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Category: English Bay

Seventeen89 Restaurant + Lounge

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This was the latest destination for our seasonal, girls night steak night. We have already hit the major steakhouses and were now exploring the lesser known ones to see how they stack up. It wasn’t until I read to the taxi driver the address of my destination did I realize the restaurant was named after the building’s number. Originally I thought it referred to the period in time which they took their influences from.

Located kitty corner to the intersection of Comox and Denman you may miss it your first time around the block. Finding parking is a hard task, with no designated lots or many street side meters, a hike to your destination is often required in this area. Hence my decision to taxi, which also supported my wanting to drink.

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They are a recent addition to the neighbourhood. I couldn’t make out much detail in the darken room. A space purposefully kept dim for a more romantic ambience. An iconic space was brought back to it’s original grandeur with plush red mohair booths, large leather chairs, curtained off private rooms, and a well stocked bar. Most impressive was the art above us. A fresco painted ceiling of cherubs intertwined with ribbons and vines.

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Decorations consisted of oversized vases fitted with elaborate floral arrangements, a mirror etched in pattern, and black and white photography. The bar only sat five on red velvet cushioned stools. And not only did it serve premium top shelf liquor it also hosted an oyster bar and their “ship to shore” feature. An advertisement drawn in chalk on a black board. A doodle of cartoon fish and a palm trees. Cute, but it didn’t really match the more formal theme of the place.

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Every little detail that surrounded us added to the preconceived air of opulence. Miniature lamps in yellow or red topped each table clothed in black. They stood along side the slender salt and pepper shakers and the carefully positioned cutlery and side plates. Like the layout everything was landed to best exemplify the stage and your relative position to it. Tables were stacked tip to tip. With two chairs a piece everyone got a view of the stage, towards the back of the room. Sitting in one of the deep back chairs with its upholstered cushions and wooden armrests, you are given the feeling of regality. Though due to the bulkiness of the chair and the precision angling it was in, there wasn’t really any possibility of shifting when I wanted. The music was loud and the ability to hold a conversation practically non existent; more so when we were unable to remove the gap between us to talk in loud whispers.

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Live jazz and blues performances happen regularly, every Tuesday and Friday to Sunday; a rotation of performers. This Friday was such a night, an event we did not expect. Despite the menu we were not charged the mentioned $10 cover fee, nor forced the $20 minimum spend. Though with a menu this rich there wasn’t much under $10. Just as well, we had come to eat and had come to chat, and truthfully found the loud music a hinderance to both. But a couple glasses of wine in I started appreciating the artists and their excitement for their own music. I didn’t dance as the lead singer requested but did sing along when I could, much to my guest’s chagrin. It was a nice treat, something not common. And it was clear that majority of the mature crowd that held seats tonight were here for the live music.

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As a whole the setting felt classic and aged. The restaurant had a homey feel, quaint despite the attempt at being fancy with furniture. A good place to name as your regular hang out, if you can afford it. With friendly staff and professional service they would certainly make an effort to get to know you and to welcome you like a friend. Our server was observant enough to notice a gift/card that my guest had with her and inquired about the occasion that brought us here. And when I sat down she made the effort to wish me a belated birthday. Later the chef and owner came out to introduce himself and his restaurant to us towards the end of their service. It was a nice touch, putting a face behind the place. He spoke about the music, the food, and was genuinely proud of what he had achieved here. He then ended the conversation with his business card.

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The menu was two pages of seafood and red meat, with prices comparable to those at other steakhouses. Seeing them I expected the quality to be on par as well. But unfortunately left disappointed. There was no bread to start, and our appetizers and entrees came all at once. Therefore there was a need for us to rush through it all to ensure our steak was still warm when we got to it.

Each of our appetizers came in threes. Knowing that we would be sharing, it would have been nice to have been given the option of adding another portion so that we each had two a piece. Instead we were forced to half a crab cake that fell apart and split a shrimp down the middle to be fair.

