Everyday Friday Suanne and I go out for dinner just by ourselves. We leave the boys at home. They are happy to get rid of us, just as long as they get to play the PS3 and hog the computers. They appreciate time away from us as much as we do them. They think we don’t know but I know they practice wrestling moves with each other at home. When we are at home, we forbade the boys from strangling each other blue. Nanzaro especially, is a wrestling nut and is totally addicted to everything wrestling. I don’t know what to do with him really. He just loves that barbaric sport. He knows every wrestlers name and can even describe their outfit down to how many loops of shoe laces they wear.
But last Friday, Nanzaro decided to gatecrash our Friday dinner. As soon as he heard that we are going to the new Tamarind Hill restaurant, he decided to hang out with us instead of his ko-ko (older brother).
Logistically, it was going to be difficult. I would get off back from Burnaby, drive back to Richmond to pick Suanne and Nanzaro up and then on to North Vancouver. Believe it or not, that is almost 90km round trip! And you know how bad Friday traffic could be.
So we decided to try using the new Canada Line instead.
I bet you remember of the lines on the first day of service when rides were free. People are mad enough to wait up to 3 hours in line to get on the train. Crazy!
Well, my dear son was one of those crazy folks. Nanzaro went with his best friend and his dad to catch that free ride. They waited for 1.5 hours at the Lansdowne Station and then gave up. So Nanzaro was glad we are taking the train. It was rather confusing using the machines when Suanne insisted on using her FareSaver as part payment. Translink ticket machine is not some of the easiest to use if you ask me.
We met up at the Station by the River Rock Casino. They have free parking for now. Even though it is free, there were lots of spaces left in the multi-storey park and ride. I expected that a lot more people would have use the park and ride. Anyway, come Sep 8, they will charge $2 for parking.
I was not too impressed with the Canada Line. The cars we were in had too few seats. Almost 1/3 the train was a big empty standing only area. I realize that they did it that way because this line goes to the airport for baggage lugging passengers too. I noticed that the stations were designed just to fit the existing configuration of four cars. I would have thought that they would have built the platforms longer in case they need to extend it someday.
The best part of the journey is taking the seabus to North Vancouver. For those of you who had never been to Vancouver, the Seabus is the cheapest harbour cruise here. I always recommend visitors to try take the seabus. I am not sure what the fare is for the two-zone ticket … $4?
Vancouver is simply stunning viewed from the Burrard Inlet.
We took the connecting bus on Lonsdale Quay. It was just 5 minutes to the Tamarind Hill.
The Tamarind Hill is the newest Malaysian restaurant in Metro Vancouver. This is opened by the same people who also owns the Tamarind Hill restaurant in New Westminster. We had been to the Tamarind Hill in New West and we loved their food.
We found out about this new restaurant because the owner wrote informing us about it. They knew we had a positive review of our visit to their New West restaurant. Suanne and I decided that we go visit them incognito and unannouced — just to please you all readers.
The North Van restaurant is smaller than the one in New West. OK the picture above shows empty tables but it was at that time when that section was just cleared of customers that I managed to take a sneak shot. I was surprised that they have so many customers even though they were opened for just a few weeks. And it was quite glaring that we were the only Asian customers that evening. I remembered that restaurant in New West too has lots of white customers too which led me to think that Malaysian cuisine appeals to non-Asian too despite its spiciness.
They have an extensive wine list but we do not drink. The decor is red-brownish with roughly the same sort of theme as I vaguely recall in the New West restaurant. It is decidedly Oriental even Arabic, but certainly not Malaysian for sure. Even the piped music is western. All these do suggest to me that they try to target the non-Asian segment as their customer base.
But that’s about it. Am glad to see that the food is very authentic Malaysian and every bit as good as the ones in the Tamarind Hill in New West.
I ordered the Curry Lamb ($13.60). It is described on the menu as boneless lamb marinated with ground fennel and Malaysian curry, slowly simmered in coconut with fresh onions, garlic, cloves, cinnamon and coriander.
I really have to give this a thumbs up. It has a …
creamy rich curry sauce with a very smooth consistency to it. That curry sauce itself is a winner. It is spicy hot and leaves a lingering heat which slowly builds up after. They gave quite a lot of boneless lamb in this dish which is served in a bowl separate from the rice. The chunks are big … you know, like you need two bites for each cubed lamb meat. I like it that way. There are potatoes in the dish too. They are pre-deep fried before they add it to the curry which is good as it does not make the potatoes mushy and the curry gets to maintain its integrity (know what I mean? LOL!)
Nanzaro ordered the $9.75 Char Koay Teow. It is stir fried flat rice noodle Malaysian style. This was not particularly too spicy but at the same time was a bit sweetish too. It certainly is one of the better Char Koay Teow we ever had in Metro Vancouver. The most important measurement of a great char koay teow is the caramelization you see above from the all important “wok hei” in making this. Nicely done.
Suanne ordered the Malaysian Curry Laksa ($8.50). Laksa is one of Malaysia’s signature street food. The curry was not too spicy but thought that it was really thick. It tasted very rich in spices. It was served in too large a bowl that made the serving looks small. Presentation wise it could do with a dash of green, you think?
We remembered that they have such wonderful desserts in their New West restaurant. We asked for the dessert menu but they said they do not yet have the menu but they do have it. We ordered exactly what we had then … the Coconut Crepes. It was served delightfully hot. This is an amazing sweet dessert which I recommend.
Their prices are on the high side but then it might not be a fair comparison to the prices in simpler Malaysian restaurants like Seri Malaysia and Kedah House. Service was good and really quick. We noticed that there were quite a number of take out customers too. I think this restaurant will do equally as well as the already succesful restaurant in New West.
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I had trouble validating my faresaver ticket too in the same Bridgeport station. I was trying to insert my faresaverr ticket in the blue ticketing machine and it wouldn’t work. Then I realized that there’s a seperate grey machine to validate these tickets. There is no sign whatsoever to indicate that.
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$40 is way overpriced for the small serving of ‘char kway teow” and “curry laksa” that cost only $1 or $2 for the cheap ingredients. There are reasons why restaurants operated by Singaporean/Malaysian have a high tendency to shut down within a year or two. If they want to serve hawkers food, then charge hawkers price; and not camouflaging kopitiam fares for haute cuisine.
I admire Ben & Suanne’s christian charity but some times in order to be kind, one has to be truthfully cruel.
I totally agree with bethoven. Other than the lamb dish the others are SE Asian fast food. I remember having curry laksa as a kid in Penang, Malaysia for 20 cents. Admittedly that was another time several decades ago. But a recent trip back I had the same, if not even better tasting now, for MR3.00. That is about C$1. But the point is the ingredients are not that expensive even in Vancouver. They price themselves out.
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I beg to differ with Beethoven and Kwan. Yes, I have lived in Singapore and experienced cheap hawker meals.
It is 2 years later and the restaurant is going strong. The comparisons with Malaysia are a little ridiculous as are comparisons to Hawker Centres. Eating at a hawker centre is a very different experience than eating in a nice-sit down restaurant.
Restaurants should be compared to restaurants in the area, not to restaurants on the other side of the world. That is ridiculous.