Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Old Vines Restaurant at Quail's Gate

We went to Old Vines because our friend got engaged there and we thought it would be a special place to return to. We had received a call the day before to confirm the reservation, but when we showed up, we were told the table wasn't ready and that we would have to wait 15-20 minutes. They gave us free tasting at the Wine Shop, and I appreciate the gesture, but I would appreciate getting my table at the specified time more.

We finally got our table, after spending about 30 minutes at the wine shop. I told the hostess / manager that we were at Quail's Gate as part of a stagette and that the bride-to-be actually got engaged at the restaurant. She said "Oh really" and just ignored me. At other places, they would say congratulations, or thank us for coming back. She came off quite snooty and insincere.

As my meal, I decided to have two Lunch Appetizers instead of the Main Courses. The Main Courses just looked more like a dinner item to me: really heavy. I had the Elk Carpaccio and Farm Salad. 


The Elk Carpaccio was quite delicious, the elk was sliced perfectly: even and thin. When you have it altogether with the greens and the onion aioli, it combines perfectly in your mouth.


The salad was also quite successful. The vinaigrette was a perfect balance of sweet and sour and really brought out the sweetness of the beets, which ended up tasting like an earthy honeydew. They were perfectly cooked - wasn't too crunchy and wasn't too soft. Each element on the plate was good on its own and also together in one bite. The cheese was fresh and bright.


As dessert, as soon as the server told us one of the flavours of the day was "Lavender Honey," I forgot everything else she told us. Whenever I hear Lavender, I have to eat it. The ice cream was really well made - churned perfectly and you can still see the flecks of Vanilla. At first I thought it was a little too sweet, but as soon as I took a bite of the butter short bread, it really balanced. It normally comes in a three scoops, but we had it divided up into three ramekins to share.


Overall the food was delicious and the view very nice. However, given that there are so many other restaurants in the area also selling delicious food and nice views, I thought Quail's Gate would be a level above in terms of service. Unfortunately, the service was mediocre, and I'm not just talking about the snooty manager / hostess. Our server had entered a wrong / extra item in when taking our order and brought it out to us. She apologized later when she realized we didn't order it. However, when the bill came, it was still in the bill. I expected more and was disappointed. I would recommend visiting with low expectations - at least the food was good - but I likely won't return.

Old Vines Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KRAFTY Kitchen + Bar

We went to Kelowna's "second best" restaurant on Saturday night for dinner. I'd made the reservations in April as I was planning this trip. When we arrived, the hostess says she couldn't find my reservation and asked me which app I used. I told her I used Guestful and she says, "We don't use that app." I told her I clicked on it from their website and showed her the confirmation email. THEN she says, "Oh, we used to use it, but we transitioned to a new app in April." Then she offers us the patio. I don't understand why she couldn't do that in the first place instead of accusing me of not making reservations. Then she went out to "check on the table" and came back saying the table is ready without actually taking us or directing us there. We walked towards the door to be stopped by a busser who abruptly asked if we knew where our table was and then took us there.


We ordered three appetizers to share - originally it was supposed to be four, but they ran out of the chicken wings. We settled for the Butcher's Paper, 7 Layer Dip, and Espanol Fries.

This is the 7 Layer Dip, which contained tuna pate, seaweed, black bean, and served with quinoa rice chips. The dip was very salty, but not to the point where you would feel sick. Paired with the excessively bland rice chip, it was a very well-balanced bite.


The Butcher's Paper comes with 2 oz of housemade charcuterie, bread, and picked grapes. The charcuterie lacked seasoning and tasted a bit like the deli meat you get from the market. The bread was burnt and bitter. We really enjoyed the mustard, but it wasn't enough to save the dish.


The Espanol Fries was basically potato cubes smothered in tomato gastrique, buttermilk vinaigrette and (a lot of) paprika. It is a lie to call these fries. Although it was flavourful with an interesting tinge of sweetness. It was overwhelmed with paprika.


As my meal, I ordered the Shafty Burger. I ordered this because I thought that this restaurant was opened by Kaila Klassen from MasterChef Canada and her dream was to open a burger place. Turns out she wasn't a part of the restaurant at all - I wasn't her fan, but the show made it seem like she can make a good burger. Luckily, this is a farm to table restaurant and they grind their meat in house so I was allowed to order my burger medium. The burger patty was quite juicy, and perfectly cooked. The chips that came with it didn't taste anything special. Overall, I wasn't impressed with the burger.


