Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: East Village

The Blind Rabbit

Looking for a spot before dinner, local food blogger @pickydiner and I found ourselves at a local bar on Hastings. Being a gin enthusiast, he has always wanted to visit this gin focused bar, so given that our restaurant reservations were a few blocks away, today was the day.

The decor was cozy with loungers and sofas accented with mirrors, for a modern Alice in Wonderland feel. We sat in one of these nooks, but the bar facing their collection of over 65 different gin bottles is where I would have preferred.

Seeing as they specialize in the stuff, we took the opportunity to build our own gin & tonic choosing our preferred gin, flavoured tonic, and garnishes. We both went for an ounce from a local BC distillery, over an international label.

@PickyDiner went with a hibiscus theme which came out with a more fruity berry flavour, than the florally one expected. The Tofino rose hibiscus gin with Barker and Quin’s tonic water in hibiscus, garnishing it with dried hibiscus flowers, mint, and lime. The gin is already over ice, within a handsome glass goblet. You then pour the tonic over it all yourself, choosing how much you want to add in. Here, I realize you are basically paying for reach individual item: the shot of gin and the bottle of tonic.

I went less sweet and more savoury with the Fermentorium Stump gin with cedar notes. Then pairing it with the Barker and Quin’s marula tonic water. Marula is a South African fruit similar to yuzu (that I learned on this day). And to finish, my garnishes were rosemary and lemon. I preferred my creating? liking how refreshing it came out.

And because I have never heard of pairing gin with charcuterie, let alone a bar dedicated to the pairing, we had to try one of their boards. But since this was the drink before dinner, we kept it light with their intro board, meant for 1, but enough for 2. 2 meats, 1 soft cheese, 1 hard cheese, and accoutrements: salty, nuts, fruit, crostini, focaccia. It was a nice mix to graze and nibble on as your chat and sip.

Overall, I really liked the idea and energy of the bar. Laidback, yet still a little dressy. A nice place to chill and one I would frequent if it was walking distance from my home.

The Blind Rabbit
2531 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V5K 1Z210
(604) 423-9463

St. Lawrence

Today I got to visit one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants with a group of food bloggers. It’s one thing to enjoy good food with friends, it’s a whole other experience when you do so with others as enthusiastic about food as you are. Eating together, discussing what you are having, while engaging in conversations about other foods. This experience elevated my eating, and I got to learn a thing or two on food trends from those who keep on its pulse.

I have been meaning to check this restaurant out, not only because they have been crowned Vancouver’s best restaurant of 2018, and because their reservations require a month or so advance notice, but also because they serve French Canadian cuisine. My partner is French Canadian, and I have just been to Quebec, thus giving me some knowledge and context to compare what we would be eating to what I have recently enjoyed on my trip.

Walking up to it, the exterior looks like a cinema’s entrance perched up on its corner. It had a black and white 50’s feel: black bars and white curtains. The casual yet refined feel transitioned to the bar within with a timeless appeal.

Inside, the interior has taken on a more homey-cottage approach. Royal blue paint and rustic browns decorated with nostalgia. Oil paintings of scenery and fruit, dried flowers kept erect in pitchers, copper pans hung and floral curtains strung. It was cozy and felt lived-in, a sensation that ran parallel to the food they served: comforting and simple in its refined elegance.

We started with some cocktails. An “Old Fashion” and the “Vieux carre”, a cognac based drink.

As for food, we ordered a handful and shared everything between four. Our meal started with the traditional bread, served with a traditional Quebecois condiment. “Croton” with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In Quebec cuisine, cretons is a forcemeat-style pork spread containing onions and spices. Due to its fatty texture and taste, it resembles French rillettes. This was by far a lot more bolder and spicier than the version I had in Quebec. And when paired with the house-made spicy mustard mayo it was a very bold combination as zesty as the bread was nutty with whole grains.

