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Category: North Burnaby Page 1 of 4

Green & Oak Malaysian Restaurant

My guest and I were looking for Malaysian food for dinner. And after a quick Google search, we were happy to find one by our homes, in Burnaby. Based on the building’s roof detail, we surmised that this use to be a Greek restaurant. But the rainbow spotted wall paper and light weight, bleach wood furniture had the interior looking more like a bubble tea cafe. Similarly, the name didn’t really speak to what was on the menu.

We were originally seated by the back exit, on a convertible table. However, as soon as a table by the window opened up, the host that originally showed us in (who I think is also the owner), kindly re-sat us without us having to ask for the better table. All the while she had her young 3 year old son in tow, helping to drop off menus and deliver diner’s their bills. It gave you an “Awww” sensation and spoke to this being a family run business.

The two sided laminated menu listed a bunch of familiar plates, and I fully indulged in this edible walk down memory lane. The following are a must order when I see them on any menu. However I had a preconceived idea of how each dish tasted, and therefore I was left unsatisfied. The food was good, and I would have enjoyed everything more had I not compared it to my mother’s cooking or that which I had growing up. It was simply a different rendition of Malaysian cuisine. My guest on the other hand enjoyed everything in full, taking a take out menu to go, along with our leftovers.

“Roti-canai”, fresh made Malaysian flatbread, grilled and served with their own curry dipping sauce. The dough was chewy and flaky, the perfect vehicle to sop up chunks of their curry. The curry here was the exact same one served in their “Malaysian curry rice”. A coconut curry made with lemon grass, shallot, and onion. I wanted a richer curry, finding it a little flat for a dip. I also wanted some more peanut and sweetness to it, to better play off the salty roti.

The “Hainanese chicken” was my favourite of the night. Steamed chicken cooked in rich chicken stock, served with a red chilli and ginger dipping sauce. This is the set meal with both white or dark meat, but for $1 extra we could have had our choice of all dark or all white meat. It was just as I remembered it. Tender chicken, served slightly chilled, with a flavour that is clean on palette, ending in a faint soy flavour that lingers. As a set menu it comes with a neutral soup (compared to everything else we ordered), a tasty chicken stock flavoured steamed rice, and a mild chilli and ginger oil sauce for additional seasoning.

My guest’s favourite dish was the “Penang tofu”. Deep fried tofu topped with onion, cucumber, and a sweet chilli sauce. This version was good, the sauce was on point, but we wished the tofu was crisper and that the deep fry had more of a freshness to it.

The “Laksa soup” was disappointing. A runny curry based soup with tofu, bean sprouts, egg, lemon grass, lime juice, and hints of coconut milk. It wasn’t as flavourful or as rich as I know laksa to be. We had our choice of vermicelli, egg noodle, rice noodle, mixed or no noodle. We went for the egg noodle, but had we selected for the finer gauge, traditional, rice noodle we might have liked the bowl more. See a whole reminded more more of a sour tom yum soup, than the rich curry based soup I was hoping for.

I was excited for the “Belachan fried rice” with dried shrimp, chilli pepper, pork, shrimp, egg, and soya sauce. This was a flavour that isn’t known to many, a unique fishiness with good umami. I just wished it wasn’t so greasy, leaving a sheen on our utensils and lips.

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? – No.
Once again, the food was good enough, but it just didn’t satisfy because of the expectation I had going in. Not traditional Malaysian fare, but a unique interpretation when in Burnaby, to discover. Don’t deny your cravings.

GREEN OAK
3760 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2H5
(778) 589-2668
greenandoak.com

Ramen Gaoh

Whenever I travel I always come back to Vancouver craving Asian food, and lucky for me I have acclimated my partner into enjoying ramen; meaning we got to get a bowl of the good stuff our first meal back.

New to our neighbourhood is “Ramen Gaoh”, brought to you by the same folks running the well celebrated “Ramen Butcher”. In fact one of the servers working today was sporting their branded hoodie with its large pig face logo on the back.

With Japanese bamboo growing up front and a large glowing lantern marking the way, the restaurant stands out with its painted black exterior. To enter, you shimmy past a narrow passage, past the black wooden bars, and the covered patio. I considered a seat on the latter as I liked how cozy it looked, but it is still a little too cold to be dining outdoors, so we wafted in side instead.

The staff greet you in unison as you past the threshold. We were directed to one of the two top tables that ran parallel with the bar. With the high counter top and the stacks of bowls atop it, you can’t make out much of what is happening in the open kitchen.

Their dual sided, laminated menu features ramen prepared with miso blends from across Japan. Shiro miso from Nagano, and Aka miso from Aichi and Miyagi.

My partner got the “Shiro miso” ramen made with white soybean paste. It was described as being more mellow and sweet, for a lighter miso flavour. And compared to my bowl below, it was. It was okay, a flavour of ramen I had never had before. Different, but not my favourite to date. My partner finished his portion, but declared that this salty broth wasn’t to his liking either.

I did prefer the more flavourful “Aka miso” ramen made with red soy bean paste. As promised by the menu, it had a deeper umami flavour, with a richer and saltier miso broth. This was also a meatier broth that paired well with the thick and chewy noodles used. Interesting, but not a flavour profile I could see myself craving for any time soon.

Like all their bowls, this too doesn’t come with an egg, so I ordered one at an additional $1.50. A medium boiled and marinated egg. I just wish such places cut their eggs in half, no one bites into a whole egg like this. Inside was a very runny yolk that pooled out. It had a great creamy texture, but was cooled to a chill at the centre.

You can make your ramen a combo by adding gyozas as a side, but unfortunately only the original pork version, made in house, using their “secret recipe” is available as an add on for $3.

So I passed and paid full price for one of their topped gyozas, choosing the most unique of the four options. This is the “Truffle aioli with Parmesan paste”. Tender and meaty bundles topped generously and made salty. There was no hiding the flavour of truffle. Overall, an interesting twist, but a little too much and too rich as a side to my ramen. The toppings felt unnecessary and I found it overwhelming.

As a precaution, my partner ordered a side of their “Teriyaki spicy crispy deep fried chicken”, in case he didn’t like the ramen. The meat used was fatty and dark, each nugget coated heavily in crunchy fried breading. The teriyaki sauce was the highlight of this dish with its fishy undertone, it paired well with the spicy sauce that was not too spicy.

 

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? – No.
Not my first choice for ramen in the area. Nothing was what I expected, it didn’t taste bad, it just wasn’t a taste that I recognized or look to when craving ramen. This was a good reminder that there are so many different styles of ramen out there; all worth trying. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RAMEN GOAH
4518 E Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C 2K4
604-299-5407
ramengaoh.com

The Viet Noodle Guy

I drive past this restaurant several times a week. It is new to my neighbourhood, which I don’t often dine out within. However, tonight with the pouring rain and my desire to not cook, I thought I would stop by for a quick meal; where ironically, I didn’t have any of their noodles.

The name set you up for an easy going meal, an easy place for quick Vietnamese food. Simple like its modern decor with exposed ceilings, wax laminate, concrete pillars, and their logo printed on their door mat and again painted on their wall.

Aside from missing me when I sat down, the staff were very attentive. I caught eyes with the guy behind the counter, he acknowledged me and directed me to the bar by the window for solo diners. However, I must have slipped his mind as others who sat down after me were greeted with tea and a menu. I had to approach the bar that centred the restaurant for mine. Although after I sat and placed my order, I encountered four other faces as they all approached me and offered to any requests I had. Though in their defence, I had my menu open in front of me, taking notes for this post.

I ordered a few dishes, half to have here and the rest to be able to box up for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

Out of the 7 Vietnamese subs that they offer on menu, they only had one option available one hour to close. And sadly it was one of my last choices. I would be missing out on their special sub with everything, their chicken sub, a lemon grass chicken sub, one with Vietnamese bacon, another with meat ball, and one vegetarian version with tofu.

I did end up going for the “Grilled pork sub” because there was pate included, and that is my favourite part of banh mi. Grilled pork, pate, mayo, cucumber, pickled veggies, cilantro, and jalapeños. It came to me luke warm. The bread crusty, the vegetable hard and cold. I liked the flavour of it, but not all the sauce that coated the meat and pooled under the bun, which it soaked up like a sponge. As for the flavour the pork was peppery and fully seasoned, the pate a ta grainy. Good, but I will have to come back to try my cold cut staple for a better gauge.

