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Sidebar Grill


Admittedly, I don’t get out to Langley all that much. But if there is an opportunity to explore more of its food and drink scene, I would make the trip out.

Case in point, we drove out to Sidebar Grill, located at the newer development area: Latimer Village. There, the neighbourhood hot spot is Sidebar Grill. Offering a broad selection for those who like it causal and for those who are keen to try something more exotic.

We started our lunch with a couple of cocktails. The Don’t Burst My Bubble is a must for the theatrics alone. Ketel One Vodka, triple sec, Aperol, strawberry syrup, and lemon juice. Zested with fresh orange peel, and atomized with limoncello. The aromatic smoke bubble that gets topped at the table is definitely the draw. As for how it tasted, this was so easy and fresh of a sipper, ideal for brunch with very subtle liquor notes. You can’t taste it, but you can feel it.

The Love Potion No.9 was another smokey cocktail. Served in a smoked bottle, the lid is popped and the drink with smoke is poured out into a waiting tumbler. A mix of Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin, banana liqueur, fresh-pressed meyer lemon, grapefruit juice, and hibiscus-infused syrup. Garnished with seasonal flower and aromatic smoke. I assume the name comes from the drink’s floral berry colouring and taste. It reminded me of the adult version of cherry kool-aid.

For our second round of drinks we went more tropical with it. The Spicy Pineapple Margarita had El Tequileno Reposado, triple sec, lime juice, and pineapple juice. It was atomized with artisanal mezcal and finished with Tajin Clásico, chamoy, black lemon and a seasonal flower. I really liked the use of the tajin spice in this, giving you a hit of savoury before it transitions to sweet and ends on a smokey note.

The Banana Hammock I had to get for the name alone. Appleton Estate Rum, Sons of Vancouver No.82 Amaretto, house-made banana syrup, and cinnamon bitters. Garnish with a caramelized banana. This reminded me of a warm baked Banana and rum nut cake. Drinking it was like dessert in a glass. I just wished there was more caramelized banana slices to use as a lovely complimentary chase to each sip of drink.

As mentioned earlier, we found the menu very diverse. It feed well to the area, as well as also speaking to the breath of the chef’s restaurant experience. When it came time to choose, we kept our picks to the “Sidebar signatures”, denoted on the menu with a chefs hat icon.

The Hot Maple Smoked Sockeye was not as expected. A build your own assembly of hot maple-smoked sockeye salmon, mango-ginger salsa, pickled ginger, and lightly salted wonton crisps. I would have liked the salmon more on the rare side to have a softer bite to better contrast the crunch of the fried wonton chip. The mango did well to bring a nice brightness to the otherwise heavy and drier salmon. Not my first pick, and not one I would order again.

We did like the Roasted Jalapeño Cornbread. Served warm and whole in its own skillet, but not baked to order as the centre was at room temperature. Although I didn’t mind all that much, as I was just impressed by the portion size and the fact they had whole corn kernels baked right in.

I also liked the freshness and pepperiness the spring onion garnish added to this and would have also liked to see it baked into the cornbread as well. The whipped honey butter accompaniment was really the cherry on the top.

The Bee’s Knees were chicken wings tossed in a honey mustard sauce, topped with radish sprouts, sesame seeds, and served with spicy yogurt dip. These were crispy wings, tasty with the familiar flavours of honey mustard, and given new life with the creamy mayo m-based sauce. A great appetizer to start with.

For such places I like ordering a burger to get a good idea of what they are about and the Bistro Burger is the one to get. A 6oz ground chuck, sharp cheddar, caramelized onions, lettuce, Roma tomato, dill pickles, and BBO sauce all between a butter-toasted brioche bun. We also added on some bacon and were very happy that we did. The sweet and tangy barbecue sauce was tasty, and did well to add some needed moisture to a slightly dry patty. I would liked it more like smash burger, but all the other toppings jibed well and this was a solid choice.

For our burger’s side we made a substitution and got the Hot honey fries instead of regular ones. You also have the option of having onion rings, Caesar salad, or yam fries instead. The Hot honey were shoestring potatoes coated in a hot honey dressing and were still crispy despite of this. I liked the further indulgence of having it with the same aioli as above for dipping into.

For something more substantial we looked to the Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Pesto. Double-cut lamb chops, mint pesto, potato-lentil cakes, curried yam sauce, roasted tomato, baby bok choy, fresh-cut corn, and garlic butter. Hands down, my favourite of all the dishes that we tried. The chop was so thoroughly seasoned and flavourful that you needed the vegetables on the side to balance out all that rich gristle and meat. I also would have liked it with a noodle or rice as base.

And as a little treat the Chef kindly brought out a Lentil Cake for us to try. Typically part of his potato and lentil cake dish ideal for those on a plant-based diet. It has a crispy coating and a soft grainy filling, well-spiced with the curried yam sauce.

Too full we couldn’t even entertain dessert.

In closing, Sidebar is a great option for a causal chain restaurant, but a step above with its own personality and take. One to visit the next time you are out in Langley.

Sidebar Grill
20018 83A Ave b100, Langley Twp, BC V2Y 3R4
(778) 298-7433

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