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Le Riz Asian Fusion Cafe on Capstan Way, Richmond

I brought the boys out for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Arkensen came with us because the Dr. Who series had ended for the season.

We went to Le Riz Fusion Cafe as a reader commented about it. It is the recarnation of Coco Chili.

The interior is spacious which we like. Arkensen hates cramp restaurant.

I ordered a new item from a poster on the wall. It’s Korean Pork Bone Noodle soup for $7.95. It came with a few large pieces of pork bones with plenty of meat to pick from.

The noodle used is wide egg noodle. Arkensen commented that the noodle is like Mee Poh instant noodle. There are some fried tofu and bamboo shoot in the noodle soup. I enjoyed it. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Baker One Cafe in Aberdeen Center, Richmond

Nanzaro wanted to get something from Daiso in Aberdeen Center. Since we were already in the mall, we decided to have lunch there too.

We noticed that Aoyama Cafe located at the entrance had changed hand. It is now called Baker One Cafe.

Baker One Cafe is still at it’s soft opening.

There is not much of change in the decor.

Baker One Cafe serves the similar Japanese Fusion cuisine as Aoyama Cafe. The menu is small, just a few pasta/flat bread and rice dishes; few appetizers; coffee/tea and desserts.

Nanzaro opted for Unagi Rice for $13. Pretty pricey in my opinion. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Gin’s Kitchen & Cafe on Granville Avenue in Richmond

I came across another restaurant promotion in the Richmond Review recently. Since I have not eaten in the fairly new restaurant in Richmond, the coupon just gives me the excuse to visit it.

The coupon is for “Get one free bubble tea with purchase of any dine in meal”. It’s not valid with lunch special and combo special as below.

You can click on the menu for a larger view.

Gin’s Kitchen & Cafe is located at a corner where Golden Sea City Seafood Restaurant on Granville Avenue is. The restaurant is obscured from view due to the big signage of the Golden Sea City Seafood Restaurant right above the restaurant.

Parking is a problem is this strip mall as the parking lot is not very big. I was surprised that I can find parking easily on a Sunday afternoon. Perhaps, a lot of Richmondites are away on vacation during the spring break.

The restaurant is lighted in some purplish lighting. Straight away, I knew the photos may not turn out well since I only brought my point and shoot and not my SLR. As the parking lot is not busy, so is the restaurant.

The boys ordered something from the Special Combo which comes with a drink. They have Chocolate Bubble Tea and Mocha Bubble Tea respectively. I had a Coffee Bubble Tea using the coupon. All the drinks did not come … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Bistro The Home on Alexandra Road, Richmond

I normally would blog this in sequence but this post could be time sensitive. So, I thought I better post this two days after our visit so that more of you could take advantage of the great offer this restaurant has in store.

They currently have a 2-for-1 promotion that pretty much makes them the cheapest noodles in the city. And they are a bit of an upscale place too.

Bistro The Home is the newest restaurants in Richmond. As a matter of fact, they had been opened just one week. Before I went, I thought that this would be another Chinese restaurant. I actually was half hoping that they would serve HOME STYLE Chinese food. But they are not Chinese.

Bistro The Home is an Asianized Pasta house. Yeah, that’s what they call themselves.

For those of you familiar with the glutton’s street in Richmond, Bistro The Home took over the spot vacated by Bonqula. Suanne and I did not expect that Bistro The Home will take over the spot so fast because we only noticed that Bonqula had closed just three weeks ago. They sure moved in and got running fast.

When we heard that Bonqula closed (blog post here), we were quite shocked. To us, it was a gem of a place and has an unique flair that you don’t see in many Japanese restaurants. I compare them as the feminine cultured side of a Japanese restaurant where Izakayas is the masculine boisterous counterpart. I understand that Bonqula closed because of a death in the family. I hope that they reopen someday. Does anyone know of the inside scoop?

This location is kind of hidden from where the action is along Alexandra Road. So many people will not know it’s there if you just cruise down Alexandra to decide what you want to eat.

The restaurant is OK kind of nice. They tried to make it a date dining destination as I can see but it is still rough around the edges.

The interior is dim and they play soothing soft music. This is sort of place you go out on a date. There is also a piano in the dining hall which the server said she plays sometimes. Right in the middle is an artificial tree which although looks very much fake, it does add a nice touch to the entire ambiance.

Yeah, this is the kind of place where you bring your date for a nice quiet dinner.

The one thing we thought stood out was that the table cloth were cheap and clearly very wrinkled.

The cutleries are still brand new and they are shiny — I like that.

Service is eager and very helpful. But then the waitress and waiter does look like they are new on the job. No, I don’t fault them at all but it was obvious.

The waitress was sweet. We asked if they are Japanese but she told us that they are Korean. She also told us that their chef is from Korea who studied in Japan the craft of cooking pasta.

When we flipped open the menu, the first item jumped out at us … $35, $25. I thought this place is gonna be expensive but actually that first two items is their Chef Special where you get a steak and it comes with a pasta of your choice. Anyway, our waitress told us that their Chef Specials are not quite ready yet.

Their menu also has a breakfast section and they also have a wine license. I see a few tables having wine with their pasta — a sight you don’t normally see in Richmond’s restaurants which is predominantly Chinese.

For us, it was water only. We were not wine drinkers and moreover, we were initially shell shocked by the prices on the menu.

The waitress served us warm garlic toast for starter which is very garlicky. It also smell real good when they brought it over. This is the type of toast I like.

Bistro The Home’s pasta selection is spread over two pages of the menu. The way they lay it out took us a while to realize it is … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse in Steveston Village, Richmond

With the Olympic road closures, Polly and I decided to meet around Richmond until the Olympic is over. There is not many dessert places in Richmond that I have not blogged about. So, we resolved to eat proper lunch instead of just having dessert. The only problem is I will still be full when I meet Ben for our Friday night out.

I recalled seeing some newspaper ads that Mandalay Lounge and Steakhouse has lunch specials for $12. Polly and I has an eye in this place for a while already.

It is simple because Mandalay Lounge and Steakhouse has great ocean views.

Sitting at the patio during the warmer days, watching sunsets will be fantastic.

The decor is warm and pleasant. The interior is decorated with Asian sculptures like elephant, head sculptures with Burmese/Thai style head gears.

When I asked the server what style of cuisine Mandalay serves, we were told that Mandalay is an European Asian Fusion restaurant. The chef is from Europe. Service is prompt and courteous like most western restaurant.

This is one of the lunch special recommended by the server. It is …. More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Mezbaan Fine Indian Fusion on Kingsway and Melbourne, Vancouver

To tell the truth, I had been barely able to hold things together the past two weeks. I had been juggling way too many balls at the same time that it is only a matter of time it is all going to come crashing down on me. Already I had been dropping a few balls here and there.

So last Friday, Suanne was asking me if I had decided where to go for our Friday night out. I told her I’ll figure out something during the day. I didn’t.

I completely forgot about it. I did not realize it was already past 4PM when Suanne called me on my cell telling me she’s waiting for me to meet up for dinner. That was when I decided enough is enough. I just shoot off the last email. Work can wait till next Monday.

My mind was scrambling on where to go. Suanne leaves the choice of the places to me — all the time. She had always done that ever since we met. It is like my responsibility to bring her to new places to eat. She likes that and I like my role too.

Do you feel this way I feel? When I am not looking for a place to eat, I could spot a million places while driving. I would tell Suanne “let’s go there next time. let’s go here next time”. But when I actually needed to find a place to eat, I can’t seems to see any at all.

So without a place in mind, I decided to drive along Kingsway in the direction to downtown. I did not have to drive far. It was just right after Boundary that I spotted one of the “let’s go there next time” places. Frankly, I had not even remembered the name of the restaurant … but I did remember that they have a “Fine Indian Fusion” words on the signboard.

I had been thinking a lot of what Michelle was saying during the 12B dinner that there is no really great Indian restaurants in Vancouver. Based on what she said, I was intent on finding out more about Indian food. No, I really did not think that such an unknown restaurant like Mezbaan would fit the bill of a great Indian restaurant at all. But we did find something new … something unique in this restaurant that makes me want to come back again.

There was no customer in Mezbaan when we walked in shortly after 5PM. As a matter of fact, there was only one other customer the whole night we were there.

The decor was painted in warm orange color. Suanne said she noticed a lot of Indian restaurants are painted in this color. Well, I thought it is because it is the colour of the national flag on India. I made that answer up but I do sound convincing, don’t I? :-)

The Chef served us. I know he is the chef because I had just read on the newspaper reviews by the entrance about the restaurant. The Chef’s name is TJ and the newspaper clipping said that Mezbaan is North Indian and that Chef TJ grinds his own masala spice. They don’t use branded, pre-made spices in their cooking. I thought it was a good thing to call out.

Chef TJ was an obliging man but I think he was kind of suspicious and uncomfortable with us. We were asking way too many questions and I had a big camera in my hands and Suanne has a pen in hers, catching every word he was saying onto her notebook. Chef TJ did not ask what we were doing but am sure that was the question in his mind.

