Italian Kitchen

SignageBrunching with Cynthia is always fun, and it really is a shame that we can’t go out more often– school, work and (the ironic) lack of funds keeps getting in the way! When we do go, we always have a fantastic time, and this day was no different.

We originally planned on going to Coast, since we went for Dine Out the year before and loved the food, but it wasn’t open! No matter though, since there were a ton of other restaurants on Alberni for us to choose from– we ended up going to Italian Kitchen, which is also part of the Glowbal Group, right across the street.

Amuse BoucheThe visit to Coast last year resulted in a coupon for a complimentary amuse-bouche from any Glowbal restaurant; imagine my surprise when it was still valid after a year in my drawer! These small bites of Bocconcini, Tomato and Arugula were presented to us first, atop of a small piece of chewy, fried bread. In addition, it was drizzled with a bit of olive oil, but as you can see, there isn’t much to the actual morsel. I wasn’t super impressed with this, but it’s free food from an old voucher– what did I really expect?

DrinksBrunching-with-Cynthia times also invariably ends up being Drinking-with-Cynthia times, so we also ordered a pair of Italian Sodas ($3.50) to go with our meal. The menu lists a variety of fruit syrups you can add to the soda (you can choose two), as well as a list of predetermined mixes. I chose the Mango/Apricot, while Cynthia chose the Pineapple Colada. We made these brunch-worthy by adding vodka (they offer other liquors too), for an additional $3.50. I really liked the soda, as it was refreshing and a nice change from drinks you’d normally get– there’s the fizziness of pop, but also the different fruit flavours of smoothies and juices. If I were to go to Italian Kitchen again, I’d be content with just having the non-alcoholic version (a pretty good and delicious deal, I think).

IMG_0144We actually arrived after 12, so “brunch” really isn’t a correct term for our date… but we were adamant in our brunching, and this reflected in the dishes we ordered. Our first dish to share was the Dungeness Crab Benedict ($18.95) from their Prima Colazione section (they also offer a Proscuitto Eggs Benedict and a Mushroom Benedict, as well as classic breakfasts and some less-than classic dishes, such as polenta and “breakfast pizza”). Our Crab Benny came with a side salad and hasbrowns. The eggs were poached a little too long for my tastes (the yolk wasn’t very runny), and the hollandaise was a little bland, but on a positive note, this allowed the fluffy crab to shine, as it wasn’t too overpowered by the other flavours. The English muffin was toasted just right, but it definitely would’ve benefited from more hollandaise and egg yolk. The potatoes were again, very lightly seasoned, so they didn’t have too much of an impact. I liked the salad, as it wasn’t too wet with dressing, but placing it on the warm plate probably wasn’t such a good idea, as the bottom pieces got a little wilty. Overall, the dish was a on the mediocre side, and I didn’t think it was worth the $19 we spent.

IMG_0147We didn’t realize that the Crab Benedict came with potatoes (only the salad was listed in the menu, and other menu items did list potatoes so we just assumed), so we ordered a side of Roasted Potatoes ($4.50) to share. This serving of potatoes was much more presentable and tasty than the ones that came with the Benny, so maybe it was a good idea to get them anyways. These came with more flavour than their plated counterparts, and were topped with crumbled parmesan cheese and parsley. Sometimes you just need a good potato dish to make a meal better, and I believe these did the job.

IMG_0143Since we were at Italian Kitchen, we couldn’t very well leave without trying something more Italian than an Eggs Benedict. Since we had a seafood breakfast item, we decided on the Spaghetti and Wagyu Meatballs ($17.95), which came in a spicy basil tomato sauce, topped with a blob of herbed ricotta cheese. The picture I took doesn’t really do it justice– in actuality, there was a pretty big portion of pasta, and the 3 meatballs were quite big as well. The spaghetti was prepared al dente, and there was just enough sauce for each noodle to be evenly coated–not that it’s a bad thing, but I do wish that there was a bit more. I don’t know too much about wagyu beef, but I reckon that once it’s in meatball form there really isn’t THAT big a difference from good ole’ regular beef. I’m also not a meatball expert by any means, but I did like these ones, as they were springy and light, but still substantial in size. The pasta was good overall, but I don’t know how comfortable I am with paying this much…