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“Baked Dungeness crab cakes” with sweet pea shoots and pineapple salsa. This was my favourite of the night. You could tell each cake was moulded with real flaky crab meat. Given with the amount of crab and the lack of fillers, a whole crab and then some probably went in to making these. The other ingredients mentioned either came on top or were laid on the bottom. The pea shoots gave the creamy crab some freshness and the pineapple a nice tangy zing. Though I felt it was still a little bland, but didn’t want to risk adding anything to take away from the lightness in the crab.

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“Grilled jumbo shrimp cocktail”. I don’t know how many I expected for $17 but I feel a little under $6 per shrimp is steep. Having said that these were delicious sweet shrimp. As some of the largest I have ever had, they earned their “jumbo” moniker. The iceberg lettuce was more for show and went unbeaten. The cocktail sauce I found no different from that which you can find prepackaged in jars. It had a nice sweet tomato flavour, like a toned down and more organic tasting ketchup.

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Their three options for steaks were all from the same place and were prepared the same way, you just got to choose your cuts. This was Spring Creek Ranch’s 40 day aged beef charbroiled. Raised with no antibiotics, no hormones, and no steroids. Each cow is only fed a wholesome diet of forages and rolled barley. And each prepared steak is served with market select potatoes and vegetables. We got the biggest and fattest of cuts, the “12oz. Ribeye steak”. Our options for sauces were between the traditional peppercorn, my preference the garlic butter, or a béarnaise. Our waitress strongly recommended the latter and that was what we got. We did so only to find it just tangy and buttery, believing we would have preferred the garlic butter instead. The plating felt random and the steak was not as tasty as I had hoped or would expect at $45 a plate. It was two cuts joined together by tendon. Though what made for a lack lustre presentation made for easy sharing. We had requested medium rare and instead got a medium if not well done slab. My guest didn’t want to trouble the staff, so refused to send it back. We were left chewing through dry ends and paying too much for it. The vegetables were flavoured in the same peppery sauce as the steak. Baby bok choy, baby bell peppers, zucchini, garlic cloves, turnips, and a potato cake.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I am torn with this one. The service was inspiring, the theme well thought out, but for what was charged I did not feel the food lived up to the expectations and the evaluations. Though I was curious about their $3.50 a piece miniature desserts. It was a good way to have a taste of the seven small bites offered. For those who like live music especially jazz and blues this would be a good dinner-ing spot for you. To enjoy good music with a glass of wine in hand. Just be warned there may be those like me who only come in to eat and to drink, that may serve as a distraction. And for those here for classic cuisine in a quiet setting, they have recently added a porch out front. It offers the same experience as indoor, only steps from English Bay. Don’t deny your cravings.

SEVENTEEN89
1789 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6G2M5
604-428-0705
1789.ca
Seventeen89 Restaurant + Lounge on Urbanspoon

Brasserie Bistro

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This one was tough to get to, between finding parking on a Friday night, to actually locating the restaurant. In fact, in my confusion we entered a completely different establishment trying to claim my gifted groupon. We left as the groupon was the only reason we were trying to get into the “Brasserie” in the first place. By looks alone this wasn’t a restaurant I would come to on my own accord, and pay to dine at my own money. But once again I was given a groupon totaling $40 and I was not going to let it go to waste. Free is free to me.

It was located in the aged, three star “Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites”. A hotel I had once visited for a business meeting and decided I would never like to stay at. It just isn’t to my taste, I prefer my hotels modern and a lot more contemporary. This was outdated in decor and feeling.

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Despite the use of a groupon deal to advertise their restaurant and potentially drum up more business, they clearly didn’t want diners from the outside visiting in. There were no signs advertising their location and no sandwich boards calling any attention. Heck we had a hard enough time getting here, and we intended to dine here. They were missing the large possibility of walk ins. Only the hotel’s sports bar is mentioned with both a back lit sign and sandwich board facing traffic. So there was no surprise it was the much busier of the two.

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You enter through the lobby and are directed by the concierge. This Friday and every Friday they have an all you can eat prime rib buffet for $30. Looking at the set up of olives and a few salads, two covered entrees under metal, and a slab of prime rib under dual heat lamps this would be something we rather pass. And we weren’t the only ones, the other guests at three other tables also ordered off the regular menu as well. In my opinion the servers could have done a better job promoting the special and really selling us diners on the deal.

The dining room was seated with mature patrons, folks that were dressed casually, and seemed to have all the time in the world. My guess is that they were on vacation and staying at the hotel. This was not what I expected or was looking forward to on this date night. Knowing my partner’s pension for the finer things, and the effort he put into grooming himself tonight, he would echo my impression. Being French Canadian he was also immediately hung up on the name of the place. For him “Brasserie” referred to a “brewery” and, by extension, “the brewing business”. Though it was the other definition that was in use here. “A type of French restaurant with a relaxed setting, serving single dishes and other meals. It can be expected to have professional service, printed menus, and, traditionally, white linens.” This was taken off Wikipedia after a debate on the definition ensued.

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The restaurant was very out dated; it was typical of an older hotel. The same floral print that patterned the booths lined each chair cushion. No white linens, instead a faux marble table top, with beige reusable napkins. Off white walls, dim orange bulbs, and grey photos in black frames did little to perk up the generic nature of the room.

The staff on shift were very friendly. Uniformed in black with gold name tags, they were welcoming in the most casual of ways. They were inviting, making every effort to engage us in banter. And like their clientele they too were more mature. My only grievance was not being able to reach them by phone after five attempted redials. I left foolish now looking around the empty room thinking we needed reservations.

The kitchen remained relatively quiet. I watched their slow pace and the team of three remain calm. With a lack of traffic and an abundance of time they could have put more effort into their cuisine, and I wished it showed more. The head chef made an appearance in the dining room. Standing by the buffet set up he stared down at the barely touched prime rib. I felt bad, they obviously put effort into their preparation and now it would go unenjoyed. This succulent and impressive piece of meat. Unfortunately everything had to be taken down 15 minutes later when the buffet ended at 9:30pm. Luckily his feelings were salvaged when the guest next to our table was heard raving about her full order of ribs; it would be a similar case for us. Though when it came time for us to eat, the chef’s presence in the dining room was intimidating. I felt like I had to eat with a smile or at least verbalized one “yum”. Though it was nice to see that he cared enough to check in on all his diners from a far.

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The finger bowl with lemon and the side of ketchup for our ribs and fries came first. Half order of “braised baby back ribs” with maple BBQ sauce, Asian slaw, and fries. The ribs were good, meaty bites that easily pulled off the bone with a forked tug. The sauce was caramelized sweet from the maple syrup and spicy from the BBQ rub. Though the latter out shone the former and I would have liked more maple syrup flavouring. The fries were nothing special and the coleslaw tasteless. Both could have used salt to taste and some vinegar to kick. As a whole this was a decent plate at a decent price.

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“Pancetta and chèvre stuffed and baked chicken breast” served with seasonal vegetables, a buttered sweet pea rice, and shallot jus. The plate looked homemade. An effort was made in presentation, separating each element, but the sloppy gravy and the spilled rice made things look clumsy. The chicken breast was oddly sliced, unevenly into three prices. Neither of which were stuffed, instead the pancetta and goat cheese filling was slathered on top. Both were what gave the chicken it’s taste. The generous amount of gravy was needed as it gave the dry white meat some moisture. I was rudely surprised on several occasions with shards of bone in my chicken breast. Alarming as it could have chipped a tooth or caused me to choke. The balsamti rice was my favourite element. A light rice that tempered all that was going on with the chicken, and I really just like peas. The boiled veggies needed some salt and some peppering, I guess that’s why salt and pepper shakers are at each table.

