IMG_2732Celebrating the best of BC. As hard as I may try, sometimes I have no choice but to visit the same restaurant twice. Something I try to avoid, in order to bring a variety of flavours to this blog. However when the person who is treating me chooses the destination, I shut my mouth and enjoy the generosity.

This is a revisit. However a second visit differing enough from the last, that it warrants a completely new review.

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My first visit was during the peak of summer, at a busier time. I recall being seated indoor and upstairs with the sun’s glare blinding me to the point of continuous squinting. Today was a sunnier crisp fall day. With no rain or clouds we opted for the patio, for our 3pm late lunch. A move meant to take advantage of the spectacular view we would get out there. I was hoping for the patio upstairs, but settled for the one on the ground level, as it was the only one open for seating at this time. Though we were disappointed to learn that it was covered with a see through plastic tarp. The covering not only kept the seating area dry and wind free, but it took away from what would be a spectacular water level view of Science World and False Creek. The patio was kept toasty with multiple over head heaters. They were so effective, to the point that the continuous stream of heat stared to burn. And after asking our server to turnoff the heat we smelled enough propane gas to ask if it was an usual occurrence.

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The lunch menu is a one pager of pub classics. Fast food turned upscale with unique ingredients and a list of what seems like crazy ingredient combinations. It all works and it gets you wanting to try. Peanut butter & jelly or poutine in burgers, beer in macaroni and cheese, pretzels in cookies and cream desserts, and chips made from bacon.

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At a place with a long bar, almost the length of the room. With a row of over 50 taps lining one side of it, it almost felt like a requirement to have to order a beer or too. And the best way to do this is through their beer flights. Flights are taster sized portions, meant to give you variety. This way, you get to try three different beers, ones that you wouldn’t otherwise commit to as a pint. They were sold out of the fruitier, sweeter ones that I was eyeing: a banana & clove wheat beer, a grapefruit blonde, and a blueberry wit. So I settled on the three new additions that took their place. Think less summer and more fall. Chestnut ale, pumpkin ale, and tree brewing raspberry I.P.A. The chestnut was sweet with a thicker syrup like consistency. The pumpkin tasted like the pie, not the gourd. And the raspberry was light and refreshing.

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We had their pizza, which is hand stretched dough, topped with locally inspired artisanal ingredients, all baked up in a wood stone hearth oven.

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“Sweet fennel sausage”, provolone, and roasted peppers in a homemade tomato sauce. Wished it was as flavourful as it was colourful. Each bite was tasteless, unless intentionally taken with a piece of salty, peppery sausage. Though the cheese was fresh and the dough was baked to a perfect chewy consistency.

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“Roasted pork belly”, soft cooked eggs, caramelized onions, and smoked mozzarella. The eggs in the description peaked my interest. I always try to go for the unique. And this would be my first pizza with egg as a topping. It was good, but you always left like you were missing something. My guest and I concluded that the addition of apple or pear slices would be ideal. They would accent the pie with its sweetness and bring a crunch to an otherwise soggy bite. The pork was tender and juicy, I was just disappointed that there was not more of it. There was a larger onion to pork ratio. And therefore should be called the caramelized onion pizza.

It was a slow service, which allowed our server to be free enough to be attentive. Though we found it weird that she had a break, and then was off, all in the two hours that we stayed. Having been in the hospitality industry and knowing people who are still in the business, we found it surprising that she even had breaks, when she still had diners. It didn’t hurt the experience, as her colleagues and replacement filled in the gap nicely.

My gripe is the washroom situation. A one stall common use washroom, with toilet and urinal. At a bar with plenty of drinking you cannot expect your customers to be able to wait comfortably for their turn with the only stall. There were other available upstairs, but by the time you got there, chances are this one would be freed up. Or maybe you would have to wait for the ones upstairs. Either way. 50 taps, 5 stalls? Good balance, no?

I preferred this my second visit. Away from the sun’s blinding rays, in a chair overlooking one of the best dining views that Vancouver has to offer, and all while enjoying great beers and delicious food. And the best part is, at this time of day parking at the Olympic Village is easy and free. As this is my second post, I will definitely come back and absolutely recommend. Don’t deny your cravings.

To read my original post click HERE.

TAP & BARREL
1 Athletes Way, Vancouver BC, V5Y 0C2
604-685-2223
tapandbarrel.com
Tap & Barrel on Urbanspoon