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Month: February 2018 Page 1 of 2

Liuyishou Hotpot, #hotpotweek2018

Open for two years now, “Liuyishou” serves Chongqing style Chinese hot pot with a whole lot of fun. They are especially known for their elevated spicy hot pot experience, and after this post, you will know them for a lot more.

This isn’t all you can eat hot pot, you simply order as you go. But I can guarantee all of it is quality, with plenty of value from the self serve cold appetizer and sauce bar, which only costs you $2.50 for unlimited dish refills.

They have three locations, and today we were at the Robson one for dinner. And this, my first visit with them coincided with a special event. Sunday, February 26 to March 2, 2018 is “Liuyishou Hotpot Week”. They are inviting all customers across Canada (they have other locations out East) to enjoy a celebratory Chinese New Year themed dinner. A set dinner for a pair of two, or a group of four. With the menu for Vacnouverites also including beer pairings, a West Coast exclusive presented by “Vancouver Gourmet Tours”. “Liuyishou” is working with “Red Truck Brewery” to present their diners with the perfect local craft beer, ideal in complementing their special hotpot broth. Your options are “Red Truck’s” Lager, Dark Lager, or IPA.

This holiday dinner special is only available from 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm, daily. The dinner set for 2 is $68, we got the set for 4 at $120. And upon reflection it is a steal at $30 per person. During this promotion, access to the sauce bar is included in the cost, along with desserts, appetizers, and the afore mentioned beer pairings. This, along with your typical hot pot ingredient line up. You have a few choices in the otherwise pre set menu. You are able to select a few here and a few there from an assortment of seafood, vegetables, and meats to cook in your hot pot. Everything normally available on their regular menu, carefully curated for you here.

The sauce bar is reason enough for me to come back. Often times, the issue with hot pot is that everything is cooked in the same broth and it starts tasting the same. Or restaurants don’t give you enough sauce for multiple courses, and then charge you separately for every one topping our drizzle you want to add on. Here, one fee gives you unlimited access. With over 29 different dry and wet ingredients to mix and match to your delight. The combinations and their flavour possibilities are endless, therefore each bite, each visit, and all the flavours found within can be too. Soy bean power, chilli powder, peanuts, preserved turnip, sesame seeds, and cumin; to name a few of the dry ones. Soy sauce, chilli sauce, seafood sauce, oyster sauce, bean curd paste, and spiced vinegar; to name a few liquids. And if you are having difficulty mixing and matching, your place mat offers suggestions.

Unfortunately you cannot just walk in and order this special like a combo, you must purchase tickets and make a reservation in advance, citing your claimed holiday special ticket(s) in order to partake. This ticket price does not include gratuity, so please keep that in mind when you are settling up. Once again, at $30 per person for all the food below, it is well worth your time and money.

To get your tickets visit the link:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/vancouver-gourmet-tours-16495752595

And after you purchased your tickets, you are automatically entered in a draw to win a VIP tour of the “Red Truck Brewing’s” factory. And I am sure beer tasting is part of that VIP experience.

We came on time for our designated dinner, but were asked to wait as our table settled up and cleared. During this time spent in their foyer, we were able to sit on their cushioned benches, and check off the options we were given for our set menu. And as we did that, we were offered paper cups of their hot barley tea. It was nice to be given such consideration, and to be told about its health benefits.

Just around the corner, the restaurant is divided into rows. Three rows of booths, and a fourth row of tables that can be pushed together to form a larger seating. Each with its own ventilation system and sprinklers for safety precautions. Along the walls each table is hung with a string of garlic bulbs and red chilli peppers. They compliment the decorative light fixtures that strongly resemble giant, orange, glowing garlic bulbs.

By the time we were seated, we already knew what we were going to order. We submitted our special menu sheet with all the appropriate boxes checked off. You start by choosing two out of the three following soup bases. One for each side of your split pot. It is worth noting thst this is one of the deepest hot pot, pots that I had the pleasure of fishing out of. We went with their signature “House spicy soup base”, which delivers on its promise of heat in taste and colour. And the “special pork rib”, for those like myself who can’t take the heat.

If and when available, you also have the option of adding on one of their signature, photogenic cattle shaped soup bases. It is their mascot cow (the same one that greeted you outside the door as your entered. His image was mounded from processed butter, and he stood in the pot until he had no more feet to stand on. Very quickly he was left to melt as the broth boiled and thickened thanks to him.

Next you choose three from the list of “Special food select”. We went for the deep fried pork, sliced lotus root, and “Kung fu” potato slices. The first of our selection was already cooked, the other two required a boiling dip in broth.

The deep fried pork, was exactly as its name read. Crispy strips of pork dipped into chilli flakes and powder. It quickly became our appetizer as we waited for our hot pot to boil before we could add any of the ingredients that were quickly accumulating.

Then you choose four proteins out of eight. We went for their marbled beef slices, pork belly slices, house special shrimp paste, and handmade beef balls. I really appreciated all the effort they put into presentation, which added so much value and prestige to our meal.

We exercised the option to have one of the servers assist us in doling out the shrimp paste. It came moulded into hearts and using a spoon he scoop them into ball, before plopped them into to broth to boil solid. Seeing as I like the texture of the seafood and meat balls common at hot pot, I enjoyed this one a fair bit.

For vegetables you simply got their prearrange platters with four different kinds of leafy greens. I much preferred the mixed mushroom platter that you also got. This included over six different types of mushrooms like oyster, button, enoki, and black fungus. Both large wooden trays were delivered to our table, and left on a three tiered rack at the end of it. This gave us the ability to store excess plates as our table quickly lost real estate.

Next you get a choice of two starches. We went with the deep fried buns with condense milk for dipping, and noodles for cooking for our two options. The third option is egg fried rice. Crispy buns, slightly salted, dipped into a thick sweet gravy of milk. They served as a great salty and sweet mid meal break.

You also get the chef’s recommended “glutinous rice cakes” served with a sugar syrup dip. This too can go either way between side dish and dessert. At this point I am re-acknowledging how great of a deal this is. $30 for all these extra sides and drinks! And as I mentioned earlier, drinks are one of three “Red Truck” beers for each person, or plum juice for those who don’t drink.

For desert everyone gets their own “bing fen” cold jelly. A bowl of gelatine in cane syrup with chopped up honey dew chunks and raisins. It made for a great way to cleanse oneself from the heavy meal before.

From here we added on a few extras seeings as our group was actually a quintet and the set menu above is only for four. We went for unique items you can’t normally find on any other menu, and items I have never had in hot pot.

Quail eggs are a favourite of mine, and not many places offer it for hot pot. It’s nice to have an egg that you can completely and easily pop into your mouth.

“Ox throat slices” (artery) is a new one for me. They looked like calamari rings, but with a texture all their own. Rubbery like chewy squid, but grainy and gritty like cartilage. Though ultimately this is a texture like no other, and if you can’t get over it, you won’t be able to appreciate it.

We also added on an order of braised spicy frog legs. Not only are frog legs not common on most menus, but I have never seen it offered in hot pot before. It was full of flavour once cooked. And like they say, it tastes like chicken with its tender, white meat similarities.

And seeing a photo of it advertised at the end of our table, I couldn’t go without ordering their “meat Barbie” (I am calling it this, because I am unable to read their Chinese sign). This is a plastic doll with thin slices of angus beef draped over her and a head of cabbage (used as the base of the dress), in order to have her look like she is wearing a meat dress a la Lady Gaga. The intended serving includes a bevy of seafood at the base of her gown for $50. Muscles, shrimp, clams, tuna, and cuttlefish. However, we were getting full and I didn’t want to commit to that price. So the kitchen was able to do a substitution and give us all meat for half the cost. Novelty, shock factor, and marketing aside; the meat was good. A great cut that cooked up deliciously. My regret was waiting to the end to order this, and not being able to enjoy it on an emptier stomach. We all walked out incredibly full.

Oh and your meal also comes with bibs to keep red splashes from ruining your clothes. A plastic cover that reads you love “Liuyishou Hotpot”. I have also never been given a bib for hot pot before, but considering you are cooking at your table, you ought to be.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
If they keep thinking out side the box with their specials like this, I will no doubt be back. Where else can you find beer pairings, meat Barbie, and the tools necessary for being your own sauce boss? Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LIUYISHOU HOTPOT
1542 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C2
778-379-3977
Liuyishou Hotpot Robson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

For more information on this event, visit the link below.

Liuyishou Hotpot Week 2018 during Chinese New Year

Jang Mo Jib, Kingsway

The requirements for this dinner was a restaurant serving family style dishes that isn’t a Chinese one. One that proved difficult, so we ended at this Korean chain as our best option. Their’s a venue that offered plenty of seating, larger tables, and the possibility to order a handful of different dishes to feed a larger group of eight. So this became our destination to enjoy a belated Chinese New Year dinner with extended family at.

Located on Kingsway, a few blocks from Metrotown, driving to and parking is a breeze. Except that the lot was surprisingly filled this Sunday.

The restaurant is divided into two parts. The seating on the left paired smaller parties and couples together. We were seated on the right with other large groups who needed tables pushed up against booths (like our party did), in order to seat them all. The extended room glows with the red accents that highlighted the ceiling. Wooden dividers gave privacy between tables, and provided extra surfaces for posters and signs advertising their specials. Although the menu did a good enough job tantalizing us with all its colourful and vivid photos. The walls were decorated with Asiatic art. Pandas at play, dipping valleys and rushing water ways, twisted trees and spiral-ing streams, and a dragon gliding between the clouds.

We ordered as a group and were surprised by the speed in which it all arrived. The food came one after another, starting with the complimentary sides and rice. These, we were informed that we could have as much as we wanted. They all helped to provide a nice palette refresher with their tangy tastes, chill temperature, and their use as a neutral base for all the stronger flavours to follow.

A green salad with vinaigrette offered freshness. The chilled soy beans, crunch. The sweet chilled potatoes and the spicy daikon gave you a base for all your tasty meats. And the kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine with its pickled tang. All together, five great sides to enjoy atop rice.

“Goon mahn doo”. Pan fried Korean style beef and pork dumplings, served with house special soy sauce for dipping. They were chewy with a good crispy skin from the pan fry.

“L.A. Gahl Bee”. Korean traditional BBQ beef short ribs marinated with house special BBQ sauce. It was described as being rolled on charcoal, which gave it its nice char, but it was very hard to eat. We didn’t realize that, that is what the scissors on the table were for. And that we were suppose to cut it down to smaller pieces, to have everyone be able to pick from it. In smaller bites it was delicious.

“Bool Go Gee”. Korean traditional stir fried beef rib eye and vegetables marinated with house special BBQ sauce. Served in a sizzling hot plate like teriyaki without all that sauce and sweetness. I felt it had way too much onion compared to meat available.

“Go Dung uh goo wee”, grilled Norwegian mackerel. Salty white fish with crispy skin. I am sure there are tiny bones to be aware of, but I lucked out by missing most of them. Flavourful, yet fragrant enough to enjoy as is.

“Yang nyum chicken”. Deep fried chicken wings tossed in house special spicy sauce. larger pieces of wings and drumlets battered heavily with your choice of spice level. We requested it only a little spicy.

The “Jab che” was one of my favourites of the night. Stir fried sweet potato noodle with assorted vegetable and beef cooked in a house special marinade sauce. I like the noodles the most, so was disappointed to get more onion then slippery strands. But the flavour was great and all the other julienned vegetables offered a great texture to chew through.

The “Gam ja tahng” was most impressive of our seven dishes. Korean traditional pork back and neck bone soup with green onion, regular onion, vegetables, and potato. Available in either a small or large size, this is the large served in a hot pot, kept boiling over a camp stove. The broth was full of flavour, lending plenty of it to the large chunks of meat on bone, the large potatoes halves, and onion quarters. Although I was only partial to the tender cuts of meat, taking it in as I sipped spoonfuls of the peppery soup. A great dish to warm up to on a cold day.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A standup place for Korean cuisine with a large group. A great meal, where everyone left with happy bellies, no complaints. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

JANG MO JIB
5075 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 2E6
604-439-0712
jangmojib.ca
Jang Mo Jib Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hyundai Elantra GT Sport 2018 review

This week we were seen driving around Vancouver in the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT Sport. Initially mistaking that we would be getting the larger, and not as sporty Sonata, it was a nice surprise seeing and receiving the keys for this burnt orange, little, Korean hatchback.

Even though Hyundai is a Korean manufacturer, the Elantra GT was mostly developed in Europe, under the watchful eyes of Albert Biermann. Biermann is better known as the the show runner of BMW’s M division.So with him at the helm, he included some additional finesse into the Elantra, making sure that the GT sport wasn’t just a regular sedan with a 5th door slapped onto the back. For instance, it has a shorter wheel base, its own suspension setup, a more advanced interior tech, and a totally different and more powerful engine.

Styling wise the GT has a sophisticated look to it, which included some European flair. You could tell by the detailing that the car was originally designed for the European market. It comes standard with 18inch wheels and dual chrome exhaust. Stepping inside, the first thing you notice is the burnt orange accents that compliment the paint job. Orange detailing on the dash, seats, and seat belts. Speaking of seats, they were ventilated, and comfortable. The front two came with the option for heating, just like the steering wheel did.

The 8inch touchscreen at the centre of the dash was quick and responsive. And being able to select AppleCar play and play music on an Infinity premium audio system from Harman was a nice a feature. Even better with the volume up and the window downs. Or just the panoramic sunroof, giving the dark interior some brightness when you have the chance.

The Elantra also has a bunch of safety features like driver assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and blind-spot warning. Your vehicle now intuitively takes care of you, as it takes you from “A” to “B”.

The main reason to get the Elantra sports model is of course the more powerful engine. Thanks to its 1 turbo engine the GT makes 201hp and 195lb-ft, compared to the 162hp naturally aspirated 2.0 engine in the lower trim models. The model we specifically test drove comes with a dual clutch, 7 speed automatic transmission, which my partner enjoyed. He liked having the paddles behind the steering.

And when driving around town the suspension felt really composed. Generally, a nice smooth ride, but firm enough to remind you how well it can perform once you hit those windy roads. Compared to the standard Elantra, the GT Sport gets a fully independent suspension all around, with a multilink setup in the rear. It also has stiffer spring rate and bigger sway bars. And all the above really helps to improve the handling of the hot hatch compared the other models equipped with its torsion beam.

In conclusion, we really enjoy the Elantra GT sport hatch, it may not be the best in class, but it has all the right things in all the right places. Thanks for the #WhipOfTheWeek Hyundai.

https://www.hyundaicanada.com
#HyundaiElantraSportGT

Takashi Murakami inspired dinner at Market by Jean-Georges

Having already visited the Vancouver Art Gallery’s showing of Takashi Murakami ‘s “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” (February 3rd to May 6th, 2018), and being so enamoured with the art exhibition, I jumped at the chance to enjoy more of Murakami’s whimsical offerings in the form of a dinner.

But first, to check out my review of the exhibit, my clicking on the link to my blog post below.

Takashi Murakami at the Vancouver Art Gallery

 

“Market by Jean-Georges”, and their executive chef, Ken Nakano prepared a five course tasting menu, where each course was inspired by the art of Murakami. But whereas the art exhibit would be ongoing for 3 months, the “Murakami-Inspired Tasting Menu” will only be offered daily at “Market” from February 5th to 28th, 2018. It costs  $120 per person, and for $60 extra you get a drink that pairs with each course. However, we simply choose one to try at $15 for the glass.

I have never been to “Market” before, so didn’t know what to expect, but given that it is located on the third floor of one of Vancouver downtown’s ritziest hotels, the “Shangri La” I knew a view and a dressier setting were in store. “Market” was a great choice of venue, not only because of its walking distance from the gallery, but because the gallery’s offsite art exhibit is located by it.

You rode the elevator at the hotel’s lobby up, or took the exterior elevator up to the overpass and entered through their elevated patio. The restaurant’s foyer and a few of its lighting fixtures coincidently resembled octopi with their curled “tentacles” of glass.

We were given a table in their half glass room, it overlooked the luxury retail intersection of Alberni and Thurlow. It certainly offered a one of a kind view, making it a destination I would suggest for any date night or celebratory occasion. White table cloths, cloth napkins, and servers in dress shirts and vests.

Given that  this was a set menu, leaving the bifold list was simply ceremonious. Each course was visually inspired by one of Murakami’s pieces of art. Its thumbnail was printed above the dish’s description so that you could make that comparison once each course arrived.

To skip the reading and simply watch the vlog version of this post, check out my latest YouTube video documenting my full Takashi Murakami experience. The first half celebrates his exhibit at the art gallery, and the second the wonderful dinner to follow!

 

 

We started with some warm complementary bread. A collection of sour dough, multigrain, and walnut and onion slices offered with butter.

We followed it with one of the tasting menu’s signature cocktails. Its suggested pairing was with dessert, but given it was confirmed to be the most “visually impressive” of the five cocktail offerings, we started with and made it our only glass of the night. The “Sunflower Sour” was basically a whiskey sour with its sweeter flavour and egg white foam. But crowning it was a pattern of Murakami’s iconic smiling rainbow flowers printed on rice paper. This whimsy was reason enough to visit, just to order it for $15 and to take your photos.

The first course was inspired by Murakami”s “Lotus Flower”, in the colour of the broth. “Madai bean, sunchoke soup, sorrel, and Tonka beans”. Tender, flakey, white fish sitting in a pool of cream and foam. You drank it like soup, and it was dense like soup, but with an airy texture that you licked off your spoon like pudding. This first course was a great way to foreshadow the quality of dishes and the uniqueness of all the flavours to come.

Had we chosen to, this would have been paired with their “Osake Junmai Sparkling sake”.

The “Foie Gras, cherry meringue, and hibiscus gel” was inspired by Murakami’s “Zuzazazazaza” in the way the splashes of red gel resembled the painting’s splotchy character. This was the ideal quantity of foie gras, paired with crostini as a base. The sweetness of the jelly and the meringue were perfect in balancing out the richness of the luscious duck liver. Once again, this dish was completely different from the last, and its combination on the plate different from anything else you have had. Such courses made you think about what it is you are actually tasting and enjoying.

The would be drink pairing for this was a “Japanese highball”.

Naturally an octopus dish had to make an appearance somewhere on this menu. And this “Roasted beet risotto, charred octopus, and nori tenkasu”, was inspired by the painting and the exhibition’s name sake: “Octopus eats its own leg”. This was my favourite dish of the night. It had an earthy and smokey quality to it, thanks to the octopus ink used to dye and flavour the tender risotto. And here they did not skimp on the octopus, a few tentacles left un-sauced, and plenty chopped up and mixed in with the risotto. I did skip the greens, as I do not like them, nor did I find that the dish was necessarily missing a fresh component. The rice was already so tasty and perfect as it is.