The washrooms were an inconvenient trek out of the restaurant and into the hotel’s lobby. Pleasantly chocolates came with the bill. Our tab was $36 which our $40 covered, we were only charged tax and we gave our tip.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This hotel needed some love. An update, some remodeling, some work to breath new life into the building. And the same could be said about the “Brasserie”. I liked the care from the chef and the casual service from the staff, but was let down by how unspectacular the food was. If it weren’t for my groupon I would have never thought to visit the restaurant, and if it weren’t free I would have left upset. Instead I have now tried and know I won’t be back for seconds. Don’t deny your cravings.

BRASSERIE
Coast Plaza Hotel
1763 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6G1P4
604-622-4462
coasthotels.com/hotels/bc/vancouver/coast-plaza-hotel-and-suites
Brasserie Bistro on Urbanspoon

Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro

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My guest made me walk all the way here from the Vancouver Art Gallery. As a self proclaimed motorist, I am not keen on walking long periods and often deny my pedestrian side. But we did so because “the weather was nice”. Along the way we passed by many other Vietnamese places, looking just for this one. Though in the end, despite all my grumbling, it was worth it.

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A small shop by English Bay, home to others before it; the latest being a make your own sushi shop. But now with the smell of beef and soupy noodles right at its threshold, we were happy to have it serve the only Vietnamese food in its immediate radius. My first thought was, how will they fair on hotter days? With no air conditioning, who could stomach soup? When it’s too hot for boiling noodles? Luckily they actually specialize in Vietnamese subs. Their name sake and what they refer to as a “baoguette”. A combination of the word, “bao” Chinese for filled buns and “guette”, in reference to the crispy French baguettes they use.

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With its limited space, the restaurant is most practical. Two person table tops pushed close to maximize room. They seated five couples on the upper floor and bar stools situated in front of a mirror a step below for singles. Though majority of the guest coming in today were looking to pick up or take out. Dark wood against the stark white walls, the restaurant had a very clean look. There was not much going on in terms of decor. A set of shutters that failed to open, with no look out into anything. An old timey wood and metal telephone, out of service. A smaller flat screen television broadcasting the latest sporting event. And a classroom sized black board listing today’s special: the new addition of salmon to their menu. Salmon in a salad roll or salmon in a “baoguette”.

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Though being right by the beach you actually take in that view outside first. Our window seats gave us a look at the slowly setting sun into glimmering blue waters. I read the nonsensical sandwich board outside, it suggested that if you were single “hot” salmon was your solution.

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I had to see what made their Vietnamese subs, which all others refer to as “banh mi”, so good and so different that it warranted its own made up name. “House special baoguette”. Made with Vietnamese Hams, this was a cold cut sub served over wax paper in a bamboo tray. Bonus points for their detail in presentation. The bun was filled generously with good quality ingredients. Though they didn’t taste any differently and were just the ones that I had expected. Thinly sliced deli meats, crisp pickled vegetables cut into sticks, and a creamy meaty pate. The first “baoguette” I have ever tried, but one of the best “banh mi” I have had in the city. The bread game was on point, crunchy on the outside with a spongy chewy centre. Things just came together right in this.

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“House special roll”. A crispy spring roll wrapped with vermicelli, cucumber, and sprouts. Not until I saw it did I get that this was a deep fried spring roll rolled as an ingredient in a salad roll. Ingenious! You get the best of both worlds in each bite. Shame the menu’s description doesn’t better highlight this fact. Had it been, “you no longer need to be torn between having either a spring roll or a salad roll, you can now have both!” I could see them generating a lot more sales this way. People willing to add this in addition to what they original wanted, just to see what it is all about. Like an oversized piece of sushi it’s best taken in one bite. Taking two causes the wrapping to fail, the roll to crumble, and you to miss out on the two in one experience. My only critic is that the order came with just fish sauce for dipping. It would have been nice to have a sauce meant for the rice roll in additional to the usual one for spring rolls. Another way to make this blended eating better.

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Their pho came with the usual side plate of raw beansprouts, basil leaves, and lime. With bottles of red and brown sauce at each table should you need it.

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Their menu and sandwich board suggested trying their home made chicken pho, “Pho Ga”. With a scratch made chicken noodle soup the broth was well seasoned. The kind of soup you drink all of after the noodles and meat are long gone. I enjoyed the texture of the uneven noodle widths. The chicken was tender but could have used more flavour. A dip in squeeze bottles brown sauce helped.