I was most excited about the “Oreilles de crisse”. I only just discovered this French Canadian version of pork rinds, which I fried up for the first time myself, a mere two months ago. Fried pork rinds with maple syrup and spices. These were a hit with the table and definitely the one you have to order when you visit. You can’t stop with just one. Each curl had the ideal amount of seasoning, the perfect blend of salty and sweet, gently coating a light as air styrofoam crunchy-like crisp. With each bite down, you saw juices oozing out, juices you would lick off your hand with no shame. To quote one of my guests, “they were aggressively seasoned, but in a good way”.

The “Steak tartare, chèvre noire, and pomme gaufrette”. Beef tartare, chèvre noire cheese, and potato chips. The raw beef was acidic with a bold vinegar tang, half the table found the truffle flavour in it too bold, I just wish I got to taste the truffles. I liked the shredded cheese for a different layer of flavour and how the freshness of the greens balanced it all out. The chip was the perfect base to scoop the tartare up with, like dip. It offered a heartier satisfaction along with its crunch, and enjoyable to chew texture. It also gave you more flavour, for those who like things punchier.

The “Quenelle de poison, crevettes and sauce nantua”. Fish quenelle, side strip shrimp and lobster sauce. The table joked that this was like a fancy French fish ball (similar to Chinese style fish balls that you get in hotpot), and one of the most expensive we all have ever had. But being well versed in chewy seafood and meat balls, I can confidently say that this one was a lot more refined. It was almost light and fluffy with its softer texture, like it was whipped into a cream then steamed solid. Although well flavoured with the creamy lobster sauce, I wanted more of the flaky pastry to eat it with. Something to round off the plate and add more crunch. To quote one of my table mates, “this should be rich, but it doesn’t eat that way”.

“La terrine du jour”. The house made terrine of the day was a chicken and duck meat terrine with pistachios. A “terrine”, in French cuisine is a pâté made in a pottery container. It was a delicious meat spread, but I wished it was served with cracker or we had saved some of the bread before to eat it with. Instead it is offered with a un-proportionately large ceramic jar of cornichons, which we weren’t shy to eat as much as we could out of. “Cornichons” is a cucumber that has been pickled in a brine or vinegar. Its pickling helped to refresh bites and lighten up the rich meat paste.

The “Ratatouille and flan au cheddar avonlea”. The Ratatouille with avonlea chedda custard was ordered in order to give us some vegetables in our meal. It offered a great amount of freshness, and made for great in between plate bites, helpful in lightening up the lot. And with the delicious cheese custard on top, this dish ate like a full fledged entree.

Cote de porc, fromage oka and sauce charcuterie. When looking for a hearty entree, the pork chop with oka cheese, and butcher sauce is the one to get. This was one of the most juiciest pork chops I have ever had. Each slightly fatty morsel was well complimented by the buttery potatoes and the rich gravy that it floated on. A well balanced entree that would have you enjoying each bite from first to last, and not regretting the price that you paid for it.

We tried the “Steak St. Lawrence” as well. It was a grilled hanger steak, served with bone marrow, sauce aux poivres, and frites. The steak was pretty standard, it had a tenderness that paired well with the saucy mushrooms. But it was the fries that had you coming back to the plate for more.

“Tourtiere de Ville au cerf”. Meat pies are a stable in French Canadian cuisine. I have tried a handful, fresh and frozen, courtesy of my partner. So it was nice to try this very elegant and dressed up version here. The venison made the serving very dark, plenty of rich flavours with the heavy use of all spice. It was best enjoyed with the pickled beets and the cornichons on the side, to help brightened up the plate. Without it the meat pie was fairly briny, not overly salty, but it did have me drinking plenty of water in between mouthfuls, out of thirst.

One of the specials of the day was the “Crispy veal sweet breads” prepared in a wine and truffle sauce, topped with an onion ring and served with chanterelles. It was an easy to eat dish, despite many who would be queasy from learning that this is a plate featuring thymas glands. Overall the flavours assembled were sweet and bright with the refreshing corn and crispy onion ring taking centre stage for me, and the paste-like sweet breads ending each bite with its distinct flavour. The dish had a comforting warmth to it, great as a side along with some protein and rice.

For dessert we got the “Riz au lait facon l’ami jean”. It was a serving of rice pudding and salted caramel, enough for the table (or 3-4 individuals). This one definitely grew on me. At first I didn’t like the texture of it. The grains of individual rice were noticeable, but the crunchy pecans and cinnamon sugar cookies helped to mask it and give the dessert some cohesion.  I found myself continuing to go back for scoops and scoops, until by last bite became too sweet.

I was more excited about the “Taste au sucre”. Sugar pie is one of my partner’s favourite desserts, meaning I am fairly familiar with it and even know how to prepare it for myself. I liked it plenty with the pool of vanilla cream helping to balance out the sugar, and how buttery the crust was. However, my partner was less impressed with his leftover serving, After a quick spin in the microwave to warm it up, he declared the pie too watery.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
It was a delicious meal, different yet familiar. All the flavours above were a stark comparison to their counterparts, that I had from Thetford Mines (a small town Quebec), and the traditional French Canadian cuisine I had a mere month ago. The workmanship here and the quality of ingredients used had me validating the in price we had to pay. A great place for a dressy and delicious meal. And a restaurant I suggest you bring anyone visiting Vancouver too. Definitely a must not miss opportunity, as Vancouver’s best restaurant of 2018. Don’t deny your cravings.


269 Powell Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 1G3
St Lawrence Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


My friendly had recently changed his diet, dedicating himself to a dairy free lifestyle. So when looking for an after dinner dessert spot, our options were severely limited; whereas before, he had an as curious and vicarious appetite as myself. Luckily I heard about “Umaluma”, a new dairy-free ice cream shop that opened, right by where we were dining tonight. So we bee-lined it there for dessert.

They are doing a great job filling the void and the need for vegan/dairy-free ice cream in the city. And as a self prescribed lover of ice cream and the milk that goes into it, trust me when I say, that this was surprisingly delicious stuff. Dare I declare, better than most ice cream options from other shops within the city.

The dairy-free ice cream parlour is easy to identify. Its name that rolls off your tongue is brightly lit like a beacon. Shining in neon blue, above their high arched windows lined with green fronds, in front of their own branded patio umbrella and single white bench.

Inside, the shoppe feels like an 80’s glam rock diner. Beige and neutral wall colouring and trim, punctuated with bold pastel splotches. Patterned upholstered benches that weave around the room, situated behind dark wood tables. And a lot more greenery to give the place some lively energy. We would later grab a couple of stools by their bar. Stools against the speckled granite counter, situated across from their refrigerated ice cream cooler.

All their current and rotating flavours are printed on cardboard cards that slide into place on their wall menu. Although I found it easer to order by sight, choosing base on the colour within a white pail, and ordering it by its name displayed underneath.

Given their small batch operation, 16 familiar and unique flavours is plenty. You get the ability to sample before you buy. Avocado honey, coffee toffee, lemonade poppyseed, banana chocolate flambé, a mojito flavoured ice cream and one that tasted like a pina colada; were available when we visited.

My guest and I went for double scoops to top handmade cones. He had the “Drunken cherry” made with actual bits of nut, fruit, and jelly; and a scoop of matcha. The latter had a bold flavour that wasn’t too sweet, it made a great pairing with the bolder cherry scoop.

I had the “Lavender” ice cream with a pretty and light flavour to match its hue. It tasted like the flower, but not in an aggressive or an overwhelming way, just refreshing. And the scoop of mint under it had actual chopped up mint leaves. The green specks looked like chives, which I found distracted from what would be a nice creamy mint flavoured ice cream.


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.
A great place for ice cream, never mind no milk products, they were just as creamy and delicious without, and I bet a lot healthier too. What a great lactose and vegan free option to add to the food-scape of the city. Don’t deny your cravings.