Apparently, Mezbaan has been in operation for 11 months already. The word Mezbaan means “unique host” in the Urdu language.

We were served Papadams. It was small and rolled into a cone. I wished it is of the larger pieces that we find else where. I could eat tons of this. Too little here.

Are these expensive? If not, they should serve this in stacks for the customer like restaurants do with bread.

The papadams were served with the usual tamarind sauce as a dip. Sour and spicy is how the sauce tasted. I prefer eating this plain sans sauce.

We started with Prawn Pakoras ($9) as appetizers. This was nice. The prawns were a bit on the small side.

It was cooked in a crispy seasoned batter. The batter is very thin, not as crispy as we expected. Pakoras usually are heavy in batter but not this one. Even though we did not expect it to look like this, we like it.

Despite the size of the prawns, the deshelled prawn was springy. It tasted good.

We did not know what to get for the mains and asked Chef TJ what he thinks is the best in the kitchen today. Without hesitation, he said we should try his … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Starry Night Restaurant in Richmond

*** THIS NEW RESTAURANT IS WORTH CHECKING OUT ***

I don’t normally call out a restaurant in RED BOLD letters but this one excites me and is worth noting.

It is common knowledge that Suanne and I get a lot of recommendations from our readers. These recommendations are the ones that we value a lot because these recommendations alert us to what’s new and what’s good. We know that if it excites someone well enough to write to us, they are definitely worth checking out.

It was just last weekend when Eliza commented (here) that we should check out what she calls the “Starry Night Restaurant Behind Costco”. I thought it was kind of weird but I was intrigued with that location. I clicked over to the link on dinehere.ca and was pretty stoked reading the rave reviews.What do you think when you see review headings that says:

  • Finally, a high-end restaurant that will make me go back to. Excellent food!
  • Recommendation to all foodies out there! It’s a must visit!
  • Hidden Diamond! A must see for everyone, incredible! Best looking restaurant in Vancouver!

It just so happened that we were going shopping at Costco that day. We drove over and saw it … right in the middle of nowhere is just this one restaurant. We were curious and decided to come back.

So, yesterday Suanne and I went for lunch at Starry Night. Starry Night is located on Beckwith Road. Forget about the street address. There is nothing on the street let alone anyone know where Beckwith Road is.

The sign outside the restaurant says “Starry Night – Restaurant – Reflexology”. I’ll tell you more about that Reflexology part later on.

It is easy to find. Just drive to the road behind Costco. You will not miss it. Like I said, there is nothing else on this street. There are lots of parking along the street but you really want to drive into the restaurant where they have parking at the back of the restaurant.

You know why? If you go at night, you want to walk in from the parking lots and see the nice lighting that they had put up. We were there in the afternoon and so we did not get to see it but the owner told us you gotta do it at night. He was raving to us about it.

You will probably laugh that on the right side of the restaurant is a rundown house with overgrowth as high as the roof. On the left side of the restaurant is an empty industrial lot.

They had just been opened for three weeks only. So it is very new.

The moment we stepped in, it is like a different world altogether. We were quite impressed with the setup.

During the later part of our lunch, the chef and the owner came by to chat with us because they noticed that we were taking notes and pictures. There were hardly any customer for lunch. There was only four tables taken the whole time we were there … and so yeah, we stuck out like a sore thumb.

The owner told us that he is from Taiwan and he owns the biggest live-band restaurant in Taipei. He told me the name in Chinese but I can’t remember it. He told us this restaurant is his lifelong dream to make his one perfect restaurant.

The entire restaurant was designed from the ground up and no expenses was spared. It is broken down into three different settings and he said that depending on where you are seated it is a different experience, view and lighting. The owner told us that if we come at night, the patio will be lighted with laser blue lights that looks like stars at night. We were seated in the more casual “Japanese Gazebo” section with natural sunlight permeating the entire area.

The walls were real granite and the wood panelings were walnut wood imported from Taiwan. The tables were tiled with tiles from Spain and the fabric for the seats were imported from Italy. That was what the owner told us but looking at it, they were all plush and of high quality.

The back section presents a more sophisticated look with high ceiling and dimmer setting. There is very little you will not like about the place alone. The music too was soothing with accompanying images showing on the TVs mounted in several area.

Service was eager and attentive but I must say that it was not really good. The waitress does not seem to know some of the questions we had and she responded with pretty general answers. But I do cut her some slack here with the understanding that they were still new. I could see that she is trying her utmost best.

I think this is one department they need to polish on if they aspire for perfection like they say they are.

I read that their coffee is very good and they recommended that too. As appealing it is, we did not get it because we cannot sleep if we take coffee at this time. Coffee is only for morning for us.

Instead, I thought we try the White Tea because it was unique. This is called Pai Mu Tan Guava Berry. It came steeped already with some at the side if we wanted more. The tea was good. We could smell the fragrance of the berry each time we took a sip from the cup. This is $7.

We started off with a soup. We decided to get the Chef’s Daily Creation ($7) which is Chicken and Ginseng double-boiled soup. The bowl is small but is very well done. The soup had a deep flavour, and is smooth and clear. and the chicken meat was like they selected the best parts to serve — it was perfect.

The appetizer above is amazing, but expensive. This is called Chilled Dungeness Crab Cake and costs $16.

There are three distinct layers with a seaweed salad at the bottom. The middle part is the crab and is topped with freshly cut mango salsa. Sprinkled around the plate are crunchy delicious tobiko’s.

The best way to eat it is not by the layer but with a cross section with everything at the same time. Heavenly. It was cold and refreshing. I think you can just imagine what this tastes like. Each ingredient is good enough for me but the balance of all these are simply amazing. I think you will like it. We did … a lot.

The waitress recommended the Schnitzel. I was kind of not sure … Schnitzel … how can Schnitzel be anything exciting, right? Wrong.

Firstly, the $17 Berkshire Pork Loin Schnitzel came with all the platings that practically took up the entire table.

First area of focus is the bowl of sesame seeds. We got to … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant and Cafe in Richmond

Updated: 4th Oct 2010: This restaurant is closed via Vancouver Sushi.

The Gilmore Park Church community kitchen opted to eat out on the last day of our meeting before the summer break. Lorna suggested to eat at BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant and Cafe at the Olympia Centre in Richmond.

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The restaurant is located at #165-8460 Alexandra Road; the strip mall across Toys’R'Us in Lansdowne Mall. This is a very new fusion restaurant, less than a month old. The owner of the restaurant is an ex-member of the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen.

The chef of BonQuLa is the daughter of the owner, her name is Kaori Kuruyama. Chef Kaori was a piano teacher in Japan, but she changed her career after she came to Canada. She studied French cuisine at the Culinary Arts in Vancouver Community College. She is creating her own fusion food with her Japanese inheritage and her French cooking skills.

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The word ‘Bon’ means ‘Ordinary’, the word ‘Qu’ means ‘Eat’ and the word ‘La’ means ‘Enjoy’. The owner named the restaurant BonQuLa because they want the customer to enjoy their food comfortably.

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What stands out to us is the menu which is made of handcrafted paper. A simple but unique menu.

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We did not place specific orders but asked the chef to recommend some of their signature dishes. Like many Japanese restaurants, we were served hot green tea. However, they did not place a teapot on the table for us to help ourselves. They served the tea to us instead.

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First came the bread baskets like most western restaurants. The difference is they served soft and sweet bread instead of crusty bread. The bread basket has a variety of sweet bread like chocolate bread, walnut bread and sweet potato bread. I like these breads. I understand from Kaori that bread baking is her passion and she enjoys seeing her customer enjoying her bread before a meal.

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Next is a Green Field Salad. The salad is accompanied with homemade potato chips. The salad is mainly made of lettuces with fresh blueberries, walnuts and dried cranberries and some other dried fruits.

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They served a very rich, creamy and buttery Pumpkin Soup as one of the starters. Very different from traditional Japanese restaurants which normally serve Miso soup.

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The tempura platter is filled with fried chicken, artificial crab stick, prawn, onion, bamboo shoot, aubergine, long beans. and other vegetables. This is the first dish with Japanese element in it.

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Next is Pork Cutlet Sandwich with Home Made Bread. This is more like a clubhouse sandwich. Well received by the group.

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The Ground Beef Steak with Teriyaki Sauce is another fusion food with Japanese element in it. It uses hamburgers but cooked in Teriyaki Sauce, more like tepanyaki style.

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The next dish is a form of sushi but presented in a very unique way. It’s sushi rice with a layer of preserved vegetable in between the rice and top with cooked salmon and avocado. I found a dish called Bonqula Kawari Sushi on their menu and I guess this must the one.

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Our last dish is more like an appetizer. Its a kind of cracker used as a bowl to hold some raw seafood and sweet peppers and garnished with seaweed. They are very photogenic indeed.

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We ended our meal with a cup of coffee and a tiramisu. A sweet finishing. I enjoyed the tiramisu.

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This meal costs us $13 each, including tips and taxes. We had a great time and I must say that the service is good. The Gilmore Park Church community kitchen wishes the owner and Chef Kaori to succeed in this new venture.

BonQuLa Fusion Restaurant & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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