Tag Archives: Kitsilano

Photo Visit – Au Comptoir – November 2014

30 Nov

2278 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V6K 1N8

T: 604 569 2278
www.aucomptoir.ca

So, it is official. I am smitten with Au Comptoir. I am completely taken with this cute, Parisian-inspired café. B and I have been visiting regularly for brunch (a great option if you are in the Kitsilano area) but it was only recently that we had dinner there. The atmosphere makes this a perfect little spot for a date night, particularly on a cold fall night. We warmed up over some glasses of French sparkling wine before placing our orders. Highlights of the evening were the delicate and creamy foie gras torchon (I had to look up what torchon is, and basically the foie gras is wrapped tight in a cloth to keep it all together and then cooked). The confit leek tart was also a stand-out, as were the desserts (not surprising really as the pastry chef last worked at Blue Water Cafe).

I had mentioned in my previous post that the service is very reminiscent of Parisian service (less hand-holding than North American service) and I had a message from a reader saying that they had been ignored and experience rude service at Au Comptoir. After visiting numerous times since they opened, this has not been my experience at all. If you are looking for overly attentive service, keep in mind that this isn’t the service on offer at Au Comptoir. You will get everything you need but my understanding is that their intention is to allow diners to linger – if you need your bill, ask for it. Simple.

Foie gras torchon with brioche – $19Confit leek tart, buttermilk ricotta, potato crisps – $12

Unilateral salmon, tagliatelle, tarragon beurre blanc – $24

Chanterelle and celeriac risotto – $21

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Lava Cake

Having Au Comptoir in the neighbourhood has made me very happy. If I’m in the mood for French, I go to Au Comptoir, if I am in the mood for Italian, I trot down to Nook. The Kits neighbourhood has certainly been improved with this recent addition to the food scene.

Photo Visit – Au Comptoir – October 2014

26 Oct

2278 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V6K 1N8

T: 604 569 2278
www.aucomptoir.ca

Having recently completed a short wine course, where I was introduced to French wines that I hadn’t had the opportunity to sample before, I have been spending a lot of time lately daydreaming about a food and wine trip to France. To make matters worse, I’ve also been watching a lot of food and wine documentaries that have showcased the passion that the French have for the finer things in life. All of this has inspired me to want to pack my bags and run off to explore wineries, intimate bistros, and inviting cafés, in Paris, Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, and Lyon. Unfortunately, I’m not likely to get away any time soon and so I will need to come up with other ways to satisfy my yearning for everything French. Thankfully, a little Parisian-inspired café, Au Comptoir, has just opened up a few blocks from my place which will help scratch the itch for a while. Merveilleux!

Although today was my first, and only, visit to Au Comptoir, I am smitten. The décor, the service, and the food, were all very reminiscent of the times that I have travelled in France. All of the well-dressed servers spoke French amongst themselves (but English to patrons), the décor was charming (complete with an authentic tin bar made in France), and the food was rich, heavy, and very French.

 Fried Duck Wings

 Veal Sweetbreads

Foie Gras Burger

Raspberry Mille-Feuille

We perched at the bar and sipped French sparkling wine whilst we lingered over our meal. Most offerings on the concise wine menu were French, except one red and one white from BC. The dishes that we ate were well-executed and worthy of re-order. As someone who doesn’t like chicken wings, the fried duck wings were a surprising highlight, as was the dessert.

Au Comptoir’s hours are 8am to 10pm daily (except possibly Tuesdays) meaning that you can join them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Reservations aren’t accepted and, with as busy as they were today, I suspect that there will be long waits at peak times. I, for one, will be happy to line up for the experience of feeling as though I’ve been transported to Paris. I say, bring on the cold winter evenings!, as I will be cozied up inside Au Comptoir, enjoying a touch of France.

Au Comptoir on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Nook Kitsilano – March 2014

16 Mar

1525 Yew Street
Vancouver, BC
V6K 3E4

T: 604 734 3381
www.nookrestaurant.ca

Since becoming home-owners late last year, we have been trying to save a few pennies by foregoing our usual weekend brunches out. Unfortunately, habits are hard to break and we’ve found ourselves returning to our brunching ways. I have found myself brunching at Nook Kitsilano the past three weekends in a row. I could pretend to be shameful right now but the brunch is so good that I hold my head high. Nook is, without a doubt, the restaurant that I find myself at the most. I’ve talked about my love for Nook on this blog numerous times and so it comes as no surprise that I would also enjoy their brunch offerings.

