gracecheung604 | write on time: May 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Brunch in North Vancouver - Thai House

Now that my office is in Chinatown, weekday lunches have become a bit boring, a constant stream of Dim Sum, BBQ Duck and Banh Mi. So I definitely have to make up for this on the weekends. One type of cuisine that I was definitely missing was Thai. It's funny how there's a total lack of Thai in Chinatown. Japanese is hard to come by too, but more on that in another post. IMG_5669 The North Vancouver location of Thai House is actually the closest one to me, so I decided to give it a shot last month. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the updated decor as well as how busy it was for a Sunday brunch! Oh, and for some reason, I didn't expect them to have a bar, although their sister restaurants Pink Elephant Thai and Urban Thai boasts great weekend traffic due to their fun and friendly bar service. It was a bit early for drinks, so we just went right for the food. 
IMG_5681 This is a dish I actually first tried at Pink Elephant as part of their appy platter. It's called the Goong Noon Hae, a Tiger Prawn wrapped with noodles and then deep-fried. It's a bit messy to eat, but totally worth it. The crunch is unreal. IMG_5686 One of my favourite Thai dishes is the Spicy Som Tum Malagor. It's only available seasonally so be sure to try it if it's available. The raw papaya are julienned and mixed with a spicy concoction of lime juice, fish sauce and lots of Thai spices and chilies. For a salad, this packs a huge punch of heat. If heat isn't your thing, they can prepare it mild as well, as can most of the dishes on their menu. Just be sure to let the server know! IMG_5690 Another fun appetizer idea (and great for groups) is their Lettuce Wrap. It has a bit of heat, but not as much as the salad above. The one we ordered is the minced beef version but chicken and duck are also available options. The beef is stirfried with lots of veggies and fresh basil as well as some deep fried vermicelli. The lettuce does a great job of holding everything together and gives it an extra crunch as well.  IMG_5695 This is the dish that everyone knows, the Pad Thai. The actual portions are larger than this, this is just my portion from the main serving dish. The flavours are quite mild and should appeal to those who don't crave a lot of heat. Crushed peanuts (lots!) are a traditional garnish, so if you're allergic, be sure to tell your server. They are great at asking you as well; something I am glad to be seeing more of in ethnic restaurants. IMG_5698 We also got a few of their stir fries. The first one is the Pad Bai Grapua, which is a saute with Thai chilies, pepper and basil, for our protein, we chose chicken. It can also be made vegetarian with tofu instead. IMG_5700 In addition to the Pad Thai, my other favourite carby Thai dish is the Pad See-Iw, made with broccoli and egg. The rice noodles here are a bit thicker than Pad Thai noodles, and are stir-fried with pork (So we had one of each protein (Beef lettuce wrap, Chicken Stir Fry and now, the pork). The veggies had a nice crunch to them still but the best part was the slightly chewy rice noodles. Often, I've had stir fried rice noodles that were clumpy and overcooked, but fortunately, these still had a bit of bite to them. Definitely a winner in my book. 

Take Note:

  • It can get busy for brunch on the weekends in North Van, call for reservations!
  • Their Kitsilano has AYCE brunch on weekends.
  • Free delivery after 5:30!

Thai House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spring Tasting Menu at The Blackbird

Last week, I was invited to taste the new Spring menu at The Blackbird, created by Chef Alvin Pillay, Research & Development of the Donnelly Group as well as new cocktails made by Trevor Kallies, the group's Bar & Beverage Director. downstairs The Blackbird is an interesting space, with barber shop, scotch tasting bar, pub and an oyster bar. Located on two floors in the Financial District, it's open daily at 11am, perfect for people to grab a quick lunch. Above is the hustle and bustle at the lower level restaurant. cocktail We started off with a cocktail called the Vitner's Brunch. The wine is a Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon, and into the mix are Victoria Oaken gin, Luxardo Cherry Morlaco Sangue, Scrappy's Cardamom bitters and a touch of lemon zest. It's a rather light cocktail, perfect for a starter beverage. oysters 6 Following a few sips, we were treated to an Oyster Tasting Trio. They are (from left to right), a Reed Island Oyster with bacon and sherry vinegar mignonette, a Royal Miyagi Oyster with wasabi horseradish cocktail sauce, and a Sawmill Bay Oyster with cucumber and kombu. I loved the bacon mignonette, it gave the oyster a rich and meaty texture. The cucumber & kombu topping was also well-paired with the Sawmill Bay. albacore tuna salad 1 Next followed two salads, the first of which was the Tempura Albacore Tuna salad. The tuna is first wrapped in nor before being battered and fried. The inside was still a nice rare with a slightly crispy exterior. There wasn't a lot of greens but the cucumber and cilantro was very flavourful. I'm not a huge fan of avocado, but if you are, you're in luck, there was plenty of it here amongst the greens! duck confit salad 1 Our second salad was my favourite (except for the dessert, I'll get to that later), a Duck Confit salad. I love the crispy skin of duck confit and this did not disappoint! And the portion was great for a salad. Rounding out the plate were lots of Fraser Valley beets and arugula, and lightly flavoured by an aged balsamic dressing.
lemon 2 b 
The dessert was a knockout. I love lemon so I was ecstatic that they went with a tart offering instead of chocolate. It's a Frozen Lemon Bar (with a layer of curd and mousse!). A nice crumble surrounded this, and it was topped with just a few dollops of Italian meringue. Surrounding the star were some rhubarb chunks as well as a bright green pistachio smear. All the flavours blended well and perfectly complemented a nice light lunch. 

Our final taste of the afternoon was another cocktail, called One to Grow On. As explained by Trevor, it's a throwback to the PSAs which aired during Saturday morning cartoons that he grew up on. This cocktail is served with an old-time striped paper straw and is made with a Golden Grahams infused Absolut Elyx vodka, a nod to the cereals kids usually eat while watching morning cartoons. The cocktail also contains egg white and egg yolk. There is also a bit of Pale Ale and Averna Amaro, which has a rich caramel taste. All served in a mini milk bottle, to complete the imagery of a time in history. 

The food was delicious, the servings portions are perfect for lunch and the price points are definitely comparable with the other restaurants in the area. If you are looking for a casual lunch in a fun atmosphere, be sure to give The Blackbird a try. And if you're just looking to get your drink on after work, be sure to check out the scotch tasting bar upstairs!

They are hosting a Spot Prawn Boil on May 18th, give them a call for all the details!

  **disclaimer - my lunch was complimentary but my opinions are my own. 

Take Note:

  • The Duck Confit Salad is amazing!
  • Skip the wine and give their cocktails a try.
  • $1.50 Oysters 4-6pm daily! 

The Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon


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