If I was to try another cocktail it would have been with the “Octopus Michelada”, paired with this course. I wonder if it used octopus ink or juices to earn its name?

The fourth course was inspired by Murakami’s “Enso”, a painting that was a simple, thick, inky black circle. The plate paid homage to it with its own inky round, circling the “Grilled wagyu flat iron steak, celeriac, tamari demi-glace, and perigord black truffle”. Here they used black sesame as their “ink”, but sadly it was only present for show, because the circle was crusted on and you couldn’t smear any of it on to your food. As for the steak, it didn’t have the pink and while marbling you’d expect from waygu. But it was a well prepared medium rare. The seasoning of the steak was tangy and salty with the truffle flakes, together they balanced and emphasized by the sweetness of the creamy celeriac.

This would have been partnered with a “Ventisquero grey glacier single block Cabernet Sauvignon” for sipping.

And dessert was inspired by Takashi Murakami’s “Flower Ball”, but without the iconic print also used in the dessert, it was harder to see the resemblance. “Floral panna cotta with wild rose crumble and basil”. I did not really get any floral flavouring in this. It was a nice panna cotta, and I enjoyed the various textures surrounding it, lending its crunch and chew to the other wise plain and softened jello-like dome.The popping bubbles filled with juice, the ground up butter cookie crumbles, the refreshing fruit, and the crunchy sugar crystals that reminded me of less tangy “nerds” candy. A good palette refresher to end on, but not as stunning when compared to all the savoury dishes before it. I guess there had to be a least favourite in my list, and this is it.

Once again, this was paired with a “Sunflower Sour” we had earlier.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Each course was inspired by a piece of his art, a true representation of Takashi Murakami’s work on an edible platform, a great dinner and way to round out a great cultural showing in our fair city. Given how delicious everything was and how impressed I am with my time spent here, I will definitely like to return for a taste off their regular menu. As well, to spent more time with their unique view, and enjoying their elevated patio once summer rolls around. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MARKET
Shangri-La Hotel, Level 3
1115 Alberni Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 0A8
604-695-1115
shangri-la.com/vancouver/shangrila/dining/restaurants/market-by-jean-georges
Market by Jean-Georges - Shangri-La Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Takashi Murakami at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Takashi Murakami’s the Octopus eats its own leg exhibition.

 

I don’t pretend to know art. Not often am I able to understand the meaning of a piece behind what I see in its texture and colour. I appreciate the time it takes to create something from nothing, and the love and passion an artist puts forth into it. I can imagine myself in their shoes, but not begin to imagine what that creative process and completion climax must feel like. So sadly and ashamedly I appreciate art more for superficial reasons.

When I see something, I know I love it when I want to capture it on “film”. To be able to have a part of it and keep it longer in my memory through a photo. And for that very reason I knew Takashi Murakami’s work spoke to me. Not to mention I was already familiar with him through his pop culture references. His smiling daisies have iconically graced Louis Vuitton handbags that I have coveted in my youth. And his hip hop teddy bear sky-rocketed off on the cover of one of my favourite Kayne West albums: “Graduation”.

So when Vancouver Art Gallery’s latest exhibit featuring his work opened this February, I made plans to visit. I scheduled this visit on a weekday afternoon, hoping to avoid a busier time, and a crowd of like mind people, I knew would follow this trend. I could only imagine all the young females dressed up and working to achieve their best selfie to date, using Murakami’s work as wallpaper. Sadly for me, Monday at 3pm was not it. But I made it work, to capture photos for this post and a video too.

To see a walking tour of the exhibit and get excited to come down yourself, click on the link. And continue watching to check out the Murakami inspired dinner I enjoyed at “Market by jean-georges”.

 

“Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist. He works in fine arts media as well as commercial media and is known for blurring the line between high and low arts” (as taken off wikipedia). “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg” is the first ever major retrospective of his work in Canada. His show runs at the Vancouver Art Gallery from February 3rd to May 6th, 2018. Admission is $25 per person.

During the unveiling of this showcase in Vancouver, he has been photographed with wavy hair at the length of his beard, round spectacles and a suit coat with matching shorts as colourful as his work. And to finish his look off, he dawned a complementary coloured plush octopus crafted into a hat, on his head. What a fun representation of what this exhibit and he is all about!

I won’t be reviewing anything within the museum, as I already admitted that this is not my forte, nor would I pretend to know the difference between a high or low light. But what I can offer are some photos that spoke to me and my overall impression.

Walking in, the foyer of the gallery’s grand staircase is already fairly impressive, but add on an erected Murakami phallus with intricate carvings and a multitude of splatter and graffiti, this sight is awe-inspiring from any angle. And worry not, as the show’s name promises, there were plenty of octopi and their tentacles throughout the showing.

The colours used and the detail given in his work as a whole, exuded energy. You couldn’t help but smile when you saw all the cartoonish faces starting back at you.

And to light up when surrounded by a whole horde of them, even if they were leaning more on the monstrous side.

And for those wondering, everything was picture worthy, and every surface an ideal backdrop for a photo.

 

TAKASHI MURAKAMI: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2H7
604-662-4711
vanartgallery.bc.ca

 

Provence Marinaside Celebrates Sweet 16

Today I was invited to attend the sixteenth anniversary of Provence Marinaside. This February 20th marked their sweet 16th, and Chef/owners Jean Francis and
Alessandra Quaglia invited us to stop by to see first hand what they had in store, and to help celebrate. My role: the plus one to James of @hellovancity.

As their name suggests, the restaurant with a view offers the perfect marriage between the “flavours and seafood of the South of France and our Canadian West Coast”. Located in Yaletown, your time with them comes with waterfront view of the Marina. Ideal for people watching and the gentle sway of boats at dock. Although it may currently be too cold to enjoy their patio, they do have bright pink fleece blankets for all those who dare.

But today, the elegant dining room was more than ideal for our seating. Especially with how festive they had decorated things. Walking towards the restaurant you knew there was a celebration within. You could see the live band setting up through the window, and the balloons that hung in bunches of pink and white from the ceiling. The staff where even dressed with pink details to match the theme.

Towards the back of the restaurant were the inflated words “sweet” and the number “16” in a metallic gold. They matched the matte gold detailing of the establishment. The gold gilded taps, the golden decor piece made from criss crossed metal lines, and the candle set at every table flickering with a golden flame. All together the room felt very festive and warm. A setting befitting a landmark birthday. I have never been to the sweet 16 of a restaurant before, and now found myself wondering why this isn’t more common of a thing?

Our meal had us choosing our three courses, with appetizers and entrees specifically from their “Sweet Sixteen” specials. These were a handful of dishes that have been on “Provence’s” menu since they first opened. Dishes that have withstood the test of time and continue to be favourites of their customers over the years. So to celebrate their popularity and to get new customers in to see what “Provence Marinaside” is all about, they will each be 16% off from Feb 20th, 2018 to the end of March 2018. The discounted price is listed in a golden starburst on the menu for easy identification.

And speaking of the menu, they had a new one specially printed with new matching business cards to commemorate the landmark. It was a whimsical presentation with cartoon scallops and shrimp in a bowl, a crab wielding tongs, and even a plump frog twisting his moustache.

But before we get to the actual food, when it comes to a media tasting, plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Our meal began with a welcome sparking wine and some olive tapenade with crostini to sip and nibble on.

The the chef tickled our taste buds with an amuse bouche of foie gras (slightly fattened duck or goose liver) mousse and quince jelly, over a puff pastry round. It was salty and sweet; a meaty dish with the pate, yet dessert-like with the sweeter jam.

Next we continued to graze of the slightly warm basket of herbed focaccia with butter for spreading.

For appetizers we decided to share a larger one that best highlighted the quality of the seafood that you would expect given their proximity to the water’s edge, and their reputation. The “Plateau de fruits de mer” normally costs $85, and it is suggested that you share it between two. However during their Sweet 16 promotion you get it 16% off for $71.40. It is an impressive platter covered in ice, topped with 1/2 crab, prawns, oysters, scallops, smoked salmon; and a seafood salad of scallops and squid with salsa served in the shell of a crab. Ours was brought to our table by Chef/owner Jean Francis, who steadied the serving on a wire stand.

To feed more bodies with more food, you have the ability to add on another tier with half a lobster and a trio of crudo (tuna, steelhead, scallops). Normally this would cost you $50, but during “Sweet 16” it is only $42. We didn’t get the add on, but someone else did. So from now to the end of March this two tier tower of fresh seafood is only $113.40, whereas you are typically paying $135 for it!

For entrees we went with fish and beef, with the proper glasses of white and red wine to compliment it.

The “Seared Lois lake steelhead” was some of the tastiest fish I have ever had, if not the best salmon. It is well worth its normal price of $32, and a deal at 16% off ($26.88). Prepared with baby kale, lentils, pickled shallots, and turmeric scented cauliflower purée. However, I was more than content in enjoying the well season piece of fish as is. James described it best when he called it a “juicy fish”. Whereas I was not a fan of the wilted vegetables or grainy lentils, he found them helpful in balancing out the “fattiness” of the steelhead.

Similarly the “AAA Canadian beef filet” was tender and flavourful. Although here I found that the braised root vegetables and smoked mashed potato sides were most helpful in balancing out the intensity and tang of the red wine peppercorn jus. I also enjoyed the varying starches for their different textures, and how they paired with the light hickory flavour I got from the steak. Normally the 6oz cut is $38, but at 16% off it is currently only $31.92.

For dessert I was sold on the “Berry and white chocolate clafoutis”, as soon as I heard that the recipe comes from James’ mother. There is nothing quite comforting like a baked pie that your mom made. Their version of the French classic comes with a dollop of vanilla ice cream that add milkiness to the buttery dough, giving each bite a luscious finish. I really enjoyed it and could have taken home a whole pie to finish later. Whereas James could have done with less crust to better highlight the tart berry filling.

We also shared their special of the day, an apple crumble. This too was comforting, but in a familiar way. Cinnamon apples topped with baked granola, and finished with a generous scoop of ice cream. My only critique is that I personally would have liked it baked longer for a more crispy topping, a crunch that better contrasted the melty ice cream and gummy apple slices.

And when we thought we had finished our meal, everyone also got a mini pink frosted in their pretty in pink theme.

The night concluded with our hosts,Chef/owners Jean Francis and Alessandra Quaglia giving thanks and saying a few words, before inviting everyone to raise their glasses and give a “cheers”.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
If you haven’t visited the before, I definitely suggest this opportune time to do so. A little over a month to see what they are all about through their proven menu items. And when summer rolls around, don’t forget to return to enjoy the unique vantage point from their patio. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PROVENCE MARINASIDE
1177 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver BC, V6Z 2Y3
604-681-4144
provencemarinaside.ca
Provence Marinaside Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kulinarya

This is that restaurant where your meal is stretched out across the table, over banana leaves. All the photos we’ve seen on Instagram had us making a reservation for ourselves.”Kulinarya” is an authentic filipino restaurant with two locations, each with a slightly different menu. Thus giving you a reason to travel out to both their homes in Coquitlam (the original) and Commercial Drive (the new). Today we were at the latter because it was a closer location to all of us, as both host the Kamayan-style dinner we were here for.

“Kamaya” is a traditional meal eaten with no plates or silverware, just you digging in with your bare hands. So popular that the restaurant built a separate sink outside of the washroom, to wash your hands before and after your meal.

But first, there are some requirements to meet before you can lunch. This isn’t a last minute walk-in meal, you have to make reservations 48 hours in advance, with a minimum seating of six adults. The price is set, varying between days. Tuesdays-Thursdays adults pay $25 per head, kids under 10, $15. Fridays-Sundays adults pay $30, and you pay $20 for kids under 10. Their website states that pre-payment is required to reserve the date, however this was not the case for us, as we simply emailed our request and order, then paid after our meal concluded.

When ordering you select one dish out of the five categories they offer, and they assemble it all together for you with steamed rice, lumpiang shanghai (Pork and vegetable spring rolls), longganisa (Filipino sausage), fried sweet potato and chopped vegetables. These I really enjoyed with the three varieties of sauces provided per person, The spring rolls were crispy and tasty, the sweet potato slices were crispy like chips, and the sausages offered savoury mouthful with spices.