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“Bun Bo Hue”. Spicy lemongrass noodle soup made with thick noodles. I didn’t think it would be different noodles from bowl to bowl. I much prefer the vermicelli. As one who usually sticks to plain beef brisket noodle soup this was a barrage for flavours. Zesty with lemon and spicy with chilli, it had an interesting freshness to it. The meat was plentiful, half cooked, waiting to be submerged into boiling soup.

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Given such a small venue I was curious over the possibility of using their washroom. It ended up being quite the journey. You traveled straight through their kitchen, past the chefs and all their food preparation. Down two straight hall ways used for storage, up two flights of creaky stairs; only to end upstairs at the Japanese restaurant above. You would be using their facilities. The only directions were pieces of green painter’s tape guiding you. It is a good thing they had nothing to hide. Having to pass by and being able to take a good look into their kitchen, it was most important how they kept it. Thankfully it was clean and well organized. Having worked in the restaurant industry I left wanting to be a bit more ignorant about my food production. Nothing ruins dining when seeing the conditions of an unkept kitchen. See “Kitchen Nightmares”.

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.
Given the location and the parking I cannot foresee myself making this a destination visit. But if hungry and if in the neighbourhood I would definitely make this a return visit. With more on the menu to explore and variations on the most popular in Vietnamese fast food cuisine, they are a solid stop by the beach. Don’t deny your cravings.

BAOGUETTE
1184 Denman Street, Vancouver BC, V6G2M9
604-563-2468
Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro on Urbanspoon

Cactus Club Cafe

IMG_1163Out of all the causal dining chains, “Cactus Club” seems to be doing the best. With the most locations in the province, and a few on some prime real estate. Their two newest locations are busy by the water. One at English Bay and the other with a view of the Olympic cauldron in Coal Harbour. Which proves its location, location, location. I have been to several and at each have seen some unique pieces. I have seen giant iron pigs, stone griffins, a fat Mona Lisa, and a vase as tall as a basketball player.

Below is a listing of the dishes I have tried over my numerous visits. Each beautifully plated and delicious. I have never sent a plate back or had something I couldn’t finish. All together I have pretty much tried 1/3 of their menu.

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“The Bellini”. Peach schnapps, champagne, Bacardi white rum, and sangria. 



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Non alcoholic “Ginger fizz” with mint and blackberry & “Strawberry Splash”.

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“Signature Caesar”. Smirnoff vodka, mixed with their signature blend of spices and clamato juice. Finished with a skewer of pickle onion, fresh bocconcini cheese, vermouth soaked olive, and Peruvian pepper. The accompaniments to a Caesar is usually its best part, and the ones at “Cactus” are my favourite. I have been known to order two for one cocktail. Make sure you classify that you want their signature Caesar to get the skewer. Otherwise you may be disappointed with a single pickled green bean for a regular Caesar.

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“Signature sangria”. Fresh strawberries and raspberry, Zinfandel, apricot brandy, sprite, and a splash of Bellini slush.

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“Korean lettuce wrap”. This was a seasonal main, with pickles vegetables and kimchi. I was very disappointed to see that some assembly was required on my part.

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“Mini burgers”. Made with certified angus steak patties, cheddar, alder smoke bacon, lettuce, and red pepper relish.

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“Calamari”. Deep fried with red pepper, jalapeño, fresh dill, served with chipotle aioli and tzatziki for dipping.

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“Rob’s goat cheese flat bread”. Caramelized onions, grape tomatoes, basil pesto, wild arugula, and a balsamic glaze.

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“Spicy chicken”. Sweet chilli glaze, scallions, and crispy wonton pieces. My usual appetizer order, it makes a great pairing with beer. The sweetness comes from honey and outshines any real spiciness; perfect for someone like myself, who can’t handle too much heat in their food. The wontons gives each bite a crispy texture with the chewy and saucy piece of chicken.