235 E Pender Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 1T1
Umaluma Dairy-Free Gelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Campagnolo Roma


This week’s date night brought us to “Roma”. It wasn’t planned, but we were glad to have stumble upon this gem. With a “hangry” (when hunger makes you angry) partner and the inability to find our intended location, a chance visit turned into a delicious dinner.

However judging the restaurant by its plain exterior and limited menu I wasn’t expecting too much. Like the music, the vibe of the place was very mellow. Slow beats and a calm pace, with soft spoken staff to match. Though with their white cloth napkins and their heavy set cutlery it did give the restaurant an air of formality.


Originally a few of the staff were not too keen on us claiming a four top table for two right before their dinner rush. Though they soon relented when my partner mentioned wanting to be close to me, and we agreed to move so should the restaurant get busy, and the extra seating was needed. Though we eat quick and it never came to that. We sat with a view of the kitchen before us. Each time the oven door open so did my mouth. Pizza after pizza rounded with a thick bubbly crust. I was similarly impressed by the sight of the chefs picking basil leaves of stems. I knew what we would be getting.

We were seated just in time for the afternoon special. Any pizza and beer for $17, though it required us ordering it in the next two minutes. And given that we were in chartered waters, neither having had heard of the place prior to, we agreed to stick to the basics. Besides the deal was only best when choosing an more elaborate pizza. Like the priciest: the “diavola” with sausage, tomato, chili, green olives, oregano, and provolone. This would have given you the most bang for your buck. Whereas with what we wanted, ordering the basic pizza with a pint of beer separately would have cost us less than the combo special.

As I mentioned earlier, the regular menu was limited, however it was quite adventurous with its use of unsure ingredients. Octopus sausage, smoked salmon, mascarpone, and cured pork belly on pasta. And the option to add egg, peppadew peppers or anchovy on top of any pizza. There were also lots of vegetarian and gluten free options to accommodates those with dietary preferences and requirements. And if you come with a group of four or more there is a family style sharing menu available at $35 per person.


Once again, we went with the simplest options, classic Italian flavours prepared fresh and light. The “Spaghetti carbonara” had a rich sauce over its dense pasta. The sauce had a tinge of spice, that went well over the chewy noodle. The only thing missing was a side of garlic bread, something to sop up extra sauce and to break up the flavour now an again.


All pizzas are made from scratch. After you order, the dough is shaped and the pie is topped accordingly.bWe had the “Margherita pizza” made with fior di latte mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil. The crust had a nice crisp texture with a woodsy char. The cheese was stringy, lengths were pulled from slice to mouth. The sauce was a luscious tomato, more paste than sauce. It had a similar taste to the pasta, both must have used similar spices.

I was impressed by our intuitive server, she instinctively offered us a take out box and the dessert menu. Even though unannounced to her, we already had our heart set on the dessert special of the day. Though the coconut panna cotta and the dark chocolate brownie with cherries were tempting.


The dessert special of the day was a “cherry vanilla soft serve ice cream”. Its presentation was not the least bit expected, but it was one that I found novel. A very cozy look, reminiscent of childhood. Paper cups and wooden scoops. The taste of wood with my smooth ice cream was a fond childhood memory for me. I made for the perfect to go cup. The ice cream itself was made in house, and it tasted like a fresh batch. It was easy to scoop and even easier to go down. Like a subdued cherry cheese cake, not quite vanilla and not quite cherry.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Looking around and eavesdropping, this seemed like the neighbourhood’s favourite place to go. We over heard conversations and repeat customers raving over the food. A few many more came through the revolving doors for take out. The service was standard, the setting was comfortable, and the food good enough for a return trip. I wouldn’t mind having more of what we had today or something more adventurous. Don’t deny your cravings.