Although once again their online menu differed from what you actually get. Most notable and disappointing was lack of “halo halo” that was promised as dessert. I wish this would have been communicated during the many email exchanges I had with the owners, while securing our table and meal. What they did deliver on that the website promised was the 20% service charge.

The five categories to choose one item in are pork, beef, chicken, veggies, and seafood. Basically these are all things available off the regular menu, gathered together like a feast. We chose the following.

  • The “Crispy pata” was our group’s favourite. Deep fried pork leg with house-made dipping sauce. It offered a crispy skin with salted meat, the stand out flavour of the assembly.
  • “Kaldereta” is hearty beef stewed in a tomato sauce with potatoes and vegetables. It gave the feast some sauce, and the rice that sat below it was the tastiest.
  • The chicken brined in tamarind and then deep fried was a little dry. I didn’t taste any tamarind, and instead found myself reaching for one of the 3 containers of sauces we to help add flavour and offer some sweet or saltiness to our meal.
  • I liked the vegetables for the freshness they provided. The “pinakbet” was described as “mixed asian vegetables” in shrimp paste. The “mix” included okra, japanese pumpkin, corn on the cob, green beans, sweet peppers and even bitter melon (that was a surprise). There were also semi raw and tart fruit in the mix like mango and pineapple for some sweetness and juice.
  • I enjoyed the “Bangus” as is, fried boneless milkfish with a crispy skin. It came with a  salsa of corn kernels, diced tomato, red onion, and green onion.

They only give you 2 hours to finish, so the latest reservation you can make is at 7pm, as they close earlier at 9pm. So you actually walk into the restaurant and your reservation with the table already set, and your party ready to eat. However this was unbeknown to us, and I was planning to be late all along. So sadly my dear friends and I had the above cold, as it was nearly 30 minutes after our 7pm reservations; by the time I drove down, found parking, and took the above photos. However, despite that the food still tasted great. So much so that we quickly crammed our faces, not having to worry about the politeness of using cutlery, shovelling meat and veg with pinches of rice to follow into our gaping mouths. There is no better way to get friendly with another than to eat so forward, especially towards the one you end up facing.

When it came to discarding bones and rind I did feel bad for creating a little pile on the leaf, as this was a shared serving of sorts. None-the-less with no other way this is what everyone else resorted to. We also all carved out our own serving by scooping rice and meat towards ourselves, indirectly creating a divide between the line of food. Although the servers did a great job in ensuring everyone got a bit of everything before them when they laid out the “Kamaya”.

In the end, what was left was plenty of rice. There was so much that even after we took most of what was left home in a doggy bag, that there was enough rice to feed 4, left undressed on our used leaves. But when it came time to clean up they simply folded in the ends and rolled the sheet of leaf up for easy tidying and discarding.

Here, our included dessert turned out to be canned fruit mixed with fresh condense and coconut milk. It wasn’t as expected, but it was the kind of refreshing dessert that our bodies were craving. It helped to cleanse the palette after such a rich meal before.

I was eying the full menu before, and after we wrapped up our “Kamayan” style meal, I was contemplating on getting a few of the more unique menu items to try. However the decision was made for me, when I was informed that they ran out of one and the other was only available in the AM. The desire to try was strong enough that I immediately made reservations with the group to return and try more what they had to offer on their regular menu. I did this, taking to heart the sign they hung by the door reading, “I just don’t want to look back one day and think “I could’ve eaten that”!”

On our second visit I was early, and better able to take in the decor and the setting that surrounded us, not to mention, they weren’t all that busy during a late afternoon lunch service on Sunday. The exterior is a simple white with a black lined sketch of leaves surrounding their restaurant’s name in bold cursive. It stood out when compared to its more colourful neighbours.

Inside the restaurant was a long stretch that felt like two restaurants melded into one. On the right brown and white brick wall, hung framed art. The left, a splotchy pattern and booths upholstered with green and yellow patterns, giving the restaurant a more exotic feel. This was more complementary of the artwork that greeted you at the entrance.

As I mentioned earlier, this time around we ordered a few of their more curious items off their regular menu. But first, our meal began with some complementary nuts. The way they were seasoned and shaped, and how crunchy they were, reminded us of corn nuts.

The “Pig ears chips” are thinly sliced pig ears, battered and fried for a nice crunch; served with a house made soy and vinegar dipping sauce. Some pieces were fattier, I preferred the “chips” that were more thoroughly dried out for a better crunch. They were similar to pork rinds, but without the gristle or the guilt. You don’t often see pig ears prepared like this, more often it is smoked or marinated. Like this they made a great snack, and something easy to chomp down on with beers.

The “Pandan chicken wings” where the main reason I insisted on returning, and the item on their menu that I wanted to try the most. Though sadly they did not live up to the hype I gave them. I am a big fan of pandan, it is one of my favourite flavours and seeings as you don’t find it often on many restaurant menus, I was overjoyed to see it used in a new application that I have ever heard of or tried. First, I was utterly disappointed that they were not coloured bright green. Second, I didn’t taste any of it, which immediately had me skeptical of its presence. Third, this was described as “Crispy chicken wings tossed in avsweet pandan sauce”. It was more like a tangy and vinegary fish sauce, or at best a loose interpretation of honey garlic wings using pandan as a mild flavouring. It was good, but without its name sake ingredient prominent, disappointing. Plus, they weren’t crispy, but instead, more saucy.

I was also excited to try the “Ube pancakes”, but like the wings above, I couldn’t make our the taste of the purple yam/sweet potato in the pancakes. But at least they got the colour right: a bold royal purple. I also wished that they kept all the sizes of the pancake consistent. It was like one guy started making one, and when the next guy took over decided to do them his way. Also to make this something special they could have ditched the maple syrup side, and made it their own with a coconut or condense milk based sauce. Texture wise they were good, denser than a regular pancake, but still light.

We then also shared some dishes with more substance, for a fuller meal. The “Pork belly and chicken adobo” was listed under the “one plate meal” section of the menu. It was white rice topped with vinegar braised pork belly and chicken, garlic, potato, and onions. Then finished with half a boiled egg. It was tasty, but incredibly dry with all the rice. You just wanted some gravy for moisture and to make this a complete comfort dish.