Two of the other people at my table ordered the Braised Pork Belly. I was told it was very delicious and tender. The Kale had soaked up the broth and made it very taste as well. The only downside was that it was too large. I have been to restaurants (like Cin Cin) who offer half portions of food. Perhaps KRAFTY should consider this for the future.


Another two ordered the Octopus Tagliatelle, which was apparently "just okay" and also had too much paprika.


Of course, we had to have dessert. We had the Earl Grey Panna Cotta, which was more like a custard than a Panna Cotta - it didn't set at all. The flavour was good though, it tasted very strongly of Earl Grey.


Negatives: The hostess was really rude - she didn't even apologize for the mix up with the reservations. The restaurant running out of the chicken wings and housemade ceaser mix signifies how poorly managed it is. The mix apparently takes three days and they ran out the day before. My question is why they didn't make more when they started running low. 

Positives: Our server was very nice and on the ball. We were there for about 3 hours and she never rushed us or anything. The food was decent - not the best that I've had, but decent.

Overall, a decent place. It gave the impression that it was overrated, so I probably won't return. I would like to try new places and if I were to return to a place, I had a better experience at Waterfront Wines.

KRAFTY kitchen + bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 10 June 2016

Naruto Sushi

We went to Naruto as it was on the way home and highly rated in Zomato. I don't know when this happened, but B and I have turned into sushi snobs.

The place was small and filled out quite quickly. We took that as a good sign. It was debatable.

First came the Takoyaki. The spheres were uneven and there were not enough flakes on top, so the Takoyaki lacked the movement you would normally find on it. The filling was good enough though. It was a mix of puréed and diced Tako, which gave it a good texture. The sauce was also decent.


Along with the Takoyaki was the Assorted Sashimi Platter. It came with 3 pieces tuna / salmon / sockeye salmon and 2 pieces of Tako / Hokkigai. The tuna was a bit fishy for our tastes, like it's been sitting out for too long. The Atlantic Salmon was fine. The sockeye was too tough. The Tako was a bit slimy in the middle. The Hokkigai was also just fine.


Next came the Nigiri: chopped scallop, ikura, unagi, toro, and Saba. The chopped scallop didn't have the silky pearly texture I normally like. It was rather mushy. The ikura was very fishy and didn't have the salt I craved. There was also very little of it and so I could see the rice underneath the roe. The unagi was very tough and I felt like I was eating sandpaper. The seaweed on all three were tough and unpleasant to chew on. The toro was decent enough. The Saba was quite fishy and felt like it was cooked. All three of the unagi, toro, and Saba could have had half the amount of rice.


Last came the Crazy Tuna Roll, which contained tuna tempura, cheese, cucumber, spicy tuna, Jalepeno and fish roe. This might have been Naruto's saving grace. It was the best dish of the night. The textures worked well together and nothing was overpowering the other.



Overall, I won't return because it's quite mediocre and I'm willing to pay a bit extra for better food. I would recommend it to that old uncle looking for a cheap and filling meal, and maybe those people who aren't adventurous enough to try sashimi and nigiris and just prefer to have rolls all the time.

Naruto Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 13 May 2016

Hime Sushi

We wanted to try Hime since it was on our way home.

First we had the Deluxe Sashimi, it says there's 20 pieces, but we're pretty sure there were more. The sashimi were good. The uni was a little stale, but still better than most. The Saba was especially good, had a bit of lemon, and not fishy at all. The Tako was prepared well- well sliced. The rest was normal.


Next we had the Toro Battera, which was good. We loved the Jalepeno on top. I thought the rice was kind of dense and the overall bite was not melty enough.


We also got the Aburi Sushi Combo. It came with one of Toro, Tuna, Salmon, Sockeye, Saba, and Chopped Scallop. The chopped scallop was REALLY good, that was the only thing that melted in my mouth. It was creamy and fresh. Everything else was also very good. There was a nice balance of smokiness and creaminess from the sauce.


Of course, no sushi place visit is complete without the usual J & B Club roll (slalom and cream cheese) and nigiris. The great thing about the roll was that you can actually choose between salmon, tuna and ebi. It was well balanced, with a good amount of cream cheese, and you can still feel the texture of the salmon. The nigiris were also very good. The ikura was served at the perfect temperature and popped in your mouth. The seaweed was still crispy. The unagi was well seasoned and well cooked. LOVED.


I would definitely return and recommend. The service was great-professional and quick.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Sushiyama

We were craving sushi and Sushiyama was on our way home so we stopped in to try a restaurant that had a 4.0 rating on Zomato.

  
Run by Koreans, the decor and atmosphere was quite bland and functional. The tabletops were a bit sticky. Nothing really echoing a Japanese run restaurant at all.


Having a special board was neat and let's you know what's fresh and in season. It makes life a lot easier by limiting what you order, given the extensive menu.


B hasn't had tonkatsu in what seems like a lifetime, so he immediately knew what he wanted. The tonkatsu was good, exactly what he wanted. It was a little on he tough side, but the flavour and crispness was all there. It came with miso, rice and salad.


I ordered a bunch of nigiri sushi. Above, from bottom to top, we have Hamachi Toro, Toro, and Shima Aji. The Hamachi Toro was a pleasant surprise. It was very velvety fatty and not fishy at all, with a hint of lemon. The Toro was not as fatty as expected. The texture tasted very much like normal Tuna, but at least it wasn't fishy. The Shima Aji had very good mouth feel, a bit of crunch and tastes not at all overwhelming like mackerel normally tastes.


From bottom to top again, we have the uni, ikura, and unagi. The uni was the fourth nigiri on the dish that I ate. I think I made a tactical mistake. I should have eaten it first because the seaweed sat for too long and became very chewy. The uni itself was fresh and well prepared - it wasn't too fishy or overly mushy. It was creamy but still had a bit of texture. The seaweed on the ikura was similarly tough, and the salmon roe itself was not as fresh as I'd hope. It didn't "pop" in my mouth and had a stronger fish taste than normal. Lastly the unagi was okay. It wasn't extraordinary, the sauce was fine. I don't hate it, but I was hoping for a melt in my mouth kind of experience, so I was left a little disappointed.


B had the Hokkigai and the Torigai. The Hokkigai was fine. The Torigai was a little bit chewy. They were acceptable; nothing exceptional.


Of course B had to order the Tako Sashimi. It was also just fine. It wasn't mushy or fishy - like some places that don't prepare them well. But it wasn't exceptional either. It was a little on the chewy side. It didn't have the nice crunch that good Tako has. Although the slices were thin, they were a bit uneven - indicative of some poor knife skills.


Lastly, of course we always try the Salmon Sashimi, although I'm not sure why anymore. This salmon was so bland I kind of left feeling like I don't like salmon anymore. Also, the pieces on the left were colder than the pieces on the right, and left my teeth a bit numb. They weren't terrible, but they were so underwhelming, I was a bit angry about it.

Overall, I think Sushiyama has the 4.0 rating because of the price. Some of the fresh nigiri were good, but it didn't make up for the underwhelming nature of everything else. I left the establishment feeling a little nauseated, so I likely won't return. B would recommend it if you're looking for cheap sushi, especially cheap nigiri. I personally would rather pay a little more money for better quality food. The service was prompt and friendly, but sometimes that's just not enough.

Sushiyama Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Glowbal

My parents bought us a "Sunday Night Four Course Dinner for Two" at Glowbal, so we finally visited the new Telus Garden tonight.


The place was really large - I think their patio can seat more than some restaurants.


The deal comes with a glass of white or red wine and options to upgrade or add on to the main course.


The first course was a Robata Roasted Oyster with provencale beading, shallots, bacon, and horseradish cream. The presentation was elegant and simple and the oysters tasted very nice. It wasn't fishy at all, while retaining the taste of oyster. The cream was nice and rich and balanced by the bacon, but didn't overpower the oyster.


The second course was a boston wedge salad with bacon, crispy onions, egg, tomato, and roquefort blue cheese. While each plate looked nice, you can tell the kitchen was kind of rushed because the plates don't look identical to each other. The iceberg lettuce was fresh and the sauce was creamy and tangy at the same time. The only down side was the onions not being crispy.


The third course was the surf & turf. It's a 10oz New York strip with a jumbo tiger prawn, wild mushroom marsala demi-glace, seasonal vegetables, and mashed potatoes. The New York strip was very tender and juicy and cooked to a perfect rare.


I had upgraded mine to the snake river wagyu, but unfortunately, it was almost indistinguishable from the New York strip. While it was also juicy and tender, it did not meet my expectations of what "wagyu" beef should be. In my experience, Wagyu beef should be extensively marbled and basically melts in your mouth. The slice of beef I had at Glowbal was tough to cut because of the slab of tendon attached to it and was not the texture I expected. Granted, the New York strip also had a huge slab of tendon attached to it.

