Cache Bistro & Lounge – A Brilliant Dining Experience

Cache Bistro & Lounge – A Brilliant Dining Experience

cache restaurant

I had the pleasure of tasting Cache Bistro’s new fall menu last week with several other bloggers (Scott from WFLBC, Amy from Food Queen, Jen from Mashed Thoughts, Mary from MaryinVancity, Robin from eatwith.RobinLeung, and Amy from PopcornMedia).

Right from the outset, were greeted by Zoey, the manager of Cache. She passed us the tasting menu for the night and told us a bit about the restaurant. Cache is Chef Alex Mok’s debut restaurant. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver, Chef Mok has worked in several prestigious restaurants and worked under the private chef of the late King Leopold of Belgium. With Cache, Chef Mok aims to marry classic French cooking with unique Asian flavours.

It looks pretty small from the outside, but Cache Bistro has a spacious interior. I would say the restaurant’s décor has some European flair.

bar area 1

Cache has a big bar area and seating space for larger parties. On the other side of the bar, there are booths and smaller tables.

bar

The spacing was a little tight, but it works. It’s sort of cut off from the other patrons, which I think makes it a really nice space for a birthday event or group dinner – you don’t have worry about ruining someone’s date night!

They’ve got plenty of booze available here! We didn’t get to try any, but Cache also has German beer on tap.

Here’s the tasting menu for the night. The front lists the dishes that we got to taste.
menu front

On the back, there is a description of Cache and Chef Mok’s background as well as some contact information.

chef mok background

We also got to take a look at their new fall menu.

It looks like there’s tons of stuff on there, but it’s really because they combined the drinks menu with the food menu. Cache serves a lot of different wines, cocktails, and beers, so the menu looks very packed.

cache menu

The first thing we started with was booze! Cache’s expert bartender whipped up some Xfour Classic Martinis for each one of us.

Xfour Classic Martinis

I had mine with a twist. This martini used Xfour vodka.

Xfour vodka

Never heard of it before, but the martini was really smooth. The vodka seems pretty similar to Grey Goose.

a virgin cocktail

Jen from Mashed Thoughts doesn’t drink, so Cache prepared a virgin cocktail for her instead.

Immediately following the martinis and drinks, we were served some bread. The bread was good, but the real kicker is the two butters accompanying the bread. The first butter is a truffle infused butter and the second butter is a peanut butter butter; they both have the consistency of whipped butter and are made in-house.

truffle butter

The truffle butter is very light and delicious. The truffle flavour was much more subtle than I expected. With the peanut butter butter, it was out of this world! Never had anything quite like it – the flavour is reminiscent of peanut satay sauce that one would find with hotpot dishes.

The starter that we got to sample was the Paris Picnic, which included samples of Oyama Sausage’s cured meats, house made foie gras mousse, mixed olives, a blueberry compote, crostini, and house pickled vegetables.

paris picnic

Oyama Sausage is based in Granville Island; I’ve never had their meats before, but they were spectacular. Unlike some of the cured meats I’ve tried before, Oyama Sausage’s were not overly salty and had a really fresh taste.

oyama sausage

The fois gras mousse was really interesting. I’ve never had fois gras before so I didn’t know what to expect. It had a really creamy texture and a decadent duck aftertaste.

foie gras 2

The rest of the plate was good, but nothing else stood out.

Untitled

Amy from Popcorn Media is vegetarian, so Cache served her a house salad. I have no clue what’s in it, but it sure looks pretty and delicious. The beats were apparently really good.

house salad

I forgot this handsome chap’s name, but he was a really funny host. After the starter, he introduced the wine that would be paired with our first main.

handsom chap

Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette VQA ’11 BC was the red wine paired with our first main, the Aldergrove Mok Ribs.

le vieux pin syrah

I’m not much of a wine connoisseur, so I’m not even going to try and describe it. I just know that it paired really well with the ribs!

