Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hot Chocolate Festival at Leonidas Cafe

Leonidas on Urbanspoon Hot Chocolate Festival at Leonidas (downtown Waterfront Convention Centre)? Well, not exactly. The festival is long over for this year, but they are introducing the flavours they presented into their regular menu.
I only found this out Saturday night at their lovely 100th anniversary Easter weekend event.

Disclosure: How did I get outed as a blogger? I wasn't in there five minutes and somehow I got tagged. C'mon! I don't even have my picture on this blog. So, okay, I guess I should say that the staff got me pegged as a food blogger from the get go. I normally go undercover. Incognito. Couldn't get away with that this time, though. But hey, it's not I was the only one who got free treats here. Everyone did, and you could have too, if you'd signed up for it.

About a year and a half ago, Leonidas opened at the new Convention Centre at the Waterfront in downtown Vancouver. You may have attended their Grand Opening special in December 2011. The emphasis there was chocolate chocolate chocolate. Belgian chocolate made in Belgium and flown in weekly.

Obviously they still proudly carry Belgian chocolate, but their location -- downtown Vancouver, in the middle of convention and cruise ship traffic -- has made them adapt and offer what people drop by looking for. Maybe chocolate as a gift -- the Leonidas motto is "Think of Someone" -- but some people are also looking for a cafe, a bite to eat, maybe even tea (! -- they have a row of Mighty Leaf tins on a shelf behind the counter).

This Easter weekend, they took the opportunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the "since 1913" Leonidas chocolate company as well as re-introduce their store. The Thursday / Friday / Saturday event featured free wine from Coal Harbour Liquor Store (white Terra Andina, and red Fort Chevalier Bordeaux 2009 exclusive to Coal Harbour Liquor Store and on special this month); a chocolate fountain with thick chocolate for coating strawberries, bananas, and waffle chunks; full mugs of their hot chocolate, available in white chocolate.

Perhaps more interestingly they featured their new cafe offerings, including bruschetta sampler versions of their paninis: A goat cheese, honey, and walnut; and a very flavourful pesto, havarti, pepperberry turkey, goat cheese, and avocado.
(Yeah, I know, it can feel weird going in for a panini. It's like walking into a Purdy's and asking for a breakfast sandwich. But then, Leonidas isn't stuck in a mall, either).

Did I mention it was free? You even got a chocolate Easter Bunny to see you off.

They also have locally sourced, specially made macarons. As mentioned, their offerings for the 2012 and 2013 Hot Chocolate Festival are being worked in as regular menu items. Their hot chocolate festival flavours feature interesting ingredients like tumeric and pineapple, so it's definitely worth a look if you're curious. (I personally feel the Hot Chocolate Festival is sometimes just too short when I can only coordinate an outing with friends on a weekend or some such.)

Leonidas is run by a sincere sister-team of owners/staff, plus additional helpers. Even their so-fresh-from-France-she-has-the-sexy-accent "Brand Ambassador" / marketer can properly make you one of the specialty hot chocolates. They are friendly, social media aware, Twitter savvy. Follow them on Facebook so you don't miss out (like I did) on things like International Macaron Day (3 macarons and Mighty Leaf Tea for $5).

SNAP Downtown Vancouver was on site this Saturday evening to cover this incredibly generous Easter event at Leonidas, so pick up the next publication of that "Facebook in print" of downtown events to see what you missed (or to see yourself in print, if you gave them permission to publish your photo).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Leonidas Cafe - An Exclusive Night of Temptation & Indulgence

UPDATE: Read some early reports / intel on this event at

Got this in my e-mail yesterday:
Please join us, for "A Night of Temptation and Indulgence” at Leonidas on the Waterfront, as we sip on wine, nibble on gourmet delights, and savour the richness of Leonidas, celebrating 100 years of  Belgium’s favourite chocolate.

What to expect:

A fun intimate Meet & Greet with the team
Networking Opportunities
Wine & Cheese Bar
Leonidas Chocolate Tasting
Hors d'oeuvres
Chocolate Fondue Bar
Leonidas Signature Hot Chocolate Bar
A selection of dessert items
Door Prizes
Gift Bag of more Happiness!

The event runs through this Easter Weekend: Thursday March 28th, Friday March 29th, and Saturday March 30th. 6 PM. Register FREE at EventBrite.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Great Value at Afro-Canadian Restaurant

Afro Canadian on Urbanspoon Huge portions for your money, considering the alternatives springing up nearby, such as Meat and Bread.

Afro Canadian Restaurant is an Ethiopian restaurant with assorted fast food on the side. You can get spinach pie, falafel, even pizza, all for just a couple of dollars. The main draw, however, is the Ethiopian fare.

The helpful and friendly owner will brief you on how it is served and eaten if you've never had it before. The slightly-sour pancake-like injera bread is torn off and used to pinch a portion of the stew-like items on a very wide plate. You can order single types of stew or sampler plates.

Rotti ($4)
  • That's how it's spelled on the menu.
  • I'm a sucker for roti of all kinds, so I decided to try it. It looked suspiciously like a Casa Mendosa 10" tortilla shell -- you know, those that you can get at Superstore.
  • For $4, however, you get a LOT of filling (either chicken or beef), plus a salad on the side.
  • Not especially tasty, but decent enough and a filling meal for a mere $4.
Vegetable Platter ($17) and Meat Platter ($19)
  • Our platter had a total of three vegetables and three meats. In the middle was also a good amount of rice.
  • Try the peanut sauce -- veggies simmered with spices and peanut butter. Probably not authentic Ethiopian, but interesting!
  • It all sat on a bed of injera bread, and whoever gets to the bottom first can tear off the tasty juice-soaked bread. Injera otherwise has a sour overtone, and for that reason I don't like it all that much, truth be told.
  • You can ask for utensils and sharing plates. I recommend you do that unless you really want to stuff yourself silly using extra injera bread (they start you off with a pile on a plate, free with your order) with every bite. The four of us went with utensils and therefore mostly just ate the stews and the rice, and left the pile of injera on the side largely untouched.
  • We were all stuffed and couldn't finish the platter. The leftovers, excluding the pile of bread, was a dinner-sized portion. So for $36 (before tax and tip), we got about 5 person's worth of dinner.
  • Pay attention when your server points out what is what because you are liable to forget it. The sauce is so flavourful that it largely masks the actual taste of meat or veggies.
  • You can ask for varying levels of spicy-heat or have chili sauce on the side, which is an inferior alternative. The chilli sauce is watery, a bit sour, and looked like just some sort of curry or chilli powder mixed in water. It's better that the chilli were cooked with the stew.
As mentioned before, portions are generous. The food is not superbly tasty -- I'd still prefer a solid Indian curry, I think -- but tasty enough and excellent for the price. Our bill came out to just under $45 for the four of us.

This hole-in-the-wall in an older building has no real ambiance to speak of. We went on a Friday night and it was never more than half-full. The seating can accomodate groups, which is handy for the sharing-style of food, but really you're looking at eating teams of four to six to tackle each large plate.

There might sometimes be just the one person in front and back, so service can be on the slow side (I think our waitress was late coming in that night). If you're stuck for utensils, there's a large platter of them on the counter near the kitchen.

Despite the low prices, Afro Canadian Restaurant does accept credit cards.

Friday, March 22, 2013

2-for-1 Buffet at Grand Villa Casino

Last week I mentioned a $5 to $10 off coupon that came with the BC Casinos mailing -- which, apparently, not everyone received. Hmm... Well, on Thursday I got another casino mailing, this time from Gateway Casinos. Normally I'd have just thrown it out since I'm not a gambler, but on closer inspection it revealed two coupons for 2-for-1 buffet at Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby.

The coupon does not indicate that any gambling is required. You do have to show an Encore card, but signing up for that is free, comes with no obligations and (at the River Rock, anyway) I also got a free pen with it.

