It’s been a while since I tried out a VANEATS.ca package. So far to date, I’ve tried out 10 of their different packages, and most of them have been pretty good bang for the buck deals and quality. Now when I received the email asking me to try this out, I had a very vague memory of reading about it somewhere… oh on GoodEat! Anyways, I said sure, why not, there’s beer in it and the items looked good.
Now for some backstory, this location USED to be Sammy J Peppers, a local restaurant with multiple locations (all of the lower mainland ