We came to Mila for name alone. My friend’s daughter shares the name of this newer plant-based restaurant, so we figured it would be a fun treat to bring her out with us today. And with Dine Out Vancouver running, this was an ideal time to get a good look at what they bring to the table, literally. $40 gives you a choice between 3 options across 3 courses. Below are our picks and what we would recommend out of them all. But first drinks, cause we made it in time for Happy Hour and their $10 cocktails.
Isla Nublar is a show stopper with Havana Club 3, Ancho Reyes, mango juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup. This fun drink is as tropical and as tasty as it sounds. Island freshness with fun propping.
The Sakura is a whole lot stiffer with tart and smokey hints. Absolut Vodka, Giffards Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino, lemon juice, lavender bitters, and Angostura Bitters.
We also ordered the half sushi roll. $6.50 for 3-4 pieces instead of the $14-15 for the whole roll for 6-8 pieces. The Mila Roll has a heart of palm mix, avocado, cucumber, black sesame, tempura crunch, and wasabi mango mayo. This was a great mix of textures and tastes, hard to describe and pinpoint, but one I fully endorse. It ate like a salad, but as easy as a sushi roll.
But the one that really blew my mind was the Aburi Lox Oshi. Made with carrot lox, aburi sauce, shiso, and serrano. I have had my fair share of the salmon version of aburi, and have even made my own from coho salmon that I caught all on my own. So trust me when I declare that this imitation salmon roll is amazing. If I didn’t know it was carrot I would have been fooled into believing it was fish. This was so unbelievably tasty, and super impressive as a vegan oshi option. After the first piece I wanted more of this spicy and smokey block, so found myself ordering a whole roll to end our meal on, and in order to share my findings with my friends as leftovers.
As for the actual Dine Out Menu, we ordered the other two starters, having already tried the sushi option above. I wasn’t a fan of the Wild Mushroom Toast with whipped ricotta, demi-glace, truffle, and micro herbs. I thought it would grow on me, but something about it put me off. I found it simply salty, whereas I wanted more depth of flavour. I didn’t get mushroom or anything close to ricotta. It fell flat, despite how delicious the presentation came out.
I would instead recommend the Bao Buns with hoisin tempeh, pickled onion + cucumber, sambal aioli, cilantro, and crispy shallots. This one got me back on the Mila bandwagon. The white dough bun was prepared perfectly, salted evenly and baked fluffy. The sauces were what I would expect from a vegan take on this Chinese fusion snack item. The tempeh also ate with some substance and I wasn’t missing meat here.
For mains we skipped on the Mushroom + Sausage Tagliatelle and instead went for something more unusual in their vegan take on fast food classics.
The Smash Burger is their interpretation of an American cheeseburger. Average by those standards, but aces as an all plant take. Double patties, cheddar, black garlic chive aioli, iceberg, onion, roma, and a pickle; on a brioche bun, served with smashed chips. The vegan patty was crumbly, but tasty with the smokey nacho sauce. I just wanted more tang from a sweet bbq sauce and/or more pickled vegetables. This was good, but the potatoes are what stole the show. Offered as sides to both our entrees, these were some of the best potatoes that I have ever had. Smashed creamy, yet firm with the skin. Plenty of seasonings as is, but made more familiar and comforting with ketchup.
If you only get to try one entree, make it the Fish + Chips with tempura celeriac, caramelized lemon, mango cabbage slaw, tartar, and smashed chips. Here Mila hits another home run with their take on white fish this time. The texture was unbelievable, they managed to get the celeriac to flake like fish would. And once under a thick coating of crispy airy battery, it was unrecognizable. Finished with perfect tartar sauce, I dare say that this was a better rendition than actual fish and chips. It was less greasy than ones that I have had, with the flavour to match. It was clean and refined, and I would go back just for their “fish and chips”. I just would edit the slaw to one more complimentary. It was a good crunchy julienned vegetable mix, but I didn’t think the Asian flavour matched with the tartar all that much, or the potatoes.
There are only two dessert options so we shared both. The Peanut Butter Cup Pie was rich and decadent featuring puffed crisps, chocolate ganache, and maldon. Satisfying with peanut butter and chocolate, this was exactly what you would expect given the name. We didn’t miss milk or egg here
Out of personal preference I recommend the Lemon Custard Bar with a salted oat crust and berry compote. It had the creamy and jello-like texture of panna cotta. Refreshing from the lemon and hearty with the crumble. It delivered on expectations and was a nice zesty note to end on.
Overall, this was fantastic meal and Mila is a fantastic restaurant. Not just under the category of vegan restaurants, but a restaurant I would return to and dine at when I want good food. I have already recommended this one and have recalled my favourites to many. I am hoping to dine with them again in the near feature, and try more of their clever take on meat-filled favourites.
185 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3