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“Pesto chicken quesadilla”. Roasted chicken, blended cheeses, basil pesto, sun dried cranberries, with a honey lime dip.

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“Short rib sandwich”. Caramelized onions, Emmental Swiss cheese, and grainy Dijon aioli served with a side of fries.

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“Grilled tuna club”. Ocean wise albacore tuna, tarragon tartar, bacon, cilantro, pickled ginger, arugula, ciabatta. Usually served with sea salted fries, but here I opted for soup instead. This is the first burger I have had where the protein wasn’t the star and it wasn’t the most prominent flavour. I would have preferred the tuna to be less seared and more raw; but it was still fresh, light, and really accented the pickled ginger and acidic spread well. This was certainly original. 

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“Roasted butternut squash soup”. Seared scallop, apple curry foam, and basil oil. One of those rich and creamy soups that ate like a meal. Even as a side order the bowl looked amazing; with the drizzle of oil, the chunks of croutons, and the golden sear of the lone scallop floating in the mix. The scallop was the highlight, tender and tasty it was the cherry on top. 

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“Celeriac soup”. Aged white cheddar, black pepper croutons, and extra virgin olive oil, served with a grissini bread stick. This is a half serving of the soup for take out. The croutons and cheese come on the side, to be added right before you eat. The white cheddar melts in to the mix, and the croutons soak up the soup. If you eat them quick enough you get both their crunchy and solid textures. This is my go to soup from hunger to hangovers. 

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“Prawn spaghettini”. Slow roasted tomato sauce, chillies, fresh herbs, and garlic crostini.

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“Teriyaki chicken rice bowl”. Sautéed vegetables, spicy yogurt, braised red cabbage. I enjoyed the texture from the julienned vegetables along with the chewiness of the rice. This is my favourite entree to order. The yogurt makes each spoonful creamy, and different from any other teriyaki bowls I have tried.

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“Jack Daniels ribs”. Slow roasted ribs in their Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce. Sided by mashed potatoes and asparagus. Didn’t taste any Jack Daniels, they did a good job reducing this down to a sweet syrup.

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“Charbroiled 7oz. Certified angus steak”. Blackened in a peppercorn and mushroom semi glaze, with a side of asparagus and mashed potatoes.

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“Soy Dijon salmon”. Whole grain barley, snap peas, grape tomatoes, and marinated shiitake mushrooms.

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“Butternut squash and prawn ravioli”. Truffle beurre blanc, pine nuts, crispy sage, and white wine sautéed prawns.

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“Rob’s Hunter chicken”. Button, portobello, shiitake and crimini mushrooms in a veal demo glaze, with fingerling potatoes and green beans. Any entree you want shared they offer to split and plate separately for your dining ease.

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“Chocolate peanut butter crunch bar.” Caramel sauce, crunchy chocolate pearls, and a scoop of Tahitian vanilla ice cream. If you combine the appearance of a chocolate bar with the layers of an opera cake this is what you get.

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“Apple galette”. Flaky puff pastry, caramelized apples, topped with Tahitian ice cream, and drizzled generously with a thick caramel sauce. Apple pie in a Danish instead of a pie crust.

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“White chocolate cheesecake”. Chocolate cookie crust, syrupy raspberry compote, and hand whipped cream.

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“Chocolate lava cake”. A molten dark chocolate cake with a scoop of tahitian vanilla ice cream.

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Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Out of all the other other casual chain restaurants out there I deem “Cactus Club” the best. I always find myself returning for a quick bite, or heading here as a destination to watch a hockey game. With the most locations, in some of the best areas; you are sure to find one with the proximity and scenery that matches your needs. Not to mention their amazing patios with loungers surrounding their feature fire pit. They incorporate unique pieces into each restaurant. They all look different, but feel the same. They really have their branding down pat. I never had a dish here that I didn’t like, and with seasonal menus there is lots to try. When looking for an easy choice and a quick bet, don’t deny your cravings on this one.