You don’t often come to Vietnamese restaurants thinking rice, but I had a craving and got this one to be able to try a few variation of how they prepare their meats. Special rice “com sac biet” with lemongrass chicken, pork chops, fried egg, egg patty and shredded pork. And all the rice dishes also come with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, pickled veggies and green onion. All the sides and the raw vegetables help to change the taste and inject a crispiness in to your bites. The salad was drizzled in a tangy citrus flavour and added freshness. And the egg some creaminess to the rice. As for the main, the pork chop was as tender as the chicken it was beside, and with a similar grill. Although it had more of a lemon grass flavour than the chicken with a sweet and salty teriyaki feel. And beware the bone, it is one third of piece. The egg patty was interesting. It was like meat loaf with pork, wood ear fungus, vermicelli and egg as the binder.

I love Vietnamese spring rolls. They are crispier than the regular ones with just a folded wonton wrapper. It is all in their jagged shell that gives it additional texture, a nice scrape against the roof of your mouth. Their “Jumbo spring roll” is filled with shrimp, pork, shredded carrots, egg, and taro. You can order them one at a time or two together with a savings of 50 cents when you do. Sadly, although I gave so much focus to the shell, there was too much breading for my tastes, especially at the ends. I just wanted a better ratio between it and the filling. Though at the end of the day, a generous dip into fish sauce is all it needed.

 

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? – No.
A quick and easy Vietnamese restaurant in a pitch. Clean setting, casual vibe, and fast food. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

VIET NOODLE GUY
1902 Rosser Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5C 3Z2
604-336-4888
thevietnoodleguy.ca

Sasaya Restaurant

We came here on a whim, looking at our original destination and turning back around, we ended walking across the way to “Sasaya”. Based on its awning and the photos of their dishes plastered on the window, I deemed it the best option in the neighbourhood.

Inside the restaurant was painted in a rose pink with an apple red detailing. Despite its colouring the whole set up felt like a cafeteria with linear tables set in rows. Stale grey rectangular tables surround by black office chairs. We grabbed a seat in the upper corner and watched the restaurant slowly fill; admiring the one lone server working the floor trying to service them all. She literally ran from table to table either delivering dishes, busing plates, or offering refills of water in to your cup.

The restaurant boasted Korean cuisine on the awning but based on the menu, signs in the dining area, and the staff greeting customers in Mandarin; this was more like a Chinese-style Korean restaurant with options like bubble tea, stewed appetizers, and other popular Taiwanese’s snacks. This had me curious over their homemade kimchi and what a pairing of mayonnaise and bamboo shoot would taste like. They were basically a bubble tea cafe hiding within this Korean restaurant front.

I ended up ordering Japanese style udon despite the Korean name and the Chinese influences. It was noodles and vegetable in a chicken broth base: cabbage, carrot, corn, shrimp, mussels, squid, tofu, sliced pork, egg, and udon. My guest likened it to an “Asian minestrone with tofu”, and now I can’t think of a better way to explain it. It was warming and comforting, with that home cooked feel, just as all the dishes to come were.

I ordered the “Deep fried black rice cake”’out of curiosity. It had a firm texture, what I imagine biting into freshly poured asphalt would be like. It was interesting enough to want to go back for a second, third, and fourth bite to try figure out what it is you were tasting. You ate it for its chewiness and enjoyed it for its instant-noodle-package-seasoning flavour.

The “Bibimbap” was very much so Korean with bbq pork, kimchi, beansprouts, mushrooms, egg, and rice. It came with the cast iron still sizzling. You stirred it all up and then added a kick with a healthy squeeze from the bottle of hot sauce that came with the set. It was exactly as we expected and just as satisfying.

I never miss ordering Korean rice cakes for their texture. This spicy one was plenty tasty, with the vegetables and meat offering contrast and some heartiness to the serving. Although, I would have been just as happy with the sauced up tubes as they were.

 

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.
Maybe I came in with very low expectations, but I found everything tasty and the meal very fairly price. I was especially impressed by our earnest server, so much so that I made sure to recognize her for your hard work and level head. Once again she was tasked with serving the entire dining room, and she did so with speed and efficiency. All whilst saying pleases and thank you’s. She even ran around with two pitchers in her hand to be ready to offer either hot or cold water. You don’t see that level of service for many off the grid shoppes like this, Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SASAYA
7538 Royal Oak Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5J 4K1
604-433-3652
Sasaya Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kamamarui Ramen & Don

I have finally gotten my partner into ramen. So when we spotted what we thought was a new ramen shop by where we live (the Burnaby Heights area), we immediately made plans to go. Although, it turns out that this has been a long standing location, with two years and a strong following.

The little shop is marked with bamboo curtains over the window and a single red glowing lantern. We came in at 5pm on a Sunday night and were the first ones in. We were quickly seated only to have the tables around us fill up right after with lone diners and four person families.

Inside, the dimly lit restaurant is narrow, so they cleverly utilize their space saving tables with matching stools that easily tuck underneath. Along the grey stucco walls are red and black hooks that look like the behind of dogs. You hang your coat and bags on their tails in order to create more space in between seats, with the ability to fit more patrons, more comfortably.

My only critique is with the mellow folk music they play overhead. It created a somber tone for the restaurant’s guests, an environment where you either ate in silence or spoke in whispers. Where the food and it’s flavours are more fun and you want to more jovial when embracing it.

Not only do they offer ramen, but their menu gives you a variety of Japanese comfort foods. Udon, rice bowls, agedashi tofu, gyoza, kimchi; and the possibility to have them as a combo with your ramen.

My partner had their “Tonkotsu ramen” with a regular pork based broth. It came with two slices of chashu, half a soft boiled egg, and as much bean sprouts as there were chewy yellow noodles. Lucky for me, he doesn’t actually like most of the toppings so my serving gets double of everything.

He made this meal a combo my adding a “mini chicken flame” rice bowl to it. Our food came out relatively quick, but that maybe because of the microwave that I heard. I suspect it was used to heat up this chicken dish as the meat was fairly tough and dry. The microwave opened and I heard the clanging of a dish against the spinning glass plate. And as soon as the ding of the bell went off, our food came out. The rice bowl was ok, it had a dull spice to match its flat, salty flavour; whereas I would have liked a bit more sweetness in the sticky sauce used.

For myself, I took our server’s recommend of their “Black ramen”. She declared it their most popular dish, the one that customers continue to come back for and say that they like. It too had a pork soup base, but to it they added roasting black garlic oil for extra flavour. And then I got it even more decadent with their rich broth option, instead of just regular, like above. In my bowl there were plenty of the following, but not enough noodle to pair with it all. Green onions, bean sprouts, tree ear mushrooms, half an egg, seaweed, and two slices of chashu pork. The serving was rich as promised, but not overwhelmingly so. You could still use the table side sauces to add heat or change the flavour mid way through.

I too made mine a combo my adding on their “bombs”. They are two round rice balls speckled with grilled seaweed and sesame seeds. I really liked their chewy texture and fragrant flavour. They were the perfect change of taste in between rich ramen bites. It the end I found this the most memorable dish of the meal and the one I would come back for.

 

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.
A great option for great ramen in Burnaby. I will be back to try their other flavours and maybe more of their combos. Just be warned they are a debit and cash only establishment. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

KAMAMARUI
4219 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC
778-379-8077
Kamamarui Ramen & Don Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Gray Olive Cafeteria

After visiting “The Gray Olive” for the first time during a “Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates” tour in the Burnaby Heights area, I knew to come back when my partner wanted some all day breakfast near our home. We wondered in at 2:30pm, and being the only ones to dine in at the time, had the pick of the place.

You order at the counter, after deciding what it is that you want, from the menu that covers the wall to your left. Weekday breakfast and lunch options are available all day, with some specific brunch specials only available on weekends and during holidays. We came in wanting breakfast, but ended up ordering sandwiches off their weekday lunch menu instead.

Their burgers and sandwiches don’t come with sides so my partner got their “G.O.” potatoes in a smaller serving, to accompany his “chicken bacon club”. This was a traditional club made with quality ingredients. Tender white meat chicken breast, thick cuts of bacon with a crispy caramelized coating, crisp lettuce, and a juicy tomato slice. But in place of a classic mayonnaise spread, they had a roasted garlic aioli. I didn’t really notice it, and found myself missing the tang mayo would have brought to the brioche bun instead. Overall, it was deliciously light with all its freshness. Good, but the breakfast potatoes out shone the sandwich given how good they were and how much more flavour they had in each cube. Each had the perfect crispy texture to them, a thick battered shell hiding a nice soften centre.

I went for their “roast chicken” sandwich, pairing it with a cup size of their “tomato bisque” soup. The soup was one of two soup specials for the day, I made it my side at an additional cost. Pulled chicken, pea shoots, pickled red onion, harvarti cheese, black pepper aioli, crackling, and gravy. It was like a chicken dinner between a toasted baguette, with some of the best tasting chicken I have ever had (and here I thought the sandwich above was impressive). You could taste the quality in everything from the first bite. The toppings added texture with the crunchy crackling and freshness with the green shoots. The red onions offered some tang, but I wanted more for my appetite. Maybe some sweet pickles on the side or a sharp mustard for contrast. I liked the idea of the gravy as a dip, but it only made an already rich sandwich denser. Instead we used it as a dip for the potatoes above, replacing the typical ketchup pairing. It was a light gravy, thick and slightly peppery. It did not mask or overwhelm anything it coated.

As for the soup, it made a great warming start. It had a nice and thick, only slightly lumpy consistency to it. Although I wished it more creamy, where the first sip reminded us of pasta sauce given the spices used.

The restaurant well reflected the food. It’s decor matched in how it was modern and trendy. Light Hearted and simple, you had everything you need and no extra flash. The space was brightly lit, with bleached wood and white furniture, it almost felt like a warm spring day within. Warmth from easy listening music and the that sprouted by the door and above the counter.

My only critique would be how they call themselves a cafeteria, but their food quality and prices are far from a mass assembly of food left to keep warm under a heat lamp. Given that we paid for it, the leisurely meal we enjoyed above, would be nicer as part of a full sit down service. To not order and have to pay before you eat, but to have your order taken at your table. Although they do deliver your meal to you on a metal tray, and bus it all away after; and you also get check-ins as your meal progressed.

 

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.
This, hands down was one of the most freshest meals I have ever had, and one of the healthiest servings I have ever enjoyed. When it all came the portions looked small, but reality was, this was a lot of food and we couldn’t finish it all. My partner got full fast and was sad because it tasted so good and he couldn’t finish it all. And unfortunately none of it would travel all that well as leftovers packed up to go. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GRAY OLIVE
4190 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C 2J4
604-566-9664
thegrayolive.com
The Gray Olive Cafeteria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

L’ Artista Italian Restaurant

My partner and I were looking for a quick dinner in our neighbourhood, he was craving Italian so we stopped at one of the many options in Burnaby Heights. I wasn’t expecting much given their limited social media presence and their 3.7 rating (when we researched ahead). But walking in at 6pm and seeing the older demographic, I could see that I would be the only one to take photos of my meal tonight, and that they probably got their following from word of mouth. We called ahead to check on the availability of a table, and were highly encouraged to make a reservation even though we were 10 minutes away. It turns out that majority of the restaurant’s tables were to be filled with their regular weekend crowd, claiming their favourite tables between 6:30-7pm. We wanted one by the window, but were told they were all reserved, despite us sitting and finishing our meal, and seeing no one claim the coveted seats during that time.

The entry way of the restaurant is a narrow corridor walk between the bar and the kitchen behind it, and an arch-ed wall. The wall corrals the dining area behind red brick and yellow stucco arches. It was an aged establishment decorated with Italian style art and artifacts. Oil paintings of buildings amongst waterways, held delicately in gilded gold frames; porcelain plates with photos of landmarks at its centre, and a collection of vases and jugs sitting ornamental on a ledge. It had a quaint feel further by the community appeal and friendly staff.

The menu was a laminated gathering of dishes categorized under appetizers, pastas, and various proteins. Having never been here before we both played it safe with pasta dishes. But our meal began with an oven warmed bun each and some whipped creamy butter to spread over it.

My partner had their “Fettuccine alla Federico”. A generous helping of pasta with pieces of chicken and mushrooms in the chef’s own sauce. The Alfredo was slightly orange due to a little tomato in it. The tomato offered the serving more depth and the addition of tang and spice. The mushroom offered the plate some heartiness, but I found them out of place. I much more preferred the classic lasagna below.