The Aldergrove Mok Ribs is a full rack of pork back ribs cooked using Chef Mok’s secret BBQ sauce. Accompanying the ribs is a side of sesame cilantro red cabbage coleslaw.

ribs

Described to us as the best ribs in town, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ribs were indeed really damn good.

ribs 3

Chef Mok’s fusion of Asian flavours was clearly portrayed in this dish. The ribs were a tad on the sweeter side from the sauce’s incorporation of (what I think to be) hoisin sauce. They were also fall-off-the-bone tender. The slaw was phenomenal – the taste is incredibly similar to Chinese pickled daikon. I’m certain this slaw was the best I’ve ever had and likely will ever have.

rib 4

Moving onto the second main, we were served Church & State Cabernet Franc V2A ’10 BC as the wine pairing.

church and state cab franc

The flavours of this wine were much bolder, so I could make out the lingering spiciness. I remember hearing some of the others mention notes of vanilla and citrus.

I thought it paired really well with the Peace Country Lamb Chop, which was a grilled lamb chop with navy bean ragout and a roasted house made fennel lamb sausage.

lamb 1

I really like lamb, so to see a dish with both a lamb chop and lamb sausage had me pretty excited! The chop had a great sear and was incredibly tender. Excellent lamb flavour and a nice horseradish kick.

lamb 2

Cache’s house-made sausage was a real winner; I’ve never had such a good tasting lamb sausage. It was packed with lamb flavour! Unfortunately though, the bean ragout didn’t appeal to me as much as the lamb. I found the beans harder than I’m used to – it’s more of a personal preference thing though.

Finally after the mains, we reached the pièce de résistance – dessert. We were served the Cache S’more, which had house-made marshmellow, chocolate ganache, and croissant pudding.

Cache S’more

There’s only one word to describe this marshmellow – perfection. It was super gooey and delicious.

Visually, this dessert was also really beautiful.

s'mores 3

The dessert is just bordering on being too sweet, but it straddles that line pretty well. Having this with a cup of black coffee was just the perfect way to finish up the meal. Everything was at the perfect level of melty-ness. If you’re into s’mores or gooey food, this is the dessert you should try.

To finish off the night, Chef Mok came out and briefly chatted with us about his menu. He seems like a cool guy.

chef mok

Overall, Cache Bistro & Lounge serves up some real quality food. It’s by no means a cheap place to go to, but it’s definitely a fabulous place for great food and drinks. I’m putting Cache on my date-night list!

Guest Blogger:

Chris Yeh from Our Food Adventure @ OurFoodAdvent

Caché Bistro & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Edible Canada – Seasonal and Local Ingredients

Granville Island is one of my favourite neighborhoods in Vancouver. There is so much culture, travelers and of course fresh and local produce.

I can’t believe I haven’t written about Edible Canada, I’ve been there so many times! This may be slightly overdue but, I promise it will be good.

They have a little gourmet snack and spread section at the back of the store carrying an array of delicious candies, spreads and, more sweets. The layout reminds me of Manzo at Eately in New York

The patio wraps around from the front to the side. As much as I love patio’s be wary of sitting close to the flower beds during bug season. There was a huge clusters of flies, not so appetizing. I always ask for a table inside. I’ll tell you about the horrific bug experience at Minami’s patio another time. I must warn you, it was so disturbingly graphic that I downed two shots of vodka to make me forget and that is saying something, I’m not usually a shots kinda girl. No really, not lying, I can hear you skeptics.

Edible Canada features a mix of local seasonal produce and seafood.

I just love it when I snap pics and you catch people discreetly checking each other out. In her case she had bug eyes and a smirk, not so discreet. I wonder if she got the guy?