MenuI had a pretty average experience at Italian Kitchen: our host and waitress was pretty helpful when giving us advice about our drinks, but otherwise there wasn’t much to comment on. I realize that because of location and the brand name prices would run high, but I was a little disarmed by our $50 bill at the end of lunch, even after a discount was taken (Cynthia had a coupon). The food was adequate and was nothing too special, and the modern decor was average (I like Coast and what used to be Sanafir better). Overall, I had a good time catching up with Cynthia, but I don’t know that I would return to Italian Kitchen in the future, especially when there are so many other great Italian places to visit downtown.

Italian Kitchen
1037 Alberni St
Vancouver, BC

Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Adesso Bistro

FrontSiobhan was leaving for Iceland in the new year (yes, this visit was a while ago), and so the task fell on me to choose a restaurant for our last dinner date of the term! I had scoped out Adesso Bistro as a possible location for my birthday dinner (we went with Catch-122 instead), but the restaurant and menu still stood out to me, even a few months after I visited their website. So, despite the rain and cold, we made our way to Haro Street (Haro! Love the name) for an early night out.

I tried to make reservations for a later time, but since the restaurant was flooded with Christmas party reservations made eons ahead of time, we had to settle for dinner at the really early hour of 5:30. We were the first table at the restaurant, so we did get quite a bit of attention throughout our night there.

FocacciaAfter some fresh-baked focaccia bread accompanied by the expected olive oil-balsamic vinegar dip came up, we looked over the menu to see what was being offered. At the time, they had a winter prix fixe menu which also doubled as their features sheet– each item had its own price, and could be ordered a la carte or as part of the three course meal ($32, plus $15 for wine pairing). We ended up getting an appetizer off their specials, and a pasta each.

Poached Pear ProscuittoI didn’t record the name of the appetizer, but let’s say that it’s called the Poached Pear and Proscuitto Salad ($8). This was a more deconstructed form than what I had imagined, with three little bundles of red lettuce enveloping bocconcini cheese, warm poached pear, and topped with slices of buttery proscuitto. This was all presented beautifully on a long plate, accented by a brush of balsamic vinegar dressing that we could sweep the lettuce over. I don’t know if you’re meant to eat this all together (like a lettuce wrap/taco), but I ended up taking mine apart, and just forked up a little bit of each ingredient. The pears were quite sweet, which balanced out the lightly salted bocconcini, and the proscuitto was just perfect– the amount that was served wasn’t bad either, considering each bundle had 2 slices each.

TrofieSiobhan is lactose intolerant, and she wasn’t quite sure what to get, so we asked the server to give us a recommendation. He was very knowledgable about all the ingredients in each of the dishes, and as well, gave us options for things that could be added or omitted. In the end, Siobhan decided on the Trofie ($17), a Ligurian specialty pasta (I’m not sure what this shape of pasta would be classified as) that came in a thick and chunky tomato sauce. This pasta dish also came with slices of smoked chicken and pieces of eggplant. She really liked her meal, saying the pasta was al dente and that the ingredients were prepared well– the eggplant wasn’t overcooked, and the chicken was juicy and flavourful.

Risotto FunghiAs for myself, I have a habit of looking up menus online before going to a restaurant so that I won’t take quite as long to decide on a meal (unless the features list sounds especially delicious and distracting), so I already decided on the Risotto Funghi ($16). I do apologize for the gucky picture of the risotto– I had recently received a new Canon t3i as a Christmas present, and I was still getting the hang of lighting and shutter speed and all that jazz, so some pictures definitely aren’t the best. Despite the brownish-grey appearance (due to the porcini puree) of the dish that would normally seem unappetizing, this dish was really stellar– probably some of the best risotto I’ve had in a while. Each grain was uniformly prepared, with no bites being too hard or too mushy, and this was bursting with the woodsy flavour of the various roasted mushrooms. The grana padano provided a lightly salty garnish, and the arugula helped to break up the texture a bit. This was a huge portion, and I ended up taking some home for lunch the next day (and it was just as good then).