2297 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5L1V2
Campagnolo Roma on Urbanspoon

Yolks Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary


This one has been on my list for quite a while, however I never find myself awake early enough to catch their breakfast/brunch service or up early enough to attempt locating their roaming food truck. It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop anyone from entering the baby blue and pale yellow building. If I had to colour “breakfast” those would be it. 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon and the place was full, or at least appeared to be full, with couples paired off patiently by the door and the delay of clearing tables for new diners to be seated. With nothing else to do but to wait, I couldn’t help but to scrutinize their process. There was no sense of urgency here, there was no system to say who was doing what, and no attempt to maximize the work that needed to be done.
They weren’t working efficiently. It wasn’t like the dining room was slammed, there were no big parties and with four servers floating across 20 or so half seated tables, they weren’t necessarily short staffed. As we stood by the hostess podium we watched these servers. A few spoke to one another in between the dropping off of dishes and the busing of tables. One girl thought it important to sort the cutlery at their drinks bar. Had she only raised her head she would be able to spot the empty tables and the now impatient customers wondering why they couldn’t be seated.


By the time we finally sat down it was with lowered expectations. Yet the place continued to see guest after guest drift in and happy faces leaving well fed. I suspect they came for the food, and like us they would not regret it. Their breakfast fare was certainly worth the annoying wait. Impressive plates walked past us, crossing the black and white checkered floor. Yet the smell that filled the room was less appetizing. A stagnant and dense scent like brewing mould or water from a logged basement. My guest was insistent that what we were smelling was the truffle oil used in one of their hashes. Luckily it seemed only concentrated in the foyer and we were able to escape it when we were led to our table in the second half of the restaurant. There was plenty of seating.


The restaurant felt edgy with its modern crowd, coupled with the works of pop culture lining the walls. Iconic characters and familiar concepts reimagined in neon paint and with punkish renditions. Michelle Pfeiffer’s cat woman with full beard, Robocop’s profile in primary colours, Spock dawning a ninja mask and smile, Adam West’s Batman and Robin with a more feminine flare, a falcon in the Millennium Falcon, and some interesting interpretations of a Cosmo magazine cover featuring a plus size model. Definitely conversation starters, definitely worth capturing on film, and definitely worth taking a second look at. This is my preferred form of art.


My guest already knew she would be getting the “Chicken and waffles”. Their organic fried chicken over a Belgium waffle was her favourite. She orders hers with the Canadian maple syrup and chicken gravy on the side. Doing so prevents her meal from getting soggier quicker and allows her to dictate exactly how much salty to her sweet she actually wants. Otherwise the above gravy and syrup would be drizzled all over. She also dismantles her plate. She un-skewers her chicken from its waffle base, preventing the grease from the fried chicken to pool into the dimples of the waffle. Her method requires work before eating, but the result is crispy bites of both chicken and waffle to the very end. She even insists that what she doesn’t finish make great leftovers. A spin in the microwave and a toasting in the pan works wonders for the next day meal. The idea of powered sugar on sweetened waffles just works with salted chicken and ribbony gravy.


Half of the menu featured poached free range egg sandwiches. It’s alluring format was enough to sway my decision. Your options are presented in the form of a cause and effect chart. You work your way through selections, in order to make your final choice. What type of meat? One egg or two? Hollandaise or a white cheddar sauce? Should it be prepared like an egg sandwich or like eggs Benedict? Or maybe you should skip the bread all together and have all the above over hash instead. I worked my way through the list and ended with the special of the day. As advertised on the chalk board up front. A duck confit Benny with duck confit, fresh spinach, and a ginger marmalade. Topped with crispy crackling. All over an English muffin. The eggs were perfectly poached, runny with the slightest puncture. Definitely egg porn quality. The hollandaise, a luxurious cream that moisten the English muffin whilst maintaining its toasted edges. The marmalade was a game changer, and surprisingly a nice edition. It was a play on the more familiar flavour of duck l’orange. Orange and duck just goes, and it is even better when gently salted and slightly sweeten. The pieces of duck were plentiful and shredded into sizeable chewy chunks. I don’t like soggy greens but the leafs of Spinach added the perfect freshness. And as expected the deep fried crackling added a crunchy texture and a fatty component that brought it all together.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Both our plates were good, we cleared them with ease. Distance and connivence aside, I definitely would not be apposed to returning for more eggs, waffles, or fried chicken. Along with all the breakfast favourites like French toast, pancakes, and oatmeal. And soon to be favourites like their in house made beignets, their truffle lemon hash browns, and their house made honey toasted granola with pumpkin seeds and craisins. Each of the above included its own list of classic and inventive add ons: crispy bacon, fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and even salted caramel. And for those who need a pick me up from the night before they have cocktails to easily transition you from night drinking to day. After all nothing beats a greasy breakfast after a late night, so I can only imagine how good a gourmet one would taste. Don’t deny your cravings.