I took them up on their beef lasagna special of the day. The casserole dish came to the table bubbling, with a warning from the server who delivered it. Another server followed shortly after, offering both of us Parmesan by the spoonful and grated pepper to finish off the dish. This was a solid lasagne, homestyle with a thick sauce and plenty of toasted cheese. It was exactly as expected, great from first bite to the leftovers I enjoyed the day after.

 

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? – No.
A nice option for some hearty Italian in Burnaby. A quick and easy meal between $17.95-18.95. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

L’ ARTISTA
3891 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C 2H7
604-298-8110
lartistarestaurant.com
L'artista Italian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bubble Waffle Cafe, Brentwood Mall

I have been meaning to check out this latest edition to Brentwood Mall. Many were excited when they moved in to the old home of “mmm…muffins” within the mall’s food court. (Although I am not familiar with their chain and brand) Brentwood was never really busy to begin with, but it has been seeing a steady decline in businesses and clientele due to the construction that currently surrounds it. The unearthing of ground to build several apartment high rises in the expanding area. Therefore “Bubble Waffle” is a nice edition, and something different to bring customers in, especially as there isn’t anything already like it in the area. And an easy way for those unfamiliar with such Hong Kong style cuisine to give it a try.

They were busy on a Thursday afternoon. Although no one stood in line, there was a wait to fulfill orders from their stand. The rows of empty trays pre-set with a single napkin, straw, chopsticks, and Chinese style soup spoon spoke to this. Therefore their roster of employees behind the counter made sense. Although they mostly looked like family members in how casual they dressed and communicated with one other, and even how they invited more individuals behind the counter to join them in conversation. They spoke Mandarin to one another, and all those that came up to them fitting the part. It had me feeling like I was in a Richmond food court. Naturally their clientele was mostly Chinese, many being drawn to the familiar cuisine and logo.

Their menu is easy to read, each available item made into a combo and depicted in colourful photo. Poster quality images covering every available surface.

Given my familiarity with the cuisine, I gravitated towards the “Hainanese chicken with rice combo for $9.50”, although their “Signature boneless salt baked chicken rice” was a close second. The combo includes your choice of Hong Kong style drink. I went for the coffee and milk tea over flavoured lemon water/tea and Ribena (a black currant syrup flavoured beverage.) The coffee-tea combo drink is great for those who like the flavour of coffee, but not the bitterness of actual coffee.

The food comes to the counter fairly quick. Pre-made chicken with spices on the side, and a chilled drink. It was the made to order waffle that had bodies lingering in wait. Having it “for here” still has your serving being presented in a take out plastic container, the lid covering to keep things warm. Although all of it was served lukewarm, ready for eating, but you it would be best with a longer spin in the microwave.

I expected my serving of chicken over rice to look like, if not close to, what was presented in its menu photo, so was naturally disappointed when the chicken came stacked as rough bits torn from the bird. Not only did the chicken look unappealing, but there was barely enough of it for the serving of rice and excessive scoop of ginger paste to accompany. Although the latter was necessary if you wanted flavour in your food. Underneath it all were two slices of cucumber. I wished that they were pickled, and cut into smaller chunks. They offered the dish its refreshing quality and more of it would have helped. There was also plenty of soy sauce pooled at the bottom, this would have been better in a dish to pour and season as needed, as to not over salt the rice. As for the chicken, I have had my fair share of Hainanese style chicken and sadly this is my least favourite interpretation. It wasn’t bad for regular chicken, just not good enough to considered “Hainanese”. Even with the dryness of the meat itself aside.

I also opted in for their special add on that gives you a bag of bubble waffle for only $1 more. Given their name and claim to fame, this seemed like a good bet. “Bubble waffles” are made with a sweet batter pressed and flipped in a unique cast iron waffle press. The “bubble” comes from its aesthetics and the fact that each round is hollow. They have several flavours that you can choose from, but you can only get the original at the special price. They won’t even let you pay more for the option to customize, it was a hard no when I asked. Shame as the chocolate, green tea, cheesecake, sesame, and Oreo flavours sounded a lot more interesting and exclusive to them, then “original”. I would have gotten the green tea for colour.

