaghetti with minced beef and vegetables topped with a Japanese Bolognese sauce, sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese. He thought that this dish lacked a clear Japanese element. The tomato flavour was quite mild, while the meat sauce itself was a little bit thin. I found the dish to be a bit bland overall, and would have appreciated some pepper, which wasn’t provided at the tables. The noodles were also done a bit past al dente, although SB found that this didn’t hinder his enjoyment of his meal.

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I opted for the Mentaiko ($13), spaghetti tossed in spicy cod roe with button mushrooms and dried seaweed. I’ve always been partial to the mentaiko udon at Sushi Garden, so I thought this would be right up my alley. Sadly, though, I preferred the version at Sushi Garden, which has enoki mushrooms and tastes a lot cheesier. I found the portion size to be a bit small for $13 (although we only paid 70% of this price because of their promotion). Overall, this dish was quite average. It was a tad spicy, but overall quite mild, which I suppose is characteristic of most Japanese food. The four of us thought that it tasted the most Japanese out of the four dishes we ordered–possibly due to the cod roe and the seaweed. The mushrooms included in the dishes had a strange spiciness to them that reminded me of wasabi for some reason. While I enjoyed my lunch, I didn’t think that it was worth $13.

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Justin had the Neapolitan ($12), which to my disappointment wasn’t spaghetti with chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream, but instead spaghetti in a mild ketchup sauce and served with chicken, bacon, sausages, and vegetables. Described on the menu as a “Japanese all-time classic”, it was again quite mild. There was nothing wrong with the dish itself, with all the meats being cooked correctly, but it failed to draw us in. The noodles themselves were again quite chewy and had good bite.

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Lastly, Dolph, our resident noodle aficionado, had the Butter and Soy Sauce ($13), which included shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach. She commented that the sauce tasted exactly like what she expected–simply butter and soy sauce mixed together. Like the rest of us, she failed to see anything extraordinary about the dish, commenting that it tasted like something that could easily be made at home. I suppose that the homey quality of the food could also be seen as a positive aspect of the restaurant, though.

I think that overall, the four of us enjoyed our lunch at Spaghetei, although that might be due to the excellent company we had in each other rather than the food. We were curious about the restaurant itself, since the concept of Japanese pasta isn’t a widespread one in Vancouver, despite the prevalence of other types of Japanese food available to us. The food was decent, but bordered on bland, and in general I felt that my mom could whip up many of the dishes on the menu. I also wasn’t sure about the Japanese influence on the dishes that we sampled. Still, the service is attentive, and there is a certain charming quality to the homeyness of the dishes that we sampled, so I would recommend that you give Spaghetei a try.

Spaghetei すぱげっ亭
1741 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC

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