Started with Togarashi Rice cracker crusted wild albacore tuna, warm fingerling potatoes, peas, kale, wild mushrooms $15. This was refreshingly pleasant on the palette. The dish was simply flavored, which allowed the quality of the ingredients to come through. 4/5

Togarashi Rice cracker crusted wild albacore tuna
Togarashi Rice cracker crusted wild albacore tuna

Sloping Hills Pork Duo, Slik spice crusted grilled 8oz pork chop, braised pork belly, hot & sour vinaigrette $24. A huge dish, the braised pork belly was so tender and flavourful. The grilled pork chop was a little over cooked making the meat a chewy. 3.5/5

Sloping Hills Pork Duo
Sloping Hills Pork Duo

PEACE COUNTRY BRAISED LAMB PASTA, rigatoni, wild mushrooms, peas, sorrel. $22 Lamb pasta was yummy, our favourite dish of our meal. 4.5/5

PEACE COUNTRY BRAISED LAMB PASTA

PEACE COUNTRY BRAISED LAMB PASTA

KASU & BIRCH SYRUP SABLEFISH, fava beans, asparagus, peas, northern beans, Swiss chard $26. Sable fish was silky smooth. I would definitely re-order this dish 4/5

KASU & BIRCH SYRUP SABLEFISH
KASU & BIRCH SYRUP SABLEFISH

LOIS LAKE STEELHEAD SALMON local Dungeness Crab croquette, wild salmon caviar, smoked tomato vinaigrette. We ordered this because they had crab croquettes. Apparently, it was very delicious I didn’t even get a chance to try it. I did try the salmon, which was very fresh 3.5/5

LOIS LAKE STEELHEAD SALMON
LOIS LAKE STEELHEAD SALMON

I’ve been back a few times already and the food has been fairly consistent. The service was a slow, it took 10 minutes to get our water refills.

Edible Canada at the Market on Urbanspoon

Fable Kitchen – Top Chef Canada Runner Up Trevor Bird

Appies

Canned Tuna – preserved lemon, salt canned in-house  Fable Kitchen’s server rightly described it as “The best canned tuna you’ll ever eat” and, she’s right. It was bit on the heavier side but, the flavours were creative blended well together.

Canned Tuna

Chickpea fritters, pickled red onion, shoots, curry mayo. This was good but not the highlight 3/5

Spaghetti and meatball, Duck meat ball, tagliatelle, mushroom sauce in the middle. 5/5. I rarely give 5 ‘s but, this dish deserved it. I understand why they made this an appie instead of an entrée, it is very heavy. My friend remarked, if he could dunk his head in this  it’ll be the best thing EVER.

Spaghetti and meatball

Entrees

Duck Breast, scallion pierogi, fiddle heads, cauliflower. 4.5/5

Duck

Steak, an asian inspired sauce, ginger, black bean, soy sauce. 4/5
Steak

Potato Crusted Chicken and ratatouille. The crust had an interesting texture, reminded me of potato hasbrowns from McDonald’s. It’s not a bad thing just different. Chicken itself was tender. 4/5

potato wrapped chicken

Featured Entrée Slow cooked local salmon with Gnocchi, kale, leeks, spinach puree. The gnocchi was doughy and dense. The salmon was good, the dish other aside from the gnocchi was executed nicely. 3/5

Slow cooked local salmon

Desserts

Lemon Pot de Crème, lemon granita, gin foam. Holy cow this was soooo good. A nice refreshing end to our heavy meal. 4.5/5

Fable Lemon de pot cream

Peach Melba, sable. Sable which I apologize to my highschool French teacher translates to shortbread. Of course!! 2.5/5
Peach Melba

Fable Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Merchants Oyster Bar – Truffle Baked Oysters

Merchants Oyster Bar, a cozy new oyster bar on Commercial Drive, will seem familiar to some. That’s because it’s the sister restaurant of Cork in Fin in Gastown. Similar in concept and design, the menu is a bit different. From when I walked in to when I left, the service was warm and helpful.

Merchants Oyster Bar

Our server Doug was very knowledgeable, he knew exactly how our food was cooked to where it was sourced. I love that, we’ve all been to restaurants where servers weren’t sure of the ingredients in the dishes they were serving, embarrassing.