A typical breakfast diner this is not (head up the street to Abigail’s if that is what you are after) but you will find Italian-influenced skillet dishes, pizza, and these two dishes; the baby Dutch pancake (almost like a sweet Yorkshire pudding) and the Italian breakfast (a plate of Italian meats and cheeses). Be warned: the Italian breakfast is like a hot girl that walked into a room – heads turn when this dish gets delivered to your table. I’ve had other diners stare at my ordered brunch of Italian breakfast and ask “What is that?!” and then proceed to order it. It is a meaty start to the day and only $14.

Besides hearty breakfast dishes, the coffee is also quite good meaning that this is a one-stop shop – no need to get a caffeine hit before, or after, brunch.

The Baby Dutch Pancake

P1080528

The Italian Breakfast

Brunch special: lentils with lamb sausage ragu and poached eggs

Brunch special: guanciale, spinach, egg, and parmesan pizza

Nook Kitsilano

30 Aug

1525 Yew Street
Vancouver, BC
V6K 3E4

T: 604 734 3381
www.nookrestaurant.ca

So if I’ve not been in the kitchen this summer (see previous post), then what have I been eating? Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the recently opened Nook Kitsilano. Perhaps I have even been spending too much time there, who knows? All I can say is that it is dangerous for my wallet and my waistline that my favourite restaurant opened their second location only blocks from my place.

Nook’s original location is in the West End and has long been a favourite of mine. Some might wonder why this casual, small restaurant with a fairly simple menu is one of my favourites and I would respond with exactly that…it is casual, small (read: intimate), with an uncomplicated menu of Italian favourites. Oh, and the price-point is just right. So, long story short, they opened their location at Yew and Cornwall in mid-July and I’ve been there a lot. The new space is quite different from their cozy, intimate spot on Denman Street. The Kits restaurant is bigger and brighter and it definitely seats more people (not so much a “nook”), which is good because they have been busy every single time I’ve been there.

Besides some slight differences, the menu basically mirrors their West End menu and you will find the usual Nook offerings of excellent pasta, pizza, and antipasto. In addition to the menu, there are always daily pizza and pasta specials. Most menu items are well under $20 and I highly recommend ordering dishes to share amongst the table.

Nook

Daily pizza special: sopressata and egg.

P1070683

Daily Pasta Special

Nook KitsDaily Pizza Special: Bianco, zucchini, and pancetta

If you are wanting to try Nook Kitsilano but don’t want to forgo a sunny evening, you are in luck. You can take-away and with the beach only a block away, it is the perfect storm for a delicious picnic dinner at the beach. FYI, if you aren’t too full after dinner, try one of their cappuccinos – the foam is incredible.

So whilst I believe that the Denman location is slightly better than the Kits one (ambience, space, and service is better at West End), you still can’t really go wrong with the new Nook either. The food is still excellent and the price-point is the same – I’m just a sucker for the original.

Nook Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Maenam – January 2013

4 Feb

1938 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1M5

T: 604 730 5579
www.maenam.ca

Brief Description: A popular Kitsilano-based restaurant that offers well-executed, modern Thai food. Maenam is friendly on the wallet, without sacrificing quality or ambiance.

I know that this makes me sound like a HUGE grump but I’m not a fan of Dine Out Vancouver. Yes, I understand that it gives a huge injection of cash to local restaurants when they so desperately need it (just after the Christmas rush) but I think it typically doesn’t portray a restaurant in the best light. When you have that many seats turning over in a night, I think service becomes strained and the kitchen loses its passion when it is cooking the same dishes every night for two weeks straight. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I normally avoid restaurants that are participating in Dine Out until it ends. However, there was a night last week where I just didn’t want to cook. I was feeling a bit blue and the thought of having to go through the whole process of making dinner just seemed too difficult. B was in the same boat so the decision was made to go out for dinner.

It had been a while since we were last at Maenam and as we entered the restaurant we realized that they were participating in Dine Out. Our initial reaction was disappointment but we were able to get a table and, as we love the food so much at Maenam, we decided to see what they could showcase by ordering the Dine Out menu. It was incredible value at $28 per person for one starter, one salad, one curry, and one stir fry to share between two people, followed by a dessert each. Perhaps my mind could be changed about Dine Out…

Our favourite salad, the grilled Thai sausage and crispy rice salad, was unavailable whilst Dine Out was on which pushed us to try something new. We started with the mussels with Thai aromatics and nahm jim sauce, which I didn’t get a photo of, but were steamed mussels with a light broth of lemongrass, bird’s eye chilies, and Thai basil. The nahm jim sauce added even more delicious heat, with a hint of sweetness. It appears that our favourite salad now has some competition. The rest of our meal unfolded like this:

Salad to share: Banana Blossom SaladStir Fry to share: Pork Belly Stir FryCurry to share: Green Curry of Halibut CheeksPassion Fruit TrioDark Chocolate Pot de Crème

All of the dishes were really quite impressive. The banana blossom salad was unlike anything that I’ve eaten before. The banana blossoms themselves were quite husky and crunchy which gave a really interesting texture to the dish, whereas the fresh mint and coriander, gave bold flavours. What can I say about Maenam’s curries? I love the curries here and the halibut green curry packs quite a punch but is one of my favourites. The pork belly salad was a must-order for B – for me, the flavours were good but I’m always a little put off by the obvious fat marbling of the pork belly (yes, shoot me now). Dessert-wise I had heard a lot of good things about the chocolate pot de crème, so I had to try that but I was kicking myself because the tangy passion fruit trio was, in my opinion, a better choice. The chocolate pot was delicious, but I had a hard time enjoying the tangy tamarind ice cream.

Final Thoughts: Overall, we loved the food at Maenam (we always have) and this menu really gave us a chance to try some different dishes. Maybe, just maybe, Dine Out isn’t so bad after all.

Maenam on Urbanspoon

Photo Visit – Maenam – October 2012

31 Oct

1938 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1M5

T: 604 730 5579
www.maenam.ca

Brief Description: A popular Kitsilano-based restaurant that offers well-executed, modern Thai food. Maenam is friendly on the wallet, without sacrificing quality or ambiance.

I’m quite certain that I would fail to be classified as what is considered a “traditional” housewife (i.e. someone who has dinner on the table every night, someone who cleans). I despise cleaning and, whilst I really do love to cook, I will often be persuaded (quite easily in fact) to take off the apron and head out for dinner.

Evidence of this was just last night when B twisted my rubber arm to go out for dinner, when really we should have had dinner at home. Instead, it was off to one of our favourite local restaurants, Maenam, for a spot of mod-Thai. We tried two new dishes and we also ordered our favourite dish on the menu, the grilled Thai sausage and crispy rice salad. Nom nom!!

Grilled Thai sausage and crispy rice salad – $11

Crispy fried oysters with nahm jim sauce – $12

Stir fried Paradise valley baby back pork ribs – $18

Typically I love everything that Maenam does. The oysters were fabulous (be careful, they are hot) and the sausage salad was as wonderfully balanced as I’ve come to expect, however, I didn’t really enjoy the ribs. It could be that they are pork (I prefer beef ribs) but they just didn’t do it for me.

I love Maenam! I’m always looking for an excuse to return. And, on some nights, I don’t even need an excuse.

Photo Visit – Fable – October 2012

30 Oct

1944 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V6J 1M7

T: 604 732 1322
www.fablekitchen.ca

Weekend brunch is pretty much my favourite time to explore restaurants around the city. Yes, dinner service is typically a stronger experience, but during brunch you are able to get a sense of what the restaurant is like without having to spend dinner prices. With your dollar going further than what it would at dinner, you also get to spread the love to many more local restaurants.

Just recently B and I have eaten brunch at Yolk’s Breakfast, Catch 122, Tableau, West (of course!), and we have had two recent brunch visits to Fable in Kitsilano. When we were at Fable two weeks ago, I tried the scrambled eggs, which were served in a small mason jar and topped with a foam, and finished with brioche, rösti, and sauteed spinach and bacon (no photo, sorry!). For $12, it was not only good value for money but damn tasty too.

When I returned this weekend, I chose the farmers muffin, which was an English muffin topped with sausage, scrambled eggs, cheddar, tomato jam, and served with salad and rösti. I also ordered a side of the house bacon, which fell short of my expectations as it was incredibly dry (no, not crunchy), which made it quite difficult to eat.

Farmers Muffin – $10

House Bacon – $4

This is just a photo visit so I won’t go into too much detail but I did think that the scrambled egg dish from my previous visit left more of an impression than the farmers muffin. In my opinion, I felt that the sausage needed more seasoning and the tomato jam was too sweet and over-powering.

Prices are extremely reasonable for brunch (except for the $12 caesar!) and it is interesting to see that both times that I’ve been in there for brunch, it has been absolutely packed. The only times that I saw Refuel that busy was in the final few weeks so whatever Fable is doing appears to be getting butts in seats. I’ve yet to be wowed but I’d go back for brunch.

Fable Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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