InteriorWe were both too full for dessert (actually, that’s a lie, we went to Thierry afterwards, but that was following a long walk up Robson), so we decided to end our night at Adesso Bistro. We had a very nice time at the restaurant, even as it started to fill up as our night went on. The food we ordered was carefully and expertly prepared, so that nothing was amiss; as well, the several servers who came by to welcome us were well-versed in the menu and preparation of the meal, something you don’t always see at restaurants nowadays. I wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant, nestled in a residential neighbourhood off Denman, for its romantic and intimate feel, as well as for their stellar service and food.

Adesso Bistro
1906 Haro St
Vancouver, BC

Adesso Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe (Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival 2013)


For my first post back, I thought I’d write on something current: the 3rd Annual Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, which started January 19th and is running until February 14th (that’s next Thursday!). Hot chocolate is always, always a great idea, especially in the chilly Vancouver weather that’s been hitting us lately.

Fortunately, for my meet-up with Enoch, whom I haven’t seen since high school (much to our surprise), the Vancouver sky gods decided to give us beautiful weather– so beautiful that I wouldn’t have minded sitting outside, which was very nearly our fate, since Thierry is often so busy. Luckily enough, a couple vacated their seats just as I was about to head outside to the patio.

One in a MillionEnoch decided to order for us the Hot Chocolate Festival flavour One in a Million ($9.75), which came with a little dish of clotted cream infused with chocolate shavings, a mini chocolate-dipped madeleine, and a mini chocolate bar. This hot chocolate is made with Maranon, the world’s rarest chocolate, and of course we felt pretty special drinking it. This was a lot sweeter and syrupy than I thought it would be, and while it tasted great right off the bat, I found it a little too overwhelming towards the end. I was confused as to how a certain kind of chocolate could be the “rarest in the world” (I hope I’m not the only one), so I did a little bit of research. According to, the cacao beans for this chocolate had been lost for 100 years, but had recently been found in Peru, and are 40% white beans.  Clotted Cream, Madeleine, ChocolateThe Madeleine tasted very lemony, which went well with the chocolate dipping, but I thought it was a bit too tiny (it is complimentary though, so I shouldn’t complain). The dark chocolate bar tasted pretty typical to me, but I thought the star of the side dish was the clotted cream. It was incredibly thick and creamy and delicious, we took to scooping up some with our forks and dipping it into our hot chocolate.

Tuiles and Pear Cassis CharlotteNow of course we couldn’t just leave without trying some of the other desserts, and one in particular struck our fancy. The couple next to us had ordered it as well, and it just looked so beautiful and perfect, we had to have it. Here is the Pear Cassis Charlotte ($6.75), a mousse-based cake filled with pear bavaroise and pieces of poached pear, topped with a semi-tart layer of cassis gelee, and then wrapped around with pistachio ladyfingers. I really enjoyed this cake, as all the flavours balanced nicely and it wasn’t too sweet, each bite contained just the right amount of cake and mousse. I would most likely  order this again.

TuileOne of my other favourites from Thierry are their tuiles, specifically the Almond-Orange Tuile and the Brandy Snap Tuile (both at $7.45/100g). I didn’t get a picture of the Almond-Orange, but pictured here is the Brandy Snap. These are crisp, wafer-thin cookies, one with chopped almonds and orange zest, and the other flavoured with caramel. I love dipping these into their hot chocolates, and even more just by themselves– if they weren’t so costly, I’d probably be buying boxes and boxes to snack on at home.

