Chau Kitchen and Bar on Robson, Vancouver

Updated: 17th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Suanne and I met up with Gigi and Jenkins of HoYummy a few weeks ago. We had always been following hoyummy for almost two years now. I consider them as one of the earlier food bloggers when sites like van-eats.com, Nancyland and Ho Yummy were the more prominent food blog sites around. It really makes me think that as much as Suanne and I still has the passion to continue to blog, I am sure that one day we will just move on to something else.

We decided to pick a spot in downtown Vancouver.

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It was one of the more beautiful days in winter when we met. The weather this year had been horrendous and I so look forward to a drier spring. On a clear spring day, Vancouver is simply stunning … with both water AND snow capped mountains as a backdrop, I am sure there are not many places in this world with such a setting.

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Chau is a newish 6-month old Vietnamese restaurant located on Robson by Nicola. Ever since we had an upscale Vietnamese meal at Tamarind Tree in Seattle, I had always lamented that there is no equivalent in Vancouver. I had hoped that Chau would be the closest to that.

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As the name states, Chau Kitchen and Bar, they had a small bar right at the entrance of the restaurant. The bar splits the dining area into two parts.

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The dining area is pleasant and has an earthy feel to it but nothing overly fancy. We got seated by the windows as we wanted more light for the pictures.

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Once seated, we were promptly served iced water with a slice of cucumber in it. Unique, I thought.

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I opted for the Chau Lemonade which is a mix of vodka, cucumber and lemon. The taste was refreshing particularly from the cucumber. I enjoyed it but it really was a bit too strong for me.

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The menu is small. Basically what you see above is all there is for the main dish section. We were not too impressed with the lack of choices. What really struck me was the 1st item on the menu …

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… Spring Rolls. I ordered that even though it does not really compute in my brain that any spring roll could cost $11. They were without any doubt some of the best spring rolls I ever had but still $11 is just a bit too expensive for me. Again, it was great … but the serving is too small, and too pricey.

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I was also thinking that this is touted as a main dish while spring rolls are always served as an appetizer else where. Anyway, it’s described as signature chicken and taro … and is very crunchy without the greasiness associated with poorly made spring rolls.

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The sides on the spring roll was colorful. That’s it.

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Suanne opted for something more sensible. At the price cheaper than my appetizer/main dish ($10) the White Basa Fish is definitely more like a main dish. It is served with caramel sauce which was kind of unique for fish.

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Suanne ordered a bowl of rice to go with the fish. This is more like a meal to us.

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Gigi had the Fire Grill Asian Eggplant served with light sweet chili sauce and green onions ($8). It sure looked well presented and delicious.

Jenkins had the Rice Paper Rolls. For some reason, I did not take the picture of those.

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Because it was not a lot of food, we could still go for desserts. Gigi and Jenkins had the Creme Caramel. Love the presentation.

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Suanne and I shared Fried Banana and Ice Cream Wrap in Spring Roll. It was a good dessert and certainly an unique one too. For a very Asian touch, they had it served with condensed milk and garnished with mint. So, it was quite a potpourri of taste here.

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We had a great time chatting about blogging, sharing tips and all. We actually share a lot in common that I initially thought. I think we were at Chau’s for over 3 hours until we were reminded that they close early that day for a private party. Goes to show how much we enjoyed Gigi and Jenkins company. We had so many glasses of drinks … the iced-cucumber water, the cocktail and endless top-ups of tea. So you might imagine that during the time there, there were quite a few trips to empty the bladder (OK, I know … too much information here now).

Food-wise, Chau is great. It is just that I can’t get the $11 spring rolls out of my head.

I am still looking for the Tamarind Tree equivalent in Vancouver.

Chau Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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  1. $11 for spring rolls?! That’s insane! I mean, it would be not insane if you got at least 3 times the amount you received.

  2. is it meant to be eaten family style? like tapas? the menu makes me think that… probably like you said, cuz spring rolls is usually an appetizer. if not, seems like it should come with a side salad or soup or something! everything on the menu sounds good though! i think i would like to do it family/tapas style so i could try everything!

  3. Glad to hear you guys had as much fun meeting up as Jenkins and I did! 🙂 I agree that although the food was quite tasty, it was overpriced for what we got. To Robyn’s point, I think the dishes were probably best served tapas-style but for some reason, we just didn’t think of it while we were there.