2013-Mar-21 Gateway Casino mailout page 1

2013-Mar-21 Gateway Casino mailout page 2

Monday, March 18, 2013

Strange Curry at Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse

Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse on Urbanspoon The restaurant sign for Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse has a one-tusked elephant on it. Hmm... That, plus the decor, made me think this was a south east asian restaurant, except it also says Lounge and Steakhouse. They do serve steaks, but also have a menu of comfort food type items.

There's a downstairs, a quieter upstairs, and an upstairs patio that is positioned for a nice view, except that the brown water at the mouth of the Fraser River, and the sliver of Shady Island, isn't really all that great a view (but that's just my opinion). I can see how it'd be a lot nicer if the sun ever comes out and we have a proper spring and summer.

The staff are super friendly, and if you're not careful and engage your server in conversation, they might end up a part of your table if it's not terribly busy and they can stop to chat. I suppose some people are into that and like to chat up their server, so it's in large part up to you to just stay focussed on your dining companions if you want a more private time.

When we were there on Friday night close to 7 pm, it seemed well-attended for dinner service downstairs, but there was still quiet room upstairs. It wasn't so booked up that there was any pressure to vacate after, so if you're looking for a relaxed, lingering time with friends for dinner, you could try reservations for a table on the second floor.

Food is... OK. Strangely it wasn't particularly flavourful despite how it sounds on the menu, and for that reason the price seemed a bit on the high side. It's not bad food, just not particularly good either. Steveston prices? Maybe. Fine dining prices? Definitely. Still food isn't everything in the price. There's ambiance and service, and Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse has some of the former and a good amount of the latter.

Post Office Artichokes ($9) Our signature appetizer made fresh in house. Artichokes, parmesan & swiss cheese married into a phyllo pastry parcel. Thai chili sauce and a fresh cilantro salsa.
  • Two average-sized spring rolls. Which struck me as pretty pricey at basically $4.50 a piece.
  • Strangely bland even with the parmesan and swiss cheese supposedly in there.
Mandalay Prawns ($12) Mandalay garlic spiced pan-seared black jumbo tiger pawns.
Finished with a savoury cafe de paris butter.
  • Jumbo prawns all right. No skimping on size here.
  • I remember feeling "prawns are prawns". For a $12 appy, I was expecting something more wow, though.
Moo Shu Crab Cakes ($8) A duo of our famous crab cakes on a light bed of mixed green &
Lychee Creme Fraiche
  • Two average sized crab cakes.
  • I remember these weren't particularly crabby tasting for some reason. I even tried isolating some of the inside of the cake and tasting it without any sauce whatsoever. Nope, still not crabby tasting. On the bland side, actually.
  • How it is "Moo Shu" anything is unclear to me.
Lamb Chops Marrakesh ($13) A trio of Moroccan style lamb chops, charbroiled and accompanied
by a mint chimichuri
  • Sometimes people worry about lamb being gamey. Not so here. Pretty safe as far as meat goes.
  • Each piece was about the size of a pack of cards, if I remember correctly.
  • Go easy on the mint chimichuri unless you want to smother all the flavour on your meat.
Red Thai Chicken Curry ($17) Spice rubbed chicken breast finished with a delicious Thai Curry
sauce. Complimented by a poached pear on Mascarpone tandem,coconut rice and seasonal vegetables.
  • Read the description carefully. This isn't a curry dish that you might get from an Indian restaurant. You get a "sauce" quantity of Thai Curry. Basically that was like four tablespoons or so worth. Not even a bowlful. It's just poured in a stripe on your plate.
  • Chicken breast came pre-cut into rounds / medallions. Spice-rubbed or not, you really needed the curry sauce to make this interesting.
  • The poached pear and curry combo is odd, but our server insisted that it was good eaten together. I didn't think it was particularly special, but it might do something for you.
Chocolate Lava Cake ($7) A decadent baked chocolate cake with a molten center.
  • Lots of gooey molten chocolate in here. Sometimes lava cakes get overbaked into biscuits or you just don't get a lot of "lava". Lots here, and not burn-your-mouth hot.
  • With lava cakes, presumably part of what you are paying is for them to seal in the molten chocolate so it's hard to compare this dessert with a slab of chocolate cake and thick chocolate sauce poured over it, even if you do get twice the volume. I think $7 is okay here for a fine dining establishment.
  • There's a lot of chocolate here, so if you like chocolate you won't mind it being $7.
NY Cheesecake ($7) Our very own legendary dessert made in house.
  • A bit short for a New York cheesecake, but otherwise a really decent dessert with two types of sauce on it to break up the monotony of just a slab of cheesecake. (I forgot to ask what type of sauces they were, however).

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Way overpriced mediocre food at Curve

Curve Lounge on Urbanspoon Even with a $5 coupon and going for lunch, Curve Lounge is way overpriced for mediocre food. It's got some plusses for location and ambiance, but not enough.
I had been warned about this place by my Richmond friend, but since I had a coupon good for any BC Casino restaurant, I thought I'd give it a try.
I balked at the prices initially, but gave it the benefit of the doubt because the casino's fine dining restaurant, Tramonto, is upstairs and maybe from the same kitchen comes high-quality food. Well, if that's the case, then maybe the same mediocre food quality from Curve Lounge will show up in Tramonto... On top of that, the print menu is dirty and shabby. Could they not have at least clean menus? It's shortly after Noon on a Saturday morning. Surely it can't have been manhandled by guests already.

As is my wont, I looked for whatever was strange/curious on the menu. I asked my lovely server to suggest something along those lines, and this is how things turned out:

Raising Arizona ($22) "slow cooked bacon wrapped, pulled pork stuffed 10 oz. bone-in pork chop, smashed potato, bourbon creamed corn, grainy mustard bacon sauce"
  • No, that's not a typo up there. That is quoted from the online menu. The print menu is the same, except it has a space between "wrapped" and the first comma. It is supposed to say the 10 oz. bone-in pork chop is wrapped in bacon and stuffed with pulled pork (and that's what was on the plate). The side is smashed potato and bourbon-creamed corn in a grainy mustard bacon sauce.
  • I could have sworn the print menu said this was $19. Bill came out to $22, and it shows $22 on the online menu as well.
  • The side was actually really tasty. That's pretty much the only plus here. Didn't get a sense of any graininess to the mustard, nor a strong tartness from that, however, so if that is what you are hoping for to help you with the relentless amount of dry pig meat, this isn't going to do it for you. Mostly what you get is the sweetness from the corn.
  • Took something like a half hour for this to come out of the kitchen. They could've warned me about that.
    • This item is not on the regular lunch menu. The server brought over a "gluten free" menu in response to my inquiry about strange/weird menu items. It also shows up on the online menu under dinner. It *may* be that the kitchen was not ready to make this, hence the extra time. But even so, could someone have let me know? I might have nixed my order and tried something else.
    • When it finally came out, it wasn't particularly hot, which really surprised me. It was cooked through, certainly, and the plate was warm, but the actual pork chop wasn't hot on the outside. I knifed it to check the inside, and that was hot, but again not particularly so. The Lounge wasn't very busy, but I believe the kitchen also cooks for Java Jacks. In any case, it's not the usual "right behind that door" nearby kitchen setup, so maybe just walking it over cooled it down. Hard to say, but disappointing nevertheless.
  • If you are served this with just a table knife, immediately ask for a steak knife. Yes, I was served this with a table knife. I did give it a go with the knife in case the meat turned out really tender, but... nope.
  • The idea sounds interesting, but the actual execution is rather plain and boring.
    • The sauce is outside on the bacon, and there's hardly any of it, so you'll need to manage and ration it carefully because the pork chop is rather dry.
    • The pulled pork is even drier and didn't look or taste marinated at all.
    • For $22, just get a smaller but properly done steak. Even with no side, you'll still have a better experience.
Off the Hook ($9) pistachio olive oil cake, saffron gelato, pomegranate jelly
  • This *small* dessert is $9. A wedge of really good cake is maybe $6. If you're in East Vancouver it'll probably cost you the same except you get a lot more cake (like at Fray). A *small* dessert at $9 requires it to be an exquisite dessert.
  • The pomegranate jelly wasn't flavourful enough. Sorry.
  • The single small scoop of saffron gelato was okay tasting, but a bit too firm for this dessert. Trying to get even a little scoop forces you to press hard and smoosh the olive oil cake into a mess.
  • The olive oil cake was actually rather tasty. However, for $9, you got a small cupcake worth of cake. And since the other two ingredients, alone or in tandem with the cake didn't really enhance the experience, $9 is way overpriced. Way overpriced. Oops, did I just say that again? Interesting ingredients don't automatically make a tasty dish, unfortunately.
Mighty Tea tea ($2.50)

I did mention some plusses, and it basically comes down to location.
  • The casino is easy to get to by transit and has more than enough parking for drivers.
  • It's not a very busy place, at least not for lunch. You can meet friends there and walk to the bar or expect a table without a reservation. It's bright, airy, and central. For a large place like River Rock Casino, it's impossible to miss and an easy place to meet.
    • Sadly, there is also sometimes a casino security person who perches in a corner like some sort of dour chaperone. If you're facing the right direction, he'll be behind you and you won't notice. And when the place is barely active, he sticks out like a sore thumb and it really ruins the atmosphere for me. Maybe it's casino policy, but what the heck are they expecting him to catch?
  • Unlike other lounges, you can really expect only ambient conversation noise, which will depend on the current busy-ness of the restaurant. It's sort-of close to the theatre entrance, but far enough (behind the central info desk) that you're shielded from any sort of pre-show/after-show throng.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

BC Casinos Food Discount

If you've received this mailout, don't be so quick to throw it out. It contains two coupons for $5 to $10 off dining at their restaurant, and it does not stipulate that you have to play slots or otherwise gamble at the Casino. It also doesn't say that you have to go in with a guest in order for your guest to use the "for your friend" dining discount, so theoretically you could go twice. According to guest services, you must accompany your guest for them to use the guest coupon. They also mentioned the coupon was good for the buffet as well, but I didn't test that.

Pay attention to the limitations: March 6th to March 30th only, Wednesdays to Saturdays only, Noon to 8pm only, NOT at Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino.

2013-Mar-12 BC Casinos mailout

Monday, March 11, 2013

10-course dinner composed by Chef Hiroaki Takeda

UPDATE (2013-April): See the chef's own blog about his behind-the-scenes experience putting this even together. Includes some really beautiful pictures of the menu.

Chef Hiroaki Takeda returned to his culinary roots at Johnston Heights Secondary School to present a "culinary experience" of fine dining. I was lucky enough to hear about it and put myself in for a ticket right away.
Tickets were easy enough to get: Fine dining? In Surrey? And in a high school? Sort of a bleak-sounding setting for fine dining, but the free venue combined with a lot of volunteer help from students (including four servers per table of eight, plus live music) let them sell tickets at just $40 per person (no taxes added on top of that, but gratuity not included) for a 10-course using locally sourced ingredients, and to cover the cost of renting tables and chairs so guests didn't have to sit on those foldable high school cafeteria tables.
A 10-course at a restaurant might be $55, and that's a half-price Groupon offer. And somehow, that high school kitchen did turn out some really interesting and beautiful plates. Easily done under the seasoned direction of Chef Takeda, who regularly composes the same for his catering business, YOSHIcatering.

Virgin Mojito
Cinnamon, Ginger

Cold App:
“Atarashii” Nicoise Salad (picture)
Confit Fingerling Potatoes, Seared Tuna, Arugula, Watercress, Beets
Miso, Soy and Sesame Dressing

Spring Pea Soup Cappuccino (picture)
Matcha foam

Hot App:
Truffled Wild Mushroom Risotto (picture)
Burnt lemon, Leek Purée, Leek Oil

Pan Seared Scallop (picture)
Fennel and Orange Salad, Fennel Fronds, Orange Segments, Pickled Beets

Fraser Valley Duck Duo (picture)
Pan-Roasted Breast, Duck Leg Press
Crispy fruit and cinnamon bread pudding
Local Baby Carrots

Palate Cleanser:
Watermelon Consommé (picture)
Balsamic pearls

Savoury Cheese:
Chévre Cheese Cake
Apricot Gel, Fig Chutney

Chocolate Dessert:
Chocolate Ganache Tart (picture)
Smoked Walnuts, Raspberry Purée

Frozen Dessert: (Served on Ice Plate)
Straberry Peppercorn Ice Cream
Strawberry Moscato Granite, Honey Tuile, Basil

Overall I was very happy with the dinner, especially considering how much it cost, so let's get the criticisms out of the way first:
  • When I first saw the menu, I thought, "no way a mojito counts as one course". And I still think that was sort of a cheat. The school isn't licensed for alcohol, but they didn't have coffee or tea either. It was water, and the one mojito that looked like the sort of slightly yellowed silty water that comes out of your tap when the city flushes the water mains. Fortunately, things picked up a lot after that.
  • Drinks were the weakest part of the dinner. Interesting sounding, plainly presented, but sadly not that tasty. Matcha may be good for you, but it still smells and tastes like grass. Bleah. Watermelon Consommé (isn't that essentially watermelon juice strained of pulp?) tastes like, whoa, watermelon.
    • That said, the "balsamic pearls" were intriguing. Basically they were little pellets of balsamic vinegar. Which made the Watermelon Consommé a sort of bubble tea, except instead of chewy "bubbles", you got balsamic vinegar. Hmm... Was this meant to poke fun at bubble tea?
Okay, on to the good stuff!
  • The plates were superbly composed.
    • A variety of flavours, especially a pairing of fruity and savoury, to ward off the sort of monotony that can come from too much of one thing.
    • To this was added vibrantly coloured sauces and vegetable garnishes splashed on using the whole plate, all the way to the edge, as a canvas -- each plate felt like a little painting.
    • Plus the food was tasty, of course. Overall, top marks for taste and presentation.
  • If you dissect your plate, the components are not individually anything special -- for example, pan seared scallops are pan seared scallops. It's the combination and presentation that makes your two measly scallops look like a $20 plate from MARKET or Hawksworth. If you want sheer food value for your money -- if you're counting scallops -- you're looking in the wrong place. This sort of plate is a "culinary experience" and you're paying for the artistry as well.
The final dessert was a token scoop of ice cream on an ice carving plate: A solid plate of ice about a half inch thick, maybe eight inches wide, and carved with an Inuit eagle head. I don't know why I was so blasé about it, but it really was a very neat touch to end the evening. I'm pretty sure they were from Cool Creations as someone mentioned Chef Takeda's father was an ice carver, but I'll have to check on that.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Late weekend lunch at Abigail's Party

Abigail's Party on UrbanspoonMy friend and I aimed to a late-ish lunch at Abigail's Party just this past Saturday. I think we got there around 1pm but it was still packed. About 15 minutes later, things died down considerably. If you want to skip the line-up, got a bit later. There's no shortage of window shopping just up the street to occupy your time, if you're not wasting it circling around for parking, that is.

It's pretty tiny on the inside, and if you go in during rush-hour, there's a chance you'll be seated on barstools at the sort-of-communal table, or worse, at the table right at the door where you'll get a blast of winter cold to chill your food every time someone opens the door. Try to be seated cozily inside.

There is NO brunch dessert menu! Horrors! Our lovely and friendly waitress Eloise tried to helpfully point out a couple of dessert-ish items, but honestly, it just didn't feel the same. She did look in the kitchen to see whether they had started prepping dinner desserts yet, but alas, no.

Mood Swing Scramble ($11.95) Roasted Bartlett pears, caramelized onions, brie, basil pesto

  • Their Scrambles are served with three half slices of multigrain toast, with butter, peanut butter, and jam on the side.
  • "Hash browns" can mean different things depending on where you go. Here, it's large chunks of what looked like deep fried potatoes. Each chunk was about 1/3rd to 1/2 the volume of a ping pong ball. Mostly pretty decent, but one or two smaller chunks were over-fried to crispy (which happens when you're waiting for the bigger bits to be done, I guess).
  • Overall this turned out strangely boring and rather disappointing. The ingredients sounded interesting and the bits were definitely in there -- pear, onions, brie, pesto -- but maybe they were just too separate or not enough of it, because mostly I tasted egg. I had more success fooling around with putting the egg on toast, with a bit of jam and just a bit of sriracha chili sauce that was provided.
It's a good sized plate of lunch so it's hard to argue with the price at least. Nothing really horrible about it, so I'm not letting this one dish score the restaurant as being so-so. Will have to go back for a proper meal -- with dessert -- next time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lawful Evil service at The Storm Crow

Storm Crow Tavern on Urbanspoon Finally dropped by this place to check it out. When I was younger, I was into the whole pencil-and-paper tabletop role-playing game stuff and it was a real treat to see lots of interesting items that make up the decor in The Storm Crow. Dungeons & Dragons, assorted fantasy, and a bit of retro style ray guns. If you're sitting at the bar, ask to check out the tin of Unicorn Meat. 200% rainbows out the ass from old unicorns, apparently.

The menu isn't on their website, but it is on their Facebook page, so it's probably best if you go there instead.

Chickpea Fries ($6) with sriracha mayo
  • Pretty big order for an appy. Definitely good to share or alone as a light meal. I think they can easily do a more manageable half portion for $4.
  • It's ground up chickpeas and doesn't seem to be anything else in there. So it came across as rather dreadfully bland.
  • Nicely fried. Think crispiness on the outside with hardly any oiliness to the taste or on your fingers. Came piping hot too!
  • The "fries" are big and thick, maybe a square centimetre in cross section. I think I might have liked them better if they were thinner and overall crispier. They are also very long, maybe 6 inches.
  • Easily broken with one hand (just snap it and twirl the end you have to break of the remainder) so it makes for a handy snacking food if your other hand is holding a book.
  • The mayo is HOT. Well, for me it was on the hot side of mild since I'm used to a certain amount of heat, but if you're not, watch out. Sadly, it was needed to get any sort of flavour going on this appy.
  • The concept is good but I felt the execution needs a lot of work. Overall, disappointing. Can't argue with the generous portion size, though.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie ($6) a hearty filling with mushrooms and walnuts
  • Came piping hot, including the serving dish. Had a token side of crispy dried kale leaves, lightly salted.
  • Pretty tasty, but no real flavour of mushroom or walnuts as the savoury sauce smothered the taste of everything else. I was rather intrigued by the ingredients, so I found this disappointing.
  • Average portion for the okay-to-slightly-cheap price of $6.
  • They serve mead. It's a type of alcohol made from honey. Doesn't taste even close to honey. But who knows, you may like it.
Service was either aloof or oblivious. It seemed that maybe everyone had their assigned roles, and they were probably doing their part... but nothing else. Honestly, couldn't you be a little more helpful to your fellow co-workers?
I was alone, so I was asked to sit at the bar. It was just before 6pm and the place was more than half-full, and would be nearly full by 6.30 pm. So I was understanding about the no-table bit. But other than the bartender asking me about a drink, no one checked on whether I was ready to order even though a menu was provided for me right away. And even though a few waitresses came and went behind the bar to get drinks or food orders.
After my meal, the presumably busy bartender prepped and left me with the handheld to pay by credit card. He was still out of sight at the other part of the bar when I was all set to go. A waitress was behind the counter but she didn't complete the transaction. (Why not?) Instead I had to wait till the bartender came back. Not a huge wait, but honestly, the waitress was _right there_. The machine was on the table with my card sticking out of it.

If you don't mind the Lawful Evil selfish lack of teamwork with the staff (which, sadly, could translate to rather negligent or slow service for you), then at least the decor is worth a look here. Even if you aren't a "geek" or "gamer", it's interesting to take a gander.

They have the one big table for reservations, but it apparently seats 12 and as it's a single big table, the reservation minimum is 12.