1298 E Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V6A1S6
Yolk's Breakfast Restaurant and Commissary on Urbanspoon

Renfrew Cafe


This cafe is fairly new to the Hasting-Sunrise area. They deal in handmade pies and specialty coffees, a first for the neighbourhood. Who doesn’t love a good pie? The idea of warm ingredients wrapped lovingly in a flaky blanket is most appealing, and here the pies come in both in the savoury and sweet varieties. So you can have pie for dinner and another for dessert.

The cafe’s exterior isn’t very exciting, its orange awning sign is bright enough and the red stools along the front are bold enough to catch in the corner of your eye, but as a whole it is nothing to have you taking a second look or stopping your car by. And then there was the name, I wished they choose a moniker that better represented their cafe. Something more unique to reflected the specialities that lay inside. Something that would create a buzz in the online community; that would stay planted in minds and ever flowing out of mouths. Reading the sign I would assume they were just another coffee and tea shoppe with mediocre day old pastries at the ready. A cafe more of the sake of having one in the area, instead of the gem that they are. “Pocket pies” would have been my first choice for them. It is not only reflective of their offerings, but rolls off the tongue with alliteration. Anything but the generic “Renfrew Cafe” that only speaks to a their location, on a street that runs far.


As mentioned we almost missed it in this slower neighbourhood. Though parking was as easy as pulling up to the curb. Walking in, despite two of their six tables being seated it was just as slow inside as it was on the other side of the door. Given the quite of the room and the pace of the area I found it the perfect location for studying students and chatty neighbours to congregate at. Exactly who was in today. The wordless melodies playing in the background set an easy breezy tone. Its peacefulness ensured that those working could do so with some quiet, and those wishing to chat could do so without much interference. This perfectly matched the demeanour of the staff/owners. A family run operation with a man and woman at the helm today. Both were soft spoken and gentle in their nature and actions. Communication was left at a minimum, you were allowed to enjoy the space at your own pace. The young man directed the cash desk, connecting with patrons and making suggestions when asked. The woman ran the kitchen with her apron over her head.


The decor was simple, they seemed to be going for a minimalist approach with industrial features. It was simple wood tables on a matte wood floor. Most interesting was the use of lengths of red yarn. They hung off the ceiling, and wrapped around the beams that supported the lights. The lights, a single bulb suspended by a cord. I am sure the installation had a greater significance other than just decoration. I just don’t understand art. Also worth mentioning is their collection of children’s story books and box of old toys. Its purpose was to keep children busy, and its presence lead me to believe this was also a good, or one day would become a popular destination for families and mothers, or even nannies lunching together to meet up in the neighbourhood.


The extent of the menu was showcased on a sheet of chalkboard paper adhered behind the counter. Printed in coloured chalk were their available savoury pies in detail and the going cost of their dessert pies. The dessert ones were pre-made and stored behind a glass showcase at room temperature. They were heated and plated as needed. Given the time it took, I believe the savoury ones were made ahead of time too. However these were not on display, instead they were brought out as ordered, and plated with a side of coleslaw.