My main take away from my experience at Merchants Oyster Bar, was that their ingredients were fresh and every dish was prepared with care. Their dishes were simple and on the lighter side and, it suited me just fine.

Starting with raw oysters, of course we had to order oysters it’s an oyster bar. It was fresh and absolutely scrumptious. I love oysters of any kind, so I could be bias.

Raw oysters

Baked truffle oysters were amazing. My eyes actually rolled when I popped it into my mouth, I absolutely recommend the baked oysters. There are other styles, miso baked oysters was good but, the truffle was excellent.

Truffle baked oysters

Flat Iron Steak, butter poached with potatoes.

Flat Iron Steak

The cooking method was interesting, I forgot the term. They submerge the vacuum bagged steak in water in controlled temp water, ensuring that the meat is evenly cooked throughout. You can tell how evenly cooked it is by the edges of the steak and, how it is still pink to the very edge.

steak cooking method

Pomme Au Gratin, not as heavy as traditional French gratins but still creamy.

Pomme au gratin - potatoes

Bison Tartare, cornichon, homemade mustard, a simple flavored dish.

Pork belly with Provencal salad. I would have liked a bit more flavor to the pork belly. Overall this was a nice light dish. Usually I don’t associate pork belly with refreshing but with the combination of the light flavors from the salad this is a good summer dish.

Pork belly salad

Roasted Bone Marrow with parsley salad was delicious! I could eat this all day.

pork belly with salad

bone marrow

Overall, it was a generally nice experience. I would definitely go back again.

Merchant's Oyster Bar  on Urbanspoon

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour – Happy Hour Under $5

Hapa Izakaya version 4.0. By now Vancouverites should be very familiar with Japanese tapas. Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour formerly known as Hapa Umi, is popular amongst the after work crowd just happy to relax with cheap food and drinks.

hapa umi

Hapa Izakaya Coal Harbour used to be a upscale hapa but, I guess Vancouverites got so used to Hapa’s original menu and prices that it just did not fly. Now they have a menu very similar to all the other Hapa’s

Happy Hour Details:

3- 6 PM

Monday to Friday

Everything on the Happy Hour menu including the house wine and beer is under $5. I know UNDER $5!!!

Now the food…

Starting with my favourite dish the Ika, grilled squid, sake soy garlic marinade. The smoky flavour really came through. It was cooked perfectly, the texture was still crunchy.
Ike

Ebi Mayo, was overcooked and the batter was too thick.
shrimp Tempura

Chicken Karaage, it was juicy and tender on the inside but the outside was not as crispy as I would have liked

Chicken karage

Beef tataki, lacked flavor, I’m not a big fan of any dish squirted with a thick blob of chilli sauce.
Beef tataki

Rennkon Gyoza, minced pork layered with lotus root and tempura. This was surprisingly nice, the lotus root added a crunchy texture.
Deep fried gyoza

Overall, it stood a little above pub food but, the atmosphere and service was so fun. The servers were hot. We sat in a booth so I was eye level with the server’s busty boobs. I couldn’t help staring at them, they were everywhere.  It may be raunchy but, take it as it is, Hapa Izakaya doesn’t claim to be a Michelin star restaurant, it’s more along the lines of Cactus Club. If you are complaining about girls and guys flaunting their bodies (I might add, it wasn’t distasteful) go somewhere else.

Hapa Umi on Urbanspoon

Tableau Bistro Loden Hotel – Old School Comfort

Tableau Bistro, located inside the Loden Hotel serves a locally inspired French menu.

I’m sorry, I haven’t been blogging for a while, I was dying of exhaustion. It took me 12 hours of sleep on Sunday to fully recover from a week-long binge of drinking, eating and debauchery. Vegas is not a relaxing vacation spot. ;I’ve been thinking of going on a cleanse but, seriously who was I kidding, how could a restaurant blogger go on a cleanse and still be able to blog??

Now, I’m back!

I’ve been going to Tableau a lot these past couple of weeks. I always, love coming here, if I ever wanted to relax in a comfortable and nice environment, Tableau is the first place to come to mind and, admittedly it’s one of the closest restaurants to where I live. To my friends outside of downtown…I’m sorry I made you trek all the way downtown but, aren’t you glad you did?

This is a good first date spot. If your date turns out to be a bore you would also have other first dates around you for entertainment.

The service was attentive and the food for the most part was delicious. There were a few dishes that were off but, generally they rated 4/5. Tableau makes one of the best TWENTIETH CENTURY cocktails in Vancouver gin, white chocolate syrup, lillet, lemon and, egg white.

Absolutely DELISH!

I recently went to Bottleneck on Granville, review to come, I ordered the same cocktail and they came back with some disgusting licorice mouthwash concoction. Arghhh gag I can still taste it.

So on to the food….

Lamb chops – we all loved this dish. Unfortunately, this is a seasonal dish and is no longer available on their summer menu. The meat was so packed with flavor and the smokiness really came through. 4/5.

Lamb chops
Lamb chops

Mushrooms on toast, I know, I was skeptical at first, it’s mushrooms on toast, how phenomenal could this be? Our server told us this was one of their popular appetizers so we decided to give it a try. ;I was pleasantly surprised, this was good! ; Expensive for what it is but, I’m a big fan of mushrooms and this is now one of my favourite dishes on the menu 4.5/5

Mushrooms on toast
Mushrooms on toast

French onion soup, crouton-less, the fragrant was amazing. This rich soup was so flavourful, after I finished the bowl, I was pretty much full.

French onion soup, crouton-less
French onion soup, crouton-less

Burger and fries – Gruyère cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato. I rate burgers by the quality of the patty and the condiments. The patty was juicy and the bun was toasted. Other than the Gruyère there wasn’t much that set this burger apart from every other burger. 3/5

Burger and fries
Burger and fries

Rabbit Dijionaise pan-fried, although it tasted like it was braised. The meat was a sopping mess. 2/5

Rabbit Dijionaise pan fried
Rabbit Dijionaise pan-fried

Beef tartare, the quality of the meat was superb. 4/5

Beef Tartare  with quail egg
Beef Tartare with quail egg

Gnocchi pan-fried was nice and buoyant, often gnocchi’s are doughy, this was perfect. 4/5

Gnocchi pan fried
Gnocchi pan-fried

Garganelli pasta with meatballs was simple and delicious. 4/5.

Garganelli pasta with meatballs
Garganelli pasta with meatballs

Steelhead trout with quinoa 3.5/5

Steelhead trout with
Steelhead trout with

Banana cake and peanut brittle and carmalized and chocolate ice-cream. They ran out of peanut brittle, and cake itself was hard and too dense. 2/5 I was looking forward to the peanut brittle too.

Banana cake with peanut brittle
Banana cake with peanut brittle

Coffee cheesecake, light in texture and also in flavor. 2.5/5

Tableau Bar Bistro on Urbanspoon

Halong Bay – Newly Discovered Viet Gem

Halong Bay is a newly discovered gem near my workplace. All my co-workers have been continually raving about this joint. Halong Bay serves simple but fairly good Vietnamese cuisine. Their menu is pretty standard of what is found at other restaurants.

Halong bay restaurant
Halong bay restaurant

Their décor is worth a mention and not because it is gorgeous. With laminated pictures of their menu items plastered on their pale blue walls.

Lemongrass Vietnamese sub was decent very typical of what you would get. $4.75 3.5/5

lemongrass chicken sub
lemongrass chicken sub

Special tripe beef balls were comparable to the standard pho available downtown. Special tripe beef balls $6.50. Very comparable to the standard pho available downtown 3.5/5

pho
pho