Otherwise, the prawn was sweet and perfectly cooked and the demi-glace was flavourful and the right consistency. I also enjoyed how thick the mashed potatoes were. The only thing I didn't like was how undercooked the vegetables were - although B liked the crispness.


As dessert, we had warm beignets to share. There were a total of ten beignets (2 per person) crammed into a tiny bowl with no forks or plates. However, the server brought us forks promptly after we requested it. Despite some consistency issues, they were very tasty. The jim beam caramel sauce balanced the cinnamon sugar very well and neither overpowered the other.


Overall we had a good experience. While our server was very professional and polite, we were unfortunately seated at a round table in the corner where she was forced to reach over some of us to distribute and collect our plates. We will likely only return if there were another deal or special, as we would not have enjoyed the experience at full price.


Glowbal Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kishimoto

We were in the area so we decided to go to Kishimoto since it has a rating of 4.4 on Zomato. We were there a lot earlier than our friends, around 5:30pm, so we went in to put our name down. The wait was supposed to be 40-60 minutes. Perfect, we thought. They didn't actually text us after 60 minutes, so we went back to the restaurant to confirm and were seated around 6:45pm.

The restaurant itself was quite small. The entire back area was curtained off for I assume the kitchen instead of more seating. I also think their exhaust fans were too weak because there was a lingering fried or smoked food smell in the air. The benches along the walls were also either too short or too soft (or both). I'm not tall, so when I sank right into the bench, I felt like a child eating at the adult table. It was rather uncomfortable. At least it appeared clean.


First up we had the Calamari. It was really well battered and fried to a perfect crispness. It was very light. I couldn't pinpoint where I'd tasted the seasoning, but it was addictive. I was actually picking up bits of seasoning and just eating it without the calamari.


We saw on Zomato that their "pressed box style" sushi were popular, so we decided to order the Unagi Oshisushi, which is the barbecue eel with creamy sauce and a cucumber on top. As soon as I bit into it, it just melted in my mouth. The smoky flavour from the torched eel was present but not overwhelming and everything else was very well balanced.


As usual, B needed his cream cheese fix, so we also had the Philadelphia Roll. I liked how small the roll was, with only a thin layer of rice. Nothing was overpowering the other and everything went together very well.


We have now decided that the best way to decide whether a sushi place is good or not, is the freshness and the way they prepare their Tako Sashimi. Kishimoto prepared their Tako very well. It was not at all rubbery or slimy. It was easy to bite into and the texture created by the way they sliced it was quite nice. It was very fresh.


Last we had the Ikura Nigiri, which is my must have. Unfortunately, it was way too salty. This is one of the rare occasions where I actually thought they needed more rice in their nigiri to balance out the saltiness of the salmon roe. Otherwise, we were quite impressed by how fresh and crispy the seaweed was.


Overall the service was good, the presentation stellar, and the food above par. We will likely not return as I personally rarely ever wait in line for a meal. While their food was good and well presented, I ultimately visit a restaurant for good food and not their presentation. There are other restaurants in the city that offer similar quality food for a more reasonable price and no wait time. I'd recommend it if you had 2-3 hours of free time.

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 4 March 2016

Anda Miro Korean Restaurant

We had been meaning to go to Anda Miro for a while since it opened so close to home.


Once we stepped in, we noticed how sparse it was. But at least it was clean. That's the most important thing.


Beer was reasonably priced. At first I wanted to have the Makgulli, but it was more than triple the price you'd pay at BC Liquor so I just couldn't bring myself to order it. The pitcher of Asahi was only $16.50.


We decided to order the $30 Dinner Special meant for 2-3 people. Of course it came with the usual sides. I was a little disappointed that there were no potatoes.


First up was the chap chae. It was good. I liked that it was dense - lots of vegetables and meat. Each bite held more than just noodles. Well seasoned and well cooked.


Next was the LA Bulgolgi. It was very flavourful. B wished there was more sauce to put on his rice, but I thought it was perfect. I thought it was a tad undercooked because it was harder to get off the bone than normal.


Next was the seafood pancake. As usual it was decent. Well seasoned, nice balance of flavours, and evenly distributed. We didn't even need the sauce that went with it. B wished it was a little crispier.


Last was the sundubu. We wished it was a little spicier, but it was good. It was flavourful, and STUFFED full of seafood. There were two mussels and two shrimps jammed in this tiny bowl. The egg was a nice touch, I don't normally see that.

Overall it was good. Solid food, good value. We ended up packing more than half the food home for lunch tomorrow. We would come back and definitely recommend it.

Andamiro Korean Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato