Monday, January 20, 2020

Basil Garden Pho

Basil Garden Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Bright clean place that looks suspiciously like a Freshii outlet. Decent-to-good food at a rather good price for mains. Price for portion is actually rather good and they aren't skimpy with ingredients like the chicken in my chicken curry.

46. Basil Garden Chicken Curry (with choice of Vermicelli or Rice; $12)
  • This was a pretty big bowl for what you get. Obviously the curry soup is a part of what you get but they weren't skimpy with the chicken.
  • Sweet potato made this a bit more interesting and gave the soup a slight sweetness. Not especially hot-spicy.
  • Chicken pieces looked dry, unfortunately, but of course there's curry soup all around. Otherwise pretty decent bad and the price for portion is rather good.
1. Garlic Butter Chicken Wings ($12.50 - about $1.60 per wing)
  • Came piping hot, juicy, crispy on the outside. But it was also the last item of our order to come, despite being an appetizer.
  • Overall pretty decent. I think I would have liked the butter and/or garlic flavours to be more pronounced however.
33. Grilled Pork Chop and Lemongrass Chicken on Rice ($13)
  • My friend's order and I didn't get to try it, but I snagged some pics anyway.
I felt service was so-so... Order of dishes, amount of napkins they gave (not really enough), didn't clear dishes from our table. And the dilapidated menus really could be refreshed. But price for portion is really decent.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Personas at the Grand Villa Casino

Personas - Grand Villa Casino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato If you've read my various reviews you'll know I'm foremost a food reviewer. And Personas is basically a sports bar. So many caveats with this one I really thought of just passing on reviewing, but at the same time I also felt a caution about the food would be useful for anyone walking in. So... on to the disclaimers!
  • This was part of a Yelp Elite event. Nothing lavish, but nonetheless we did get basically free food and free stuff. You can see what we got in the pictures. Foodwise we got plates for each table of 4-6 persons to share.
  • It's basically a sports bar. I don't watch sports and a bar doesn't make me want to watch sports either.
  • There's a bar. We even got free wine and a fancy to-share drink as part of the event. But I don't drink.
So this is me trying to first review the place for what I feel it primarily is: A sports bar. As a sports bar, if I had to be dragged to one, this would be the type I'd like to go to. It doesn't have a claustrophic low ceiling. It isn't dimly-to-darkly lit. And because of the airy spaciousness you can see the televisions -- all three of them. One super big one in the middle and one on either side, all three on a different channel. Plus if you don't want to watch it, you can turn your back to it and not be forced to even hear it turned on super loud (at least it wasn't that way when we were there, BEFORE the Canucks game that night).
So if you are a sports bar person, and especially if you have a larger group heading in to watch a game, give this place a try. Free parking in the Casino parking lot, lots of clean posh-hotel-quality washrooms too! It's like upscale slumming in a sports bar. Maybe time yourself to eat before and after the game with their Happy Hour, which is available every day.

The food however... We got to try various dishes:
  • Ebi Prawns
  • Cauliflower Fritters
  • Sticky Ribs
  • Tropic Thunder Flat Bread
  • Poke Bowl
  • Buddha Bowl
I'll pass on talking about most of them because basically they taste mediocre. Except the one standout, you could probably do just as well if not better at home. Price is not outrageous but no point buying this quality either. And when an appetizer and main and drink will probably cost you about the same or more than the all-you-can-eat buffet right next door, you might as well go there. If you want a shot at really excellent food in the Grand Villa, in that same building literally a two minute walk away is Atlas. Pricey, but if my last experience there is still representative, it's going to be between "very good" and "wow".

Two dishes did stand out as being worth mentioning.

Tropic Thunder Flat Bread ($12) grilled chicken, alfredo sauce, grilled pineapple salsa, bacon, cilantro, BBQ sauce drizzle, chili threads
  • This was decent but not because of the chicken, which was tasteless and very dry. The overall ingredient mix made it interesting although I wouldn't put it at more than "good".
Cauliflower Fritters ($9) crispy battered cauliflower florets, our signature spice mix, tahini dip
  • Of everything we tried, this was the winner AND it was actually quite interesting and good. 
  • If you have to order something, order this.
  • It's like Cauliflower Pakora magically done perfectly. NOT oily tasting. Really nice batter that also gives it a cute and interesting look of nuggets. Lightly crispy exterior that's fun to eat. Curry spice in a "sweet spot" that is clearly curry but without bitterness.
  • Skip the dip. I really don't know what they were thinking with tahini.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Cactus Club (Station Square) weekend brunch

Cactus Club Cafe, Station Square Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato My friend was all excited by the under-$10 weekend brunch and dragged me here. She was immediately disappointed by the rather small menu, but did manage to find something that she ended up liking (Avocado Benny).
I, however, apparently picked the one thing you shouldn't get here.

Fried Egg Sandwich ($13.75, or $9.75 during weekend brunch if you order before Noon; cheddar cheese costs extra) smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, mayo, red relish, brioche bun, smashed potatoes
  • Looks like a pretty tall burger till you look inside and realize it's fluffed up by lettuce.
  • Worse, the mass of lettuce and other slippery ingredients can make this a mess to eat, squishing out juices everywhere. I recommend you try to flatten down the lettuce by flattening down the sandwich.
  • Basically a rip off even at $9.75 for what you actually get. Think about it: An egg is something you add to a burger for +$1, at Red Robin for example. Order something else.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer ($4)
  • Pretty tall bottle of really decent ginger beer. Not too much bite, not too sweet.
Staff were polite and prompt with service. Combined with the rather nice ambiance, this was the only thing saving this brunch from a failing score.