    Thanks for writing your post so quickly, Ben…this is just the motivation I need to write my post soon. :p

  4. From your picture and a map, I think this location used to offer another Vietnamese restaurant called the Saigon Restaurant, if I remember correctly. It was not as upscale as this one appears to be, and had coupons in the Entertainment Book. IMHO, a non-chain restaurant with coupons in the Entertainment Book is having trouble getting customers and may not stay in business very long.

  5. I think the spring rolls in this case fell into the category of “wrong item in the menu”. Had you ordered the rice paper rolls for sharing instead… (I took a picture of it. Check it here.

    Notice that I also used upscale at first but I had to back out. I think modern is a more appropriate. But, putting the spring rolls aside, what do you think of the other dishes you ordered?

    1. Hi KimHo: The other dishes were quite good … but again, overpriced. I can accept a higher price for better Vietnamese cuisine but I think Chau could do well by notching it up a little and make it like Tamarind Tree. Tamarind Tree is not cheap. But I want to say again, Chau’s food was well prepared and good.
      Ben

  6. Hi Ben,

    $11 for spring rolls? That’s quite a rip off! Ever since my first visit to Tamarind Tree, I’ve also been trying to look for an equivalent here in Vancouver with no luck so far. If you ever find a place, make sure you blog about it right away!

    1. There is a place in Mission and Abbotsford that is not high end but also very modern that serves exceptional vietnamese food with a decent price. I stop there every time I go fishing and to the race track. The name of the resturant is call Little Saigon…check it out!

  7. Looks delicious but I’d rather have homecooked Vietnamese food. Bigger portions and it’s free! =P

  8. Found your site through HoYummy! I have been meaning to try Chau. I’ve never been to Tamarind Tree in Seattle but down in San Francisco there’s a number of 5 star Vietnamese restaurants – upscale, upscale prices and delicious. Chau’s the only Vietnamese place in Vancouver that I’ve seen which looks more upscale but after reading yours and gigi’s review, it just sounds overpriced!

    Please let me know if you ever do come across a nice Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver!

    1. Hi Thu: I look forward to a day when there is a truly high-end Vietnamese restaurant in Vancouver serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Chau is not really what I am looking for. They basically serve the same stuff as in most Vietnamese restaurants but just in a nicer setting.
      Ben

  9. get real. 8-10 bucks for stylish entrees, good atmosphere and great service….and your complaining.?? Go pay cash down the street at delightful cuisine if you want, but this place is great. Get over a spring roll and grow up. Stop slandering good restaurants with your shitty reviews.

    1. Hi George: Those are very harsh and uncouth words you uttered. What 8-10 bucks? Those freaking spring rolls are $11. That was TWO YEARS ago and God knows what it costs today. Oh puh-leez! Please read the whole review again carefully and tell me where I had exaggerated things or slandered the restaurant. I did say that the food was good. I also did say that the spring rolls are $11. Those are the facts. If you feel that paying $11 for “stylish” spring rolls is something you want to do, all power to you. LOL! Ben

      1. How many spring rolls for $11? It seems it might be 4 spring rolls(cut-up in half). So 8 pieces in total.

        1. Hi Steve. What makes you think it is 8? Maybe you assumed I ate two leaving six before I took the picture? 🙂 It was two cut into six. Does that make it better value? Seriously, that comment from “George” was rude but as always I approve it. Read the review carefully and I don’t think I deserve that kind of crap. Ben

          1. Going from you picture here, & the picture in Ho Yummy blog review. I was only asking. There’s a Vietnamese restaurant here, that does cut it up like that.

          2. BTW, I did think George was rude(& I did read the whole review again). Just decided not to mention it, in my earlier post.

    2. LMAO. George is stupid. Paying $11 for spring rolls is like paying $18 for stylish fries.

    3. Those spring rolls do look very yummy in the pictures. But I’d have to admit 11 bucks would be a steep price to pay, in relation to plate size. 8-10 bucks for an entrée is reasonable by downtown standards. However I would hardly consider spring rolls an entrée, unless you eat like a bird.

      1. And it WAS yummy as I mentioned on the post. Guess it wasn’t good enough for some people when I also mention I find $11 too expensive and he goes on insulting people. That riles me up. [calm down, Ben] LOL!

  10. Maybe George is an Investor or friend of management???

    1. Maybe he’s …… Constanza ! lol

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