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Sai Woo

Today Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld and myself were visiting one of my usual stomping grounds for dinner. Sai Woo is a modern Asian fusion bar that hosts a large collection of spirits and talented bartenders, with the ability to craft award winning cocktails from them. However, today visit would be a little different than my usual process of grabbing a seat at the bar and ordering drinks based off their looks.

Today, we would be taking note of the more refined side of Sai Woo, including three courses, worthy of prix fixe status and the perfect wines to pair with each.

But I could not visit without grabbing a cocktail to start. Joyce went with the Seasoned Sakura for her love of peppercorn and it’s numbing effects. This was Sakura cherry and Seschaun peppercorn infused XO brandy, Amaro Montenegro, orange, lemon, grapefruit, and charred star anise. There wasn’t really any peppercorn flavour or feeling in this. It drank like a garden patio mixer; refreshing and sweet, furthered with the egg foam topping.

I went with The Green Hornet, a cocktail I often find myself gravitating towards due to its tropical ingredient list. Sheringham Aquavit, green chartreusse, matcha coconut cream, and mango purée. It was unique in its creamy finish, thanks to the coconut milk. But drank savoury, almost like a green juice. I have had nothing else like it to date.

Our first course was their Chinatown Paella paired with a lighter rose. The paella was a mix of house beef chorizo, prawn, humboldt squid, mussel, smoked tomato, asian greens, coconut milk, and XO sauce. The presentation in the stone bowl kept the rice cooking and crisping up at the edges. It also kept it warmer for longer thanks to it. This was a delicious serving I would order again. So much flavour and great texture from the bounty of ingredients. No complaints.

The next course was their Rack of Lamb paired with a smooth red. The bottle of wine came highly recommended by the bartender, and I can see why. Well worth the cost, its full bodied nature paired perfectly with the lamb rack and its spiced crust. The latter is served with a side of carrot purée, sautéed mushroom and asian greens, soy pickled serrano, nori butter, and herb oil. The lamb was tender and juicy, with the purée and miscellaneous vegetables offering a change in taste, and the ability to curate your perfect bite. My only grievance is that there isn’t enough of the lamb for an even meat to vegetable ratio.

And for dessert we had the Sai Woo Toast, described as vanilla ice cream (our version was a sorbet, as Joyce is allergic to dairy), maple syrup, toasted pumpkin seeds, cashew crumbs, and berries. It was certainly a mixed bag dressed like a Korean style fried dough beaver tail with an eggy texture. Looks simple and offered a great sweet last bites

In short, Sai Woo is still one of my favourite bars to dress up and post up on. This definitely won’t be the last time they see me there.

Sai Woo
158 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3
(604) 568-1117

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