I suggest claiming your bubble waffle after your meal, as it makes a great dessert or something to take to-go. This way you enjoy it fresh and soft. By the time I got a hold of my bag (which I asked for with my meal, so that I can take the group photo above), it was cold and each ball snapped off sharply. Although I liked the harder edges around the “bubbles” for their crunch. As a whole, this surprisingly held up when cooled down with its great flavour. Although allowing it to sit in the brown paper bag, had you realizing how greasy of a treat this was.

 

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.
This isn’t a bad food court solution. I feel the other chicken dishes would be similar to what I had above, but would be curious as to how their noodle dishes translated in this fast food setting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BUBBLE WAFFLE CAFE
Brentwood Mall, 4567 Lougheed Highway, Suite 744K, Burnaby BC
778-379-7345
Bubble Waffles Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fatburger, North Burnaby

My partner is a frequenter of the burger chain, especially as they now have their: smaller size big taste options that range between $9.99-$10.99 for a whole meal. It comes with a smaller burger and less fries for less. Where as a regular burger is $9.99 and to make it a combo with drink and fries you are looking at $4.99 more.

Each location is a little different. The one in Burnaby, by our place included breakfast until 4pm, a specialty touch screen soda machine, and small television screens at the counter facing the window. We you eventually sit and wait for our meal at the latter.

Like any fast food joint you line up at the single till and order from their pictorial menu hanging above. They offered various poutine, wings, and salads along with their burgers. But considering “burger” was in their name, you’d figure that’s what you ought to get. This was my first time visiting any location, and having one of these burgers. And given the praise others have given it, I went in optimistic; yet still cautious in ordering the more regular bacon cheddar burger. The menu doesn’t actually list what goes into it, and you can only guess so much by the pictures. Like how the “California” came with guacamole due to the green mushy layer in its photo, or the ultimate BBQ burger came with onion rings that were shown as thick crispy breading. Luckily the clerks know to warn you of all the toppings and condiments in each and confirm it is what you indeed want. After all one of their advertised promises is that they make you “a burger you can’t refuse”. Along with them being “big, juicy, tasty. (Now that is a fat burger)”.

You pay at the counter and are given a table number with the warning that “patience. (Is needed as) Perfection takes time”. There is a necessary wait as everything is prepared to order and made fresh in their fry kitchen, made visible right behind the check out counter. And apparently what comes out is good enough to come back for as they have a stamp card for frequent diners. After your purchase 7 full size burgers you get any meal up to $7.99 for free

We spent this elongated wait time battling with the less than optimal soda machine. It was a struggle to select what you wanted from its touch screen, without spraining a thumb. You find yourselves poking is several times, increasing the line during a rush. We eventually gave up and my partner went for cherry Fanta when he wanted fruit punch. And I had lemonade when I wanted peach ice tea from it.

When our burgers came, my partner’s Cajun chicken that he ordered was not seasoned in the orange hue it should have been. When I brought it up to the clerk attention that our order was wrong, she denied responsibility. I reminded her of our exchange how both he and I asked for the Cajun burger. My partner ordered for himself, but after realizing the clerk had trouble understanding him due to his accent, I reiterated “Cajun” a couple of more times to be sure. The clerk’s excuse was that she listed chicken when she ran through the burger toppings and we didn’t say anything when she did (whereas if she meant Cajun, she would have said, “Cajun Chicken”). In my mind, why would I split hairs when she mentioned chicken? It was a chicken burger after all? So after the back and forth and my unwillingness to take no for an answer she accepted the basket with the burger and fries back. I sat down only to question what is it they would do to rectify the situation and would it just be her suggestion of sprinkling Cajun spices over the chicken fillet and adding yellow cheese?

So I headed back and on my second trip up, I dipped behind the counter and was able to address, who I assume was the manager as she spoke with knowledge and a better understanding of customer service. She explained how the burger is made and what she would be doing to salvage it. I told her that I would let my partner try it and if it didn’t measure up I would be back. He comes often and this is his regular order, so he has an expectation in mind and expects it to match all the other Cajun chicken burgers he has had with them in the past. When he finally took a bite, it obviously wasn’t as expected. But he isn’t the type to make a fuss, so kept it. I took a bite and not knowing what to expect found it either bland or overwhelming with spice, due to the uneven peppering of the Cajun spices. But at this point my partner was too hungry and didn’t want to have wait another 10 minutes for them to actually make us a burger that we “couldn’t refuse”.