CACTUS CLUB
cactusclubcafe.com

1530 West Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6J 1W6
604-733-0434
Cactus Club Cafe on Urbanspoon

4653 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4L3
604-431-8448
Cactus Club Cafe on Urbanspoon

Three Brits Public House

If you have heard any of their radio ads, “Three Brits Pub”, it is the only pub in the West End that specializes in craft beers. Today I found myself here, in need of a cold pint to cool down. If you have been to any of the other Donnelley Group ventures, you kind of know what you are in for. Louder music, a younger crowd, and bad food. 



The place is like a night club cramped and dark, with mirrored walls laid with gold and bronze foil. Not much to describe between table tops and bar stools. We grabbed two seats at the bar. It was really the centerpiece of the place. I appreciated the hooks that were bolted under it, perfect for coats and bags. Behind the bar stood our two humorous, and almost arrogant bartenders for the evening. One of them was at least British. Their jobs were to keep the crowd going and the liquor flowing. My guest ordered a bud and was both shamed and denied her request. Not explaining the bar’s only craft beer selection, the lead bartender told her he will bring her something she would like. As the glass landed he reassured her, and us, that the Thursday Kronenbourg special was the way to go. With no choice we had one each. This is the kind of service that is quirky, a little fun, and only acceptable at more casual bars like this. And I always get it when I visit any Donnelly Group establishment, it must be something they train their staff in. The bartenders were great and jumping in, and it was sort of nice to have that second party add to our conversation. We joked around, and when relevant, they added two cents or validated what we said/what they had heard. The two men also delighted us with their bar art. Twisted and folded napkin roses, and a heart fashioned out of fountain straws and a lighter. 




Eventually, as I dreaded, I got hungry and asked for the menu. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I visit a Donnelly Group establishment expecting the food to be descent. And every time the food falls short and a lot is left to be desired. Maybe it is my own fault. Maybe I needed to be more than one pint in before ordering food. Maybe I was just too damn ambitious in my ordering. 

Nothing jumped out at me. And the beans that they were pushing we weren’t wanting. Apparently these spicy garlic beans are their specialty. Special enough that I have read of them by scribbles on their sandwich board outside. Now reading their description I was not sold. Chilled green beans seasoned in a hoisin sauce glaze with sesame oil, garlic, and lime. It is just beans in sauces. For $8 a conservative plate I could buy all the ingredients and make enough for the week. But I can see the appeal. A healthy snack that is salty and fun to eat. Say, a Western answer to the Japanese edamame. The menu has your usual bar fare: wings, burgers, and fries. And I give them credit for adding on some more unique tastes: Vietnamese short ribs, quinoa salad, and a wild salmon entree. 

Wanting something lighter I decided on the ceviche. The description read, “Locally sourced seasonal seafood, avocado, poblano pepper relish, Thai bird chili, and taro chips”. The chips were the best part. Once again I know I was stupid for ordering this kind of dish at a pub. So not surprising, I was severely disappointed in the quality of food. First, if the only protein is fish you cannot be defining anything as “seafood”. Using the word “seafood” leads to the expectation of shrimp, squid, scallops, clams, and a whole lot of other sea creatures, that are not classified as fish. Second, for the price at a pub the serving was small and the presentation uninspired. And lastly, there was no effort put into the flavour profile. Had they tasted the sauce before serving this, that would have been evidently clear. Over all rated is it had promise, but I was disappointed. And can only blame myself. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me, fool me over 6 times I should know better. 


Would I go back? – No. 
Would I recommend it? – No. Aside for its choice real estate: walking distance from English Bay; and a better selection of not your usual brews, this place really has nothing new to offer. There are plenty of other pubs neighbouring that offer better food and better drinks, in a better space for cheaper. But what I would say is I appreciated the staff to patron ratio. There were enough working bodies for each sever to be able to cater to their clients adequately, while having enough of a yreprieve to converse with one another. 


THREE BRITS PUB
1780 Davie St, Vancouver BC, V6G 1W2
604-801-6681
donnellygroup.ca/locations/pubs/three-brits




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