Luckily we were able to borrow sauce from the “Kare-kare”. This is beef, tripe, and vegetables in a creamy peanut sauce. Half the group didn’t like the idea of tripe and given that there was the word “option” in brackets after it, we decided to forgo it all together. However, mid way through our meal we noticed a piece of tripe, and then another. Had this been an allergy related request it could have gone side ways. Luckily it was not and we were good to enjoy how delicious the sauce was. It was the most memorable of our meal, and we all agreed we would come back for it. But be warned, if you decide to check this place out for yourself, it is cash or debit only.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Despite my critiques everything was good, and as their website mentions, they aren’t many other filipino restaurants in the area, or many in the lower mainland for that matter. So all that in itself makes them something special. Then you add in the unique cuisine interpretations and the ability to eat with your hands apologetically, this was a fun review to write and a great experience to have twice in two weeks. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KULINARYA
1134 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5L 3X2
604-255-4155
kulinarya.ca
Kulinarya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

North Noodle House

My guest for the evening decided that we should try out more restaurants in New Westminster. One, it being her home turf. Two, there are lots of new restaurants opening up in the area. And three, I really haven’t covered much in New West. Though unfortunately we chose Monday as the day of our meet up, and there really isn’t much open or open late on a Monday in New West (that isn’t a chain). So to be honest, this wasn’t our first choice, however a good one for anyone looking for a quick Northern Chinese meal enroute, given its location right on the New Westminster skytrain platform

Naturally it wasn’t a very large restaurant or one that was really ornate. A few red and gold lamps hung for authenticity purposes, otherwise it was simply a gathering of white tables and black chairs. We were given a table at the very back, adjacent to the single stall washroom, overlooking the kitchen from the door left ajar. There, we saw one chef kneading the dough that would soon become the noodles and dumplings we would later enjoy.

I asked my guest to order for me. I told her to order a few dishes for us to share that were more unique to Northern Chinese cuisine. Although I ended up asserting myself more during the selection process.

We started off with the “Xi’an white lamb stew with diced pancake”. This was a very peppery soup, traditionally made with fish, but here lamb for more punchiness. The highlight were the cubes of dough bobbing about, you really don’t expect its texture in such a mix. Yet they worked with the chewiness of wood ear and slippery strands of vermicelli. It was an interesting taste, but one bowl of it was enough for me.

I much more preferred the “Xin-jiang noodles fried chicken “with potatoes, coloured peppers, and a spicy star anise sauce. This too was also peppery, but differently so, less peppercorn, more black pepper. And like the dish above, once again the carbohydrates were the highlight. I wanted some hand made, sheared noodles and this dish delivered a plenty. Although they would have been better highlighted with a creamier, thicker sauce, instead of the stir fry that this was. Although I appreciated the freshness the peppers provided, the starch the potatoes offered, and the crispiness of the fried chicken nuggets to bite into.

And finally I insisted of an order of the “Pan fried dumplings with pork or vegetables”, solely based on its photo from off the menu. Although a lot more of it came than expected, and it really wasn’t what I thought it was. I was thinking more like gyoza with its shell. Instead, this was steamed white buns fried in a pan. Chewy dough stuffed with a mild meat. After one “bao” I was searching for a sauce to dip it into, and to help change the taste.

As for the service it was spotty. It as hard to gain attention from the casual staff, there were no check ins; and when you finally got someone to look at you, they forgot your request, and you had to repeat the process again. This was more fast food style, except for the fact that you order at your table, then after your meal, pay at the register. So don’t expect service with a smile.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
If it weren’t the only quick and easy Chinese restaurant in the area, I wouldn’t have any other reason to return. It was good, but no real standouts during this visit. I did like their noodles enough that I would consider taking some in a Dan Dan sauce to go. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

NORTH NOODLE HOUSE
New Westminster Skytrain Station, Third Floor
356-800 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster BC, V3M 0G3
604-544-6611
North Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fortune City Seafood Restaurant

This Chinese New Year day, my family gathered at “Fortune City seafood restaurant” for dim sum. Having CNY day land on a Friday, and it not being a statutory holiday, meant the restaurant wasn’t as crowded, and they were offering their regular weekday dim sum special. Our extended family woke up earlier and and drove down at 10am to take advantage of this promotion. If you place your order and they input it into the computer before 11am, you get 20% off your entire meal. Once again, this special promo only runs from Monday to Friday: their slower dim sum mornings.

The restaurant has your standard Chinese restaurant build, an open space with tightly packed tables that expand and come together as needed. Each clothed in white, seated with chairs covered in brown sleeves that tied at their backs. Crystal chandeliers dripped from the ceiling, catching extra light from the sun’s ray that shone in from the wall of windows. The room faced their feature wall panel of red and black, a stark contrast from the all white walls left void of art or any printed material. This made the perfect back drop for wedding reception dinners, where the married couple would sit before it, flanked by Chinese characters of grandiose wishes.

When it came to ordering, everything was done all at once by checking off boxes from a list of dim sum dishes at a set price per head, and chef’s specials at an extra cost. My family cleverly ordered two of many of the dishes, so that everyone could have some; and so that I could take my time taking photos as they picked off the duplicate dish. But as a result we couldn’t keep up with the number of plates coming. Our table quickly became cluttered and stain ridden as we shuffled saucy dishes around. Although, this is typical of dim sum, I have never had a meal where we left the table relatively clean.

The following dishes are in the order in which we received them.

As always, you order dessert at the same time as the savoury dishes you plan to eat before it, but the dessert is the first to arrive. This makes sense, as most of them are made before hand and kept of chill. My family didn’t like the idea of the “Durian sticky flour balls”, but I ordered them anyways. They thought the king of fruits would be served cooked, where as the flesh was left raw, housed in a ball of glutinous rice along with cream. I found them good for dim sum. Naturally the durian wasn’t fresh, and it wasn’t as potent as it could be. You didn’t get the smell and only minuet amounts of its taste. So you are actually tasting more of the dough ball, making this a good dessert for those who have never tried durian and would like to.

You order the “Deep fried chicken joints with peppery salt” for their texture: if you like the crinkling chew of cartilage. Our family did, so their saltiness and added deep fried batter coating were a hit.

“Rice flour rolls with bbq pork” are a dim sum classic. Their mild flavour and the fact they are steamed and not fried, make them a great palette refresher. I find myself reaching for a square when I need a break from all the greaser dishes that dim sum is typically known for. Not too salty, with a hint of sweetness.

Their “Stuffed eggplant with prawn purée” is fairly popular. This is one of the few dim sum dishes that give you a little veg with your meal. It is best enjoyed with equal parts shrimp to eggplant, the former lends flavour to the more bland latter. The thick starchy sauce that pools around each stuffed slice also helps in this regard.

Chinese style “Deep fried squid with peppery salt” is the reason why I don’t like or order calamari at other non-Chinese restaurants. The thick slices and great tender chew, plus its salty and spicy seasonings make all other renditions of battered and fried squid dull by comparison.

The “Stir fried flat noodle with chives and beef in supreme soy sauce” was under the chef’s special list. This was not the best version that I have ever had, but it was still pretty good. Tender beef paired with slippery noodles in a mild soy sauce. No complaints.

The “Mini sticky rice with shrimp and minced pork wrap” served as a good base for all the meat dishes to come. A rice dish wrapped in leaves that you peel back to expose a tightly packed squares. Cutting into it exposes a good amount of filling compared to others at other dim sum restaurants. I didn’t get any shrimp, but plenty of pork pieces, some diced mushroom, one 1/5 of a salted egg yolk, and one Chinese sausage slice in my bundle.

The other dessert we ordered that came sooner than expected, but was helpful in changing the taste; was the “Multi layers egg custard pastry”. This was served as a solid sponge, then cut down to size with kitchen shears. Its eggy taste was only slightly sweet, like a mild custard cream flavour.

“Steamed superior shrimp dumpling” aka “ha gao” is a dim sum staple. Another fan favourite. The skin is my favourite part, and if I could I would discard the shrimp and just eat it as is.

The “Steamed sparerib with pumpkin” were cooked so tender that you are able to pop the whole piece into your mouth, and easily push meat off bone with your teeth and tongue. Salty meat with soft chunks of sweet pumpkin.

I once loved “Steamed chicken feet” as a child, but as I age the texture becomes less appealing to me. For those who have never tried it, this is a hard one to describe. Basically you are sucking cooked chicken skin off each individual chick claw/toe, and spitting each knuckle bone out. Though the flavour is tasty, and the skin acts like a sponge sopping up the sweeter sauce. I wish I knew what else they cook with it, so I can order it instead, just to get that flavour.

“Steamed prawn purée with fish maws”. “Fish maw” is the swim/gas bladder of a bony fish, it helps to to control their buoyancy. It has a rubbery texture, not unlike jelly fish, except with a wrinkled texture, like how you’d imagine a cooked edible kitchen sponge would feel in your mouth. As for the overall taste, the same prawn style was used here as with the eggplant and the dumpling dishes above, and therefore it had similar flavour.

The “Ginger chicken bun” was disappointing between the grainy and soggy dough, and the minimal filling. The ginger flavour was also overly pronouced, it was an odd pairing with the sweetness of the dough.

The “Steamed short rib in black pepper sauce” was not unlike the sparerib, but just with a lot more pepper flavour. It was also much harder to remove meat from bone without using your hands. I prefer this cut over the barbecue instead.

This was a very standard “Pork dumpling with tobiko (shui ma)”. Meaty with shrimp, another dim sum staple: familar and comforting to all.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Another Chinese dim sum restaurant that is neither good or bad. Nothing stands out, but there also isn’t anything about them that would have me shying away. A decent option for a large family meal in the 1st avenue area. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FORTUNE CITY
1st Avenue Marketplace
302-2800 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V5M 4N9
604-255-0008
Fortune City Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honda Civic Si review

The Honda Civic Si is a sportier version of the standard Honda Civic, available as a coupe or sedan. And recently we got a chance to try out the more practical latter.

My partner was most excited to get behind the wheel of this one, because like me, his first car was also Honda Civic. Although, where as I had the standard, he was sporting a 90’s Si. And back then (when he was but a teenager), this was THE car to have, if you wanted to be cool. And he was. Although, as he aged, his desire for the Civic Si dampened. Admittedly, as the generations of Civics to follow evolved, he found the models heavier, with the sporty and fun factor that you once found in early Si’s, a mere memory. Therefore when he first got behind the wheel of the 2018 edition, he wasn’t expecting much. He expected a “gutless” vehicle with a new 1.5litre turbo engine, that would handle like the regular Civic Hatchback Sport, that we test drove last year. Though he would soon eat his words. He was surprised by how the little 1.5litres turbo engine pulled hard. It went 0-100 in less than 6.5sec, with a crisp 6speed manual transmission, and an active dampers suspension system (which he deemed the “cherry on top”). Having all those three together made him look forward to his daily commute, even if it was partly sitting in Vancouver traffic.

Honda opted for a 1.5L turbocharged engine instead of the 2.0L naturally aspired engine found in the last few generations of Si. The throttle response is a little slower than the 2.0L, but the turbo gives it a nice little push between 2500-5000rpm, with a different powerband than his predecessors. This made it very fun and quite addictive, if you asked my partner. He has always been a fan of Honda, declaring that they always “kill it” when it comes to manual transmission for their sport cars, and it looks like things haven’t changed in that department. Except now the shifting is more precise and effortless.

He described the 2018 Civic Si as being “sleek and sporty”, pointing out its Lamborghini-like tailpipe, rear spoiler, 18″ wheels, aggressive front end with fog light.

On the inside you can find well-bolstered seats to keep you tight while cornering, yet still comfortable with lumbar support and heating. The Si also comes equipped with all the amenities you’d expect from a modern daily driver: sunroof, dual zone climate control, and apple car play, But best off all, there is a neat digital instrument cluster that allows you to display some cool and race car-ish features. Features like a g-force monitor, turbo pressure, and shift light. Little details that a younger driver would enjoy, as their one step closer to actually owning a race car. Especially if you push the “Sport” button on the centre console. This has the dampers firming up slightly, and the throttle response sharpening, thus giving you more steering input, making the car more analog and more fun to drive. And boy did we take the Civic Si on plenty of joy rides. And even after a week of doing everything, but being polite with the accelerator, we were still averaging around 10litres /100km, which is very impressive.

In short, it is no wonder why the new Si was a contender for the motor trend car of year. Bang for the buck, we challenge you to find something as fun as the new Si to drive, with its fuel economy. This is definitely one of the most satisfying to handle front wheel drive cars currently on the market. Thank you for the loan Honda!

 

#HondaCivicSi
honda.ca

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