I live in Gastown, by choice.
Those who are unfamiliar with its particular allures are entitled to wonder why.We first showed up at 5, walked up the stairs only to find that they weren’t open yet…floor mopping and table setting, I assume. So we headed down to Cork & Fin first. Around 6ish, we returned and they welcomed us with open arms!
First thing we ordered was the wine, but they didn’t have any reds on their recently revamped wine list. Turns out they DO have red wine; it just fell off the list. No matter, we got a bottle of Rioja ($32) and settled in to peruse the menu. I’ve heard that they have pretty decent subs, and have read reviews raving about the gyozas.
For food, we ordered the Pork Gyozas. There were half a dozen and it was only $8. I found them a bit too salty, but maybe the combination of soy and mirin were a bit much?
One of my favourite foods is Xiao Long Baos, and if you like them too, then you'll know that part of the process of eating them is to find a way to place the vinegar and ginger shreds onto your spoon to eat them all together. Diamond has solved this dilemma by putting the ginger shreds into the pork gyoza. Truly ingenious. Made with Sloping Hills organic pork, shitake mushrooms and bits of cabbage, it was a filling nibble. I liked how they served it crispy side up…nicely charred from the sitting in the frying pan.
Our next dish is the Red Snapper Ceviche ($11). Thinly sliced snapper, marinated in a sesame oil dressing, toosed with tobiko. Truly delicious.
It was topped with pea shoots and white sesame and a sprinkle of black pepper. The snapper was sliced thick enough so that the dressing didn't over-cure the meat.
The pea shoots were really fresh and just tossed in the dressing, raw and natural. With a touch of lime and chili oil, the flavours were fresh and bold.
Another one of their infamous dishes is their Duck and Chicken Sub ($9). Reminiscent of Vietnamese subs, we had to try it. Since my friend was out of town, he had no idea what a good Viet sub is...a la Au Petit Cafe. Well, this was his introduction to the delicacy.
The bread was panini like, but not enough grill marks. The filling was a combination of duck and soy chicken. Inside, there were also Asian pear slices, raisins, pickled carrots and cucumber, with a light touch of mayo.
Despite everything that's inside, the highlight was the duck, game-y and perfectly cooked. Succulent and juicy, good size chunks. Oddly enough, the chicken was sliced much thinner but still managed to maintain its juicy goodness too.
The pear was a really great touch, and although you don't notice the raisins as you are eating, both fruits really add a nice sweetness to the sandwich. Everything comes together really nicely.