MacaronsAnd lastly, I ordered a few macarons to go– clockwise from the top, we have the Coffee, Pink Praline, and Apple Cinnamon Macaron. I’ve only had macarons from 2 places before (here and Bel Cafe), and I find that at times the ones at Thierry are a little too sweet for my liking, and I prefer jam filled over cream-filled ones. My mom really likes these, however, so I really couldn’t go without getting her some. Of the ones I’ve tried from past visits, my favourite is the lemon– just a little tart, filled with a gelee instead of cream, and a bright, happy yellow– perfect for a rainy day.

IMG_0798So that concludes my visit! I find myself going to Thierry every once in a while when I’m downtown just for old times’ sake (not that my first visit and my first spiked hot chocolate was such a long time ago…), and I really enjoy their pastries. I’ve had the triple chocolate cake and lemon tart as well as the tiramisu recently, and all are pretty well executed in terms of taste and presentation. There are times when I wish the cafe were quieter, as it can be really difficult to have a conversation there if you’re sitting across from someone, but I do like that it’s such a hub for university students and business people in the downtown core. If you haven’t been yet, I would urge you to go, just to try their cakes out! If you do, try to go around 5:30-6pm, as I found it less busy at that time. That way, if you’re catching up and sharing stories, like we were, you can actually hear about the awesome adventures your friends are talking about!

Until next time!

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe
1059 Alberni St
Vancouver, BC

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kingyo Izakaya

Kingyo Izakaya has been on my list for some time now, and I kept wanting to make it down to the restaurant, but life kept intervening. It was mildly amusing, then, when I ended up making it to the restaurant twice in one week.

My first visit was with Earl, Jonathan (who both kindly took pictures for me), Ruth and Ced, who, having seen the dining package on (picture to the left is borrowed from the site), decided to capitalize on the deal and invited me along. Ced had made a reservation for us, and so we were seated right away in the already bustling restaurant.

We perused the menu and ordered a few extra dishes in addition to our four (yes, four) dining packages, and while we were admiring the decor (the table we were seated at looked especially historical and distinguished), our first dish, Five Kinds Sashimi Omakase ($28) arrived. Displayed on a long dish with various garnishes, we had the pleasure of eating some salmon, yellowtail, scallops, shrimp, and one other type of fish, which I forgot the name of. The expertly cut slices all had a beautiful sheen to them, and tasted very fresh.

Next up was the Deep Fried Corn (~$9), which didn’t taste deep-fried at all– I was actually a little confused because there was no batter that I associated with deep-fried foods (silly me). These pieces of corn cob were cut so that they were easy to eat (no need to get your hands messy here), and were lightly seasoned, so as to let the natural sweetness of the corn stand out. I think these were the second-sweetest pieces I’ve had in recent memory (the first being the bbq’d organic corn we had on a camping trip earlier this year, which was sweet as candy– post to come), and I loved that we were able to munch on part of the cob as well, much like you would on sugar cane.

And of course, we couldn’t NOT order the Stone-Grilled Beef Tongue (~$10). Served raw and spiced lightly with salt and pepper, we were instructed to sear the tongue lightly on the hot stone, then eat it with a little bit of yuzu red pepper paste and some green onion. I’ve always loved beef tongue– the texture and taste– but there’s something about cooking your own food at the table that ups the deliciousness factor. I’d definitely order this again, and not just because it was fun cooking my meat on a hot rock.

Our last ‘extra’ dish was the Seared Toro Pressed Sushi (~11), which was on the fresh sheet the night we were there (but I think it was just specially priced, because there’s one on the regular menu as well). This roll included lightly seared toro and avocado, and was drizzled with plum seaweed and sesame sauce. I wasn’t too big a fan of this, as I thought that there was too much sauce on the plate, making the rice a little too mushy (so mushy that it fell apart, and this time it wasn’t due to my poor chopsticking skills). The flavours did work well with the fish, and the fish was fresh, but this just wasn’t to my liking.

