One of Canada’s most tried and true restaurant chain: is pushing their threshold, with this new concept. Not just burgers and comfort plates anymore, the next evolution of White Spot is R+D Kitchen. R+D stands for “Research + Development” and functions as White Spot’s test kitchen, where new menus items are born, but fan favourite, White Spot classics make an appearance as well.
The space is also nothing like you have seen from any White Spot location before. Tucked away at the back of the new Amazing Brentwood food court: Tables; this new concept breathes life. Like many of the others who were invited to the sneak peak media preview, a day before opening, I did not know this was even here before today.
It was a little hard to take in all sights, let alone all the food and drinks during the event, so myself and Diana of @foodologyca, spread our visit across two days; to fully cover the new restaurant in a more realistic light. So be aware that the references will jump back and forth from one visit to the next.
The design of the space felt sophisticated. Simple and classic with a central island bar, open kitchen, a feature green growth wall, and the expanse of the windows that surrounds the room.
As for food, the menu highlights R+D exclusives with features for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and weekend brunch. A slew of choices and dietary options not normally made available to White Spot purists. We got a good look at some of these items, but only got to try small bites of most. So I will post their photos and reference them here, but the real review will be on the dishes we ordered, and ate fully upon our subsequent visit.
We tried the sliders and now wanted more of the wagyu burgers, available in a truffled mushroom and cheese and bacon. However, they were sold out of the wagyu patty on the first day. We are still fans of the regular White Spot burgers, but figured since we are at R+D, we should stick to their specials.
So instead, we had their Gochujang Fried Chicken Burger. Having had a bite of the chicken and sauce the night before, I knew I would like the chicken and its flavouring today. What was lacking here was mayonnaise and tang needed to balance out the bun sandwiching things. I also wanted more gochujang, to have it fully coat the chicken, and be topped with plenty of slaw for crunch and freshness. Luckily our combo did come with a side of slaw, along with our thick and chewy potato fries.
For a more substantial main, they do a 9oz New York steak. And for the vegetarians and vegans, you can get that cauliflower-ed.
We didn’t get to try the Crispy Skin Arctic Char, but I would be curious to see how White Spot’s test kitchen does with seafood, served with rainbow carrots, roasted baby potatoes and basil hollandaise.
Another item we had and liked during the teaser opening was the BBQ Beef Brisket on Filone, so ordered the full serving with a side of crispy onion rings and garlic aioli. This is slow-roasted beef brisket, Carolina BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and aged white Cheddar. They were generous with the cuts of meat, but it was on the drier side today, which had me wishing for a jus, much like a French dip. However the flavour was there. The sample size was just more succulent and buttery.
We also decided to get a double dose of the Brunch Pizza featuring pico de gallo, bacon, mozzarella, Parmesan egg custard, and green onion. I liked the puffy crust and eggy topping texture. I just wished that they took it up another level with thicker bacon chunks and maybe a sous vide egg atop? As is, it felt more like a quiche. And the tangy pico de gallo had me thinking of the McDonald’s breakfast burrito, but minus the sausage. But hot tip: order this with a side of the garlic aioli (the one that came with our order of onion rings), as it definitely perked this one, up and made it all new.
Hands down, our favourite item off of the R+D menu is the Roasted Garlic & Habanero Chicken Drums. The only down side is that it it comes with just 3 drumsticks. So double up on your order, if not triple. These were tender chicken drums seasoned in a Carolina BBQ sauce, served with a buttermilk ranch for dipping. This was incredibly saucy, so much tasty flavour that it had me stripping the bone clean and double dipping meat into communal sauce.
We were far less impressed with the Black Truffle Vegan Mushroom Fettuccine, but mostly because our expectations of it was off. We imagined a cream sauce and the unique umami flavour of truffles. In hindsight, we should have known better as the menu did read “vegan”. Black truffle roasted seasonal mushrooms, San Marzano marinara, fettuccine, fresh basil, and vegan Parmesan. Served with a side of filone. This was more like mushrooms in a red sauce pasta. It ate very lean, and could have used a lot more garlic, seasonings, and sauce overall. We all found this one bland coming out of the Korean fried chicken burger and the sauciest drums I have had to date.
We also ordered a few of their cocktails, handcrafted exclusively for the R+D Kitchen. They take the Bellini to the next level with their twisted rendition. A mix of their classic Peach Bellini and Wildberry Bellini slush. Presented like a flower with berry gummies as garnish.
Equality eye catching was the Wildberry Gin Mule with Cirka gin, ginger beer and wildberry slush. A refreshing glass that paired well with everything that we ate.
For a more sophisticated sipper look to the Canadian Old Fashioned, with a perfectly formed, clear, squared ice cube. Crown Royal Harvest Rye, real Canadian maple syrup, and bitters.
For dessert we decided to order “one of each”.
The Triple Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownie is a Ghirardelli triple dark chocolate brownie with marshmallows, a graham cracker crust, and raspberry coulis. Given how it looks and reads, I expected an explosion of gooey chocolatey goodness. Instead it ate more like a slice of cake you get at coffee shop. I did like how stretchy the marshmallow topping got, and wanted more of the buttery graham cracker crust to chew through.
The Triple Berry Cheesecake was our favourite desert because of how rich it was, and how much crust we got. Basically everything we wanted above, came through here. Rich and creamy with a triple berry topping.
For those who prefer to end on a lighter note, the Caramelized Pineapple Gelato Coupe should be your go-to. Strawberry and vanilla gelato, roasted pineapple and mint, cashews, and raspberry coulis. Not actually served in a coupe. This felt like an interactive dessert, as I liked sorting through all the elements and curating my ideal bite. Overalls it was refreshing with the acid and mint, yet substantial with the crunch of the toasted nuts.
In closing, this is a great addition to the neighbourhood. Easy to travel to, with plenty of parking, and a menu that caters to all. Young families can enjoy the child friendly options, those with dietary restrictions have plenty to choose from with vegan and gluten-free choices, and those who want to drink in a mall can indulge in their fully stocked bar. The restaurant also features the “Kitchen Window”, a pass where shoppers stopping by for a quick and casual bite can take their food to go.
The Amazing Brentwood Foodcourt
4567 Lougheed Hwy., Burnaby, BC V5C 3Z6