Already seeing the sweet ones behind the glass I knew what was to come. Each pie came on its own plate, differing between sweet and savoury. Though it was easy enough to tell one from the other. The savoury ones each seemed to smile with a couple of eyes and a crescent mouth, slits made in the dough to let steam out. The sweet ones came without faces, but were dusted in sugars or powders instead. Sadly the pies were not what either of us expected them to be, not what we thought of when we heard the word “pie”. We expected a filled circular pastry. These were half circles, a round sheet of dough folded in half sealing all the ingredients within. We both wanted full pies with 360 degree crusts, not these pockets folded in half. It’s like those who prefer their pizza in a round versus those who like them as a calzone. Though putting looks aside these were some tasty snacks.


The ham and cheese pie was made with 100% natural local ham, mozzarella cheese, homemade tomato sauce, and organic pineapple. Speaking of pizza pockets, this was like a Hawaiian one, though instead of chewy dough they used a buttery, flaky pastry crust; making it the adult version of a Hawaiian pizza pocket. The ingredients tasted fresh, the seasonings were layered with flavour, and you just didn’t feel guilty about inhaling one.


The mushroom and spinach pie was their vegetarian option; made with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella cheese and homemade tomato sauce. Agreeably this was not as preferred as the classic ham and cheese above. The earthy quality of the mushrooms was dominating, and when partnered with the spinach it was a soft rubbery texture paired with a wilted one. The pie crust was the only equalizer and there just wasn’t enough of it. I think their third option, the kimchi beef would have been great and made for a one of a kind flavour combination. Sadly we did not try it.


When asked, the classic apple pie made with stewed Granny Smith apples, was recommended to me as the most popular of their choices. Upon first bite I could see why. It used the same crust as the savoury pies, but fared better as a vessel for sweeter ingredients. The apple flavour was a great improvement on the ready to go apple snack pies from McDonalds, with larger chunks of tart apple and fresher grounds of cinnamon. It was a strong flavour that my guest actually found too tart. I on the other hand liked the sharpness and the apple, and enjoyed the chunks that still had so crispness to them. The larger pieces of non mushed up apple slices were enjoyable, but I would have liked them cut up a touch smaller, in easy to bite chunks and more to go around per inch of pastry. And although I realize they use the same dough base for their dessert and savoury pies, it would have been nice to add some cinnamon and sugar to the pie dough too, and if not maybe as a generous glaze on top?


The “Matcha mochi anko” pie was truly something something special. This was the first time I have seen the use if mocchi in a pie. Who knew it would taste so good and work so well as a filling? Its chewy texture was an opposite of the flaky crust, therefore making it and its red bean companion stand out all the more. Though red bean, green tea, and mocchi are a winning combination in their own right. Overall it wasn’t too sweet, and naturally would be good with a cup of tea. I just wished there was a stronger green tea presence. And like with the apple pie, I wished for some of the matcha powder in the actual pie pastry. It would have been a nice twist, giving the exterior a nice green tone too.

I have great respect with such start ups like this, a one of a kind shoppe with a great idea. If their business ever expands, I would like to see more offerings at the ready. A line of folded pastries in salty and sweet, with international flavours and vast seasoning offerings. As one who admittedly eats with her eyes I would also like to see each pie stand out more visually. Each with its own marker or embellishment, something to have the food photographers swarm and their business thrive. A stamp of a banana for their “moca banana pie” and the crust dyed blue for their blueberry. More than just the awkward smiles that each of their savoury pies dawned. Anyone can make a pie, but what will have “Renfrew Cafe” standing out is the risks they take and twists they make. What more interesting ingredient pairs can the come up with? What else can they offer to shock the food world. Hamburger pie? Poutine pie? Cheesecake pie? The possibilities and creations are endless. I can see them going far with their concept.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked everything but wouldn’t necessary make a trip out to this part of town just for a pie pocket. It was good, but the savoury flavours were nothing new, nothing unique that would have me craving them again. And the three other dinner and dessert pies not tried would also not be enough to compel a return visit. However I wouldn’t miss having one at my own connivence. If I passed by the cafe I would not hesitate to step in. Or better yet, if they were offered off a food truck downtown I would grab several. Don’t deny your cravings.

826 Renfrew Street, Vancouver BC, V5K4B6
Renfrew Café on Urbanspoon

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