Now, onto our dining package! The first two items, the Tomato Kimchi Tofu Salad and the Tuna Tataki, were presented together as appetizers. The Salad consisted of kimchi marinated tomatoes, crisp iceberg greens, four cubes of chilled tofu, and was served with a sesame soy dressing. While the tomatoes were really juicy, I didn’t feel that they were particularly “kimchi marinated”, as they were severely lacking in spice. There were a few sparse flakes of red pepper mixed in with the salad, but there really wasn’t any heat involved. Overall, I felt that the salad was alright, but wasn’t anything spectacular. The Tuna Tataki was served on a bed of onions, and topped with fresh green onion and garlic chips (yumm!), in addition to the ponzu sauce and ponzu jelly. I felt that the fish in this version (compared to ones at Guu and Gyu-Kaku, among others) was a little drier than usual, but it didn’t really detract from the dish. Everything tasted as expected, but again, there wasn’t really anything to write home about.

The standout for the package came next in the form of the Stone-Grilled Kobe Beef, which was served raw and marinated atop a bed of lettuce. This too was a grill-it-yourself adventure and yes, I did have tons of fun cooking it on the hot rock again. The only problem was that one of the rocks was a little on the slanty side, so it was hard to cook on it. But onto the beef itself! The Kobe Beef was extremely tender and flavourful (as advertised on the menu), and had a lovely melt-in-your-mouth butteriness that I wanted more of. In fact, there was enough flavour already that we didn’t need to dip it in the spicy and garlic sauces provided. I would most definitely order this again, even if the price on the regular menu was a little hefty (hopefully the portion size would be bigger too, since what you see here are two portions on one plate).

We finished off the night with the Clam Ramen, which the kitchen had kindly separated into 5 bowls for us so we weren’t left with the dilemma of flinging noodles into bowls ourselves (flinging, because of bad chopstick skills). I felt that the soup had a lot of depth (tasted very strongly of clams and seafood), but it was a bit on the salty side. We enjoyed the noodles, which were a perfect al dente, and I was actually left wanting a little more. Each bowl came with 4-5 clams, which were all opened and were quite meaty as well.

My first visit here was a positive one, lended both by great food and the great service from our two waiters. The vaneats package was $22, and I did feel that it was a good deal, seeing as the Kobe Beef itself is over $20 on the regular menu (again, not sure about portion sizes). And obviously, I had a good enough time there to go there a again….

With my friend Bonnie, whom I haven’t seen for nearly a year! We met in the summer of 2011 on a tour in Beijing, and as luck would have it, she lived in Vancouver too, so of course we had to meet up (she introduced me to the joys of noodle combos at Deer Garden, which I then posted about here).

I had actually gotten to the restaurant at 5:20, and was horrified to see it dark. I was actually running through my head the various places we could go to as backups in the area, and panicked a little all before seeing the sign that said they opened for dinner at 5:30. What a dork. Anyways, I went for a walk around the neighbourhood before heading back at 5:30 to meet with Bonnie, but when I got back there was a lineup already. Talk about being popular…

We managed to get seats anyways, and since we only had 2 hours to eat (the server said that there was a reservation for 7:30), we got right down to it. We started off with the Yuzu Tuna Tataki (~$8), which was on the fresh sheet as opposed to the menu. I’m pretty sure that this tuna is different from the one I had before– I just don’t know what this particular one would be called, and I forgot to take it down when we were at the restaurant. This tuna was a lot more flaky (but it wasn’t toro-flaky), and wasn’t dry like the other dish. It was again served with onions, green onions and garlic chips. I think I would get this version of the dish the next time I was here, as opposed to the other; this one was a little more interesting, and definitely wasn’t your regular Joe tuna.

Bonnie insisted that I try the My Ebi Mayo ($8.80) since I’ve never had it before (it just never crossed my mind to order this dish at the other izakayas I’ve been to). The black tiger prawns were deep fried with a very light batter, and pre-dipped in spicy chili mayo before being placed on a bed of lettuce. We thought that the batter was a little too light, and it didn’t have the satisfying crunch Bonnie had come to associate ebi mayo with. In fact, the batter actually got a little soggy, and we had to eat this dish up rather quickly. The prawns themselves weren’t overcooked though, so that’s a plus.

