Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld and myself have been trying to cross this one off our list for a while now. Seeing photos online, we knew we wanted to visit Haven for the decor alone. After a few failed attempts without reservations, we finally found an opportunity to stop by on our way home from Abbotsford; calling well ahead to reserve a table, outside their more popular hours.
And from a visual standpoint we were not disappointed. The room opened up past the foyer. Modern with neon and gold gilded detailing running up the height of the bar, whimsical character wallpaper, and the loop of classic movie moments playing on the television screens. It also gave me a little boho with the macrame looking chandeliers, lush leafy greenery, and wicker light fixtures on the mezzanine. Everywhere you looked there was something to mesmer over, even the washroom had a dark fantasy moment for your to make into your next photo op. Although my favourite was certainly the bar that reached up to the ceiling. On each of its shelves were curios and collectables that you could spend hours obsessing over.
Sadly, we lost momentum over dinner. The menu wasn’t very inclusive of anyone with dietary restrictions. And I never really knew what that was like, being able to eat everything without fear of anything. Although planning to share a meal with Joyce meant I had to eat within her no-dairy world; and truth be told, I didn’t know it was so limiting. Long story short, everything we wanted on the menu we couldn’t have because there was no way to remove the dairy from the recipe. So at the very end we were reduced to our last choice. They did have a couple of vegan dishes, however based on their description we would skip most.
We did get the Peanut Tofu Bao Buns; which was white dough buns sandwiching a barbecued tofu with spicy peanut sauce, pickled daikon and carrot, crushed peanuts, and chives. I liked the textures of the mix, crispy from the julienned vegetables, a nice chew from the dough, and a solid base from the tofu with its smokey barbecue essence. It was a decent vegan option, but I couldn’t help wish there was an option to have it with the pork belly (also mentioned on the menu), instead. It would have been a great dish that those who have diary allergies could have.
Another vegan, and hence dairy-free option is the tofu curry that didn’t read satisfying, so we instead shared a burger. On the menu, the Haven Burger I has blue goose farms organic beef, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, mayo, red relish, sesame bun, hand cut sea salted fries. Although we had to get it without the cheese, but even then there was still some dairy in the brioche bun (but thankfully that was okay, otherwise it would have been one less option.)
We wanted to upgrade the fries to the ones with truffle, but this too included dairy. So we stuck with the regular fries and it was exactly as expected with its chewy centre and crispy shell. I liked it more than the burger. As far as burgers go, it is nothing special. General and a little flat, more than what cheese could provide. There was no depth, no elevation, and therefore nothing different from what you can make for yourself, in your own backyard.
Although I couldn’t pass up on trying Haven’s famous Corkscrew fried pickle. I love a good pickle, and not many do, which makes me like the niche all the more. Think of those hurricane potato snacks on a stick. The ones that you line up for and get at the Richmond Night Market; but now as a pickle. It was breaded in a buttermilk batter (same as the one on the fried chicken wings, that we also couldn’t have), deep fried, then drizzled with a ranch sauce and green onion. It was pickle dominant, whereas I wanted a 1:1 pickle to breading ratio. I also didn’t get much ranch flavouring, but just as well, seeing as you need a good, solid batter to pair well with the ranch, flavour-wise.
In conclusion, I forget that the restaurant is based out of Langley and therefore my Vancouver based references and comparisons aren’t fair. Spots like these are a dime a dozen downtown Vancouver, but here in Langley it certainly is different, and does stand out. A casual modern restaurant gem. I would definitely recommend posting up at their bar and enjoying some of their drinks. This is a great spot to be apart of, and a great room to be in.
Haven Kitchen + Bar
19664 64 Ave Unit 105, Langley Twp, BC V2Y 3J6