The kitchen (manager) later sent a server to come check in on us and how the burger was. When asked, my partner was honest, it isn’t what a Cajun burger should taste like, but he was unwilling to wait. She took the feedback away and later came back with a voucher for a free burger to make up for the disappointment and the experience, I assume. This was a good way to salvage the interaction.

As for my bacon cheddar burger, for what it was it was good. The patty was a touch on the dry side but the healthy mix of ketchup, mustard, and relish over top, it was easily masked. The candied bacon was the highlight with its thicker strips. And fries were also really nice and crisp too, but this is no wonder considering they also make their fries fresh too order with their burgers.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I am not upset about their being a mistake made and them not wanting to waste food by trying to “fix” the burger above. What I am upset about was the clerk arguing with me on what I said and asserting that this was what I wanted. Especially as I had to repeat “Cajun” a few times, and if she didn’t understand it is up to her to clarify, not for me to accept what she understood to be true. I know it may seem like a small thing, but when you choose to dine out, it is not only for the food, but you also take into consideration the atmosphere and the experience. And given the hype of this better burger chain and as it was my first time here, I unfortunately didn’t get that right away. Although I will not be writing them off for this fact, but instead because I have tried similar burgers, set at similar prices, also catering to that market of a step up from the burger of fast food chains; this just doesn’t measure up to my favourites in the category. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FATBURGER
4461 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby BC, V5C 3Z2
604-568-5179
fatburgercanada.com
Fatburger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sushi Giwa

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After working our way through a chocolate filled fest we were hankering for something more solid, something more healthier, and our stomachs brought us to sushi.

This location was chosen as it was near the home of one of my companions, and she vouched for it being a stand up place. Yet was honest enough to say that it wasn’t the best, but a “solid B” instead. Her gauge is based on how good a sushi restaurant’s real crab is, and here it was some of the better. And she should know, given that she is gluten intolerant, and the need for her to find substitutions in all she eats, is key in her meals. Apparently imitation crab contains gluten. So for her to say that they were good, there was no need for me to believe otherwise.

By all accounts the restaurant was the standard Japanese restaurant with traditional and fusion favourites. The dining room was divided into two by a wall and an artificial cherry blossom tree. Its white flowers crept overall all its far reaching branches, creating a romantic canopy to dine adjacent to. It’s just a shame that the booth seats we hunkered down on, came with large rips and were temporarily fixed by electric tape. It took away from the otherwise romantic-attempt at ambience.

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When it came time to order, they had a big bounded menu to sift through. However it is the laminated and coloured insert that we stuck to. It was just easier to order from with limited choices and a photo for each option. On it was their speciality rolls topped and sauced to an excess.

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One guest got their spicy tuna and yam tempera roll combo, which she claims this restaurant is the only one to offer together. The former was a regular salmon roll, pretty standard, like the fresh cucumber and mushy yam roll.

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The rest of our rolls each started off as a California roll with imitation crab meat, mayo, and avocado. And where it differed from one to the next was what was laid over each. This version of a California roll was the “Awesome roll”, made using real crab meat for $3 more. It is wrapped with seared salmon and tuna.

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The “Giwa house roll” was an assembly of prawn, crab meat, avocado, and cucumber; topped with cooked assorted seafood, vegetables, and even mozzarella cheese. An interactive plate that you explored by digging through the mound. It looked and tasted like a teriyaki stir fry with the sweeter sauce. Definitely a unique interpretation of sushi, very specific to this restaurant.

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The “Kochuran roll” is a deep fried California roll wrapped in avocado and salmon. It is served warm and still crispy. And not surprisingly all the meat was cooked within it, but sadly this included the salmon. It was a hearty roll that ate like a full meal. All our rolls did, however they had so much going on that you needed to cleanse your palette in between bites. But more often then not, your cup of tea was left empty, and the needed to track down one of the two servers to have it filled.

 

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.
This isn’t the type of sushi restaurant that you would go out of your way to visit. But it makes a decent neighbourhood option when looking for a meal that is quick and easy. One of those places that you never need a reservation for, and can be sure you will get seated as soon as you walk in, if not seat yourself. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SUSHI GIWA
5625 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5B 1R4
604-336-5250
sushigiwa.com
Sushi Giwa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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