I decided to give their pressed sushi another try, and since I had heard rave reviews about their Pressed Mackerel Sushi ($12) from David, we gave this a go. The mackerel was satisfyingly fishy, and I enjoyed the mix of textures between the seared top and raw bottom. I originally thought that the addition of mustard sauce would be kind of weird, but it actually worked nicely with the fish, bringing out the distinct mackerel taste. This wasn’t as wet as the Pressed Toro Sushi, and held up on the journey over to my plate.

Our last dish of the night was the Sea Urchin Bibimbap (~$10) on the fresh sheet, which also included a variety of seafood such as salmon roe (ikura), squid and shrimp, as well as some daikon cubes and an egg (I took the picture after the waitress mixed the egg in). I liked this bibimbap quite a bit, even though it wasn’t very “authentic”– the sea urchin didn’t overpower everything with its salty taste, but it was still present on the palate. As well, the shrimp and little pieces of squid served to break up the texture of the rice, which was a little bit on the wet side– but not too wet for a nice crust to form at the bottom of the bowl.

Based on my two visits there, I’d say that Kingyo is a restaurant worth going to again. The servers and hosts were extremely friendly and helpful, and while the restaurant was busy, the noise level wasn’t overbearing and I was still able to hold conversations with my friends. Most of the food was executed nicely, and I thought that prices were on par with other izakayas in the downtown area. If you do make the trip out, remember to make reservations!

Kingyo Izakaya
871 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC

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The Urban Tea Merchant (Pt. 1)

With exams and summer school and everything in between, I have to say that blogging wasn’t really on my mind for the past week or so– so I have to apologize for the delay in posting! Thank you for still reading on and visiting even though our (mostly my) posts have slowed down a bit.

Anyways. This first post after my impromptu hiatus is going to be a long one, so I’m actually going to split it into 2 posts– one today, and one tomorrow. In any case, brace yourselves for a plethora of pictures of open-faced tea sandwiches!

I usually have a hard time deciding on where to go with my mom for Mother’s Day, but luckily this year I had no trouble at all. Having been to The Urban Tea Merchant twice the previous year (for a birthday and  a bachelorette), I knew that I would get both scrumptious food and outstanding service, and so I made an online reservation a week beforehand to ensure we’d get a great evening.

We arrived at the Georgia location a little early for our 5:30pm reservation, and so we had the opportunity to browse through the storefront’s display of different teas. The staff were incredibly friendly from the get-go, informing us about the kinds of leaves they stock, and letting us know that they were preparing our table for us. Their advice definitely made choosing a tea for our meal a lot easier!

Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day, it made sense to order their $48 Mother’s Day Signature Tea Service, which includes a $6 tea of your choice, champagne, sorbet, plus the usual variety of savoury and sweet sandwiches and desserts. My mom and I started off with a pot each of Grand Wedding and Alfonso teas, both of which are black tea-exotic fruit combinations. Both these teas smelled strongly of fruit (mine had mango in it), but tasted rather light– generally, we like our teas a little stronger, but it wasn’t that big of a problem. We were also presented with two flutes of Pink Flamingo, a non-alcoholic tea cocktail. I was puzzled when we drank it as it didn’t taste like there was alcohol in it at all–turns out they didn’t think I was legal (even though I am– I guess it’s nice that I look younger than I really am, that could come in handy a few years down the road…) so they didn’t serve us the actual champagne cocktail. When I enquired with the manager, who had come by to check up on us, he promptly apologized and said he’d bring us the champagne right away. We didn’t really care if we got the champagne or not, since my mom and I aren’t really big on drinking, but it was really nice of him to give it to us even though we had already polished off the Pink Flamingo. So, here’s a photo of the Tea-Infused Champagne and White Wine Cocktail. I don’t know my alcohols very well, so all I can really say about this is that it was very refreshing and it tasted like what I expected (bubbly, grape-y, with a slight hint of green tea).

