While most restaurants are shuttering with the onset of Covid 19 this year, the ones that have remained running have found ways to create additional revenue by other means. New ideas on how to utilize abandoned spaces, new pop up kitchens, and new ways to bring food to people. Take for example, Yasma the kitchen churning out cuisine that has yet to be seen in Vancouver’s culinary landscape out of the kitchen of Dark Table, the dining in the dark experience no longer in operation. The owners of the space have pivoted and are now focusing on introducing their native cuisine to metro Vancouver. As taken from their website, “Levant that draw(s) on the deep histories and celebrated cuisines of Syria and Lebanon”. I haven’t had much experience with Lebanese and Syrian food, let alone Levant, which I only learned of through discovering Yasma.
You place your order online and pick up at your selected time. We ordered what was the most interesting sounding from their online menu, and found a lot of familiar favourites done with slight variations. And out of all the take out I have been doing this past year, theirs is one of the nicest. Polished with their choice in containers and the colourful ingredients that show through the plastic coverings.
The Fatteh Hummus ate like a layered casserole with Chickpeas, Crispy pita, tahini, yogurt, ghee and nuts. So instead of dipping or smearing your hummus, you stick your spoon in and scoop up a mouthful. The hummus was also lighter than what I am use to, a mildness to not overpower the chickpeas I suspect.
But in terms of pairings to pita, the Muhammara dip is what I preferred and what I would recommend. A stunning orange paste of Pomegranate Molasses, Pepper, Walnuts, and bread crumbs. Familiar, yet different, and simply delicious. This was my favourite of all our dishes that we enjoyed.
For something refreshing and a great way to cut through all the bold flavours, we looked to the pickled vegetables. A handsome assembly which included a pickled cherry tomato that was an unexpected and tasty treat with its tang.
The Tabouleh Salad with its spicy and refreshing notes, also helped to balance out our feast. It is pretty much a parsley salad peppered with tomato, onion, cracked wheat, and lemon juice.
The Lamb Sausages were nice to nibble on. A string of linked up minced lamb, pine nuts, and pomegranate molasses. They were zesty with a hint of spice, a heat well balanced by the sweetness of the peppers and red onions.
The Fried Kibbeh came in threes. They are like fried empanadas stuffed with minced Lamb, bulgur, onions, and nuts. A pretty mild dumpling alone, so best with a dip in their tangy yogurt sauce for moisture and freshness.
The kabobs were the most encompassing entree. It came with a side of roasted vegetables and cold side salad. The roasted vegetables were an impressive collection of asparagus, nugget potatoes, coloured peppers, sun chokes, onions, and tomato. The salad, a mix of tomato, cucumber, onion, and parsley. As for the actually kabob.We had the Aleppo Kabab which was like a Minced lamb meat ball crusted in pistachios and peppers. It was nice and chewy skewers, but I wanted more depth from their flavour and a nice rice to enjoy with it, out of preference.
A similar set was the Salmon Kabab that came with a white cream sauce. Grilled Skewers marinated in lemon, garlic and olive oil. A little on the dry side so helped along by the liquid cream.
And the best part, all the above makes for great leftovers, the flavours only heighten and the spices carry forward. Overall a cuisine worth trying for the experience alone.
2611 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1P8