Next up our server brought us a palate-cleansing Peach Mint Sorbet, which was just right– not too sweet, and not too sour. You could really taste the peach flavour in it, and the mint leaf added a refreshing element to the pre-meal dessert (as my mom called it). Soon after we finished the sorbet, our server brought out the tea tower. I don’t have a picture of the whole thing because the middle tier of fresh-baked scones came a little while after the tower, and by then we had already eaten a few of the sandwiches. But you can imagine it, right? (:

They only brought over one tower so that our table wouldn’t be too crowded, so what you see in the picture to the left are the 7 savoury options, multiplied by 2. I had the Baby Shrimp and Granny Smith Apple spoon (bottom left corner) first– this was a really delicate starter, where you could taste the freshness of the diced shrimp amidst the mousse. The crispness of the green apples and the alfalfa sprouts gave this some extra texture. My mom and I thought this spoon was a little on the bland side, and definitely had to be eaten first so that the taste of the other, stronger-flavoured sandwiches wouldn’t overpower it.

We didn’t really eat in any particular fashion (ie. we didn’t follow the order of the sandwiches listed on the menu, and instead just ate whatever we felt like grabbing), so I had the Smoked Salmon & Wasabi Aioli with In-House Ponzu Jelly open-faced sandwich next… maybe I was subconsciously choosing to eat all the seafood first. This sandwich had a lot more flavour than the baby shrimp spoon before it, courtesy of the smoked salmon and ponzu jelly strip. However, the sandwich wasn’t overwhelmed with saltiness; rather, I felt that the ponzu (which was only lightly lemony) complimented the seasoned fish. I couldn’t really taste the wasabi aioli spread, though– I actually didn’t even know there WAS wasabi aioli until I looked at the menu again.

By the time I finished the smoked salmon sandwich, our server had brought out the fresh-baked scones– so of course I had to leave everything and eat that first (You could say that fresh-baked bread and pastries are my mom’s and my Kryptonite)! The left Cheese, Onion and Chive Scone was satisfyingly buttery and flakey, and my mom and I liked that these were indeed made fresh for our meal. All the flavours went really well together– I have had scones of this kind that were extremely (grossly) cheesy or oniony– but this one was a mild mixture of all the ingredients, and I almost didn’t want to put the cream on it because it tasted so good by itself. Almost. It IS devonshire cream… Anyway. The Petit Savoury Tart was basically a small square quiche– the crust was buttery and flakey, and the filling was cheesy. I think this might have been a tad overcooked though, as it was getting a little hard by the time we ate it. The smaller scone on the right is the Chocolate Chip Scone, which was a fruit scone the last two times I went for afternoon tea. No matter though– I’m not that big a fan of dried fruit, and I love chocolate chips– so no harm, no foul. This scone was a bit denser than the savoury one, and actually tasted a lot blander. I think it would have benefitted from more chocolate chips, as they were distributed quite sparsely throughout the scone.

Next I had one of my favourite things of the night– the Nilgiri Tea-Infused Egg Salad Sandwich, where the eggs were served devilled-style. I could tell that the restaurant put a lot of care into making each and every part of the tea set, and that was certainly exhibited in this sandwich. This was an overall delicate sandwich, where the egg yolk mixture was only lightly seasoned (my mom liked that it wasn’t ridiculously mayonnaise-y). It did get kinda messy though, as the bread wasn’t really able to hold up the heavier egg, but all that meant was that we had to cut it up into smaller pieces. My only qualm with this sandwich was that the eggs didn’t taste very tea-infused; as an Asian, I’ve had plenty of tea-infused eggs in my lifetime, and I have to say that this one was on the blander end of the spectrum. It’s not like we didn’t enjoy eating it, though.

So I’m going to save the rest of this post (the remaining sandwiches and desserts, plus my closing comments on service, price and overall experience) for tomorrow. Hopefully you’ll read this tonight and– if you’re stumped on what to do with your mom tomorrow–be inspired to do something fun with her! Thanks again for reading, and to all the mothers out there, Happy (Early) Mother’s Day!

The Urban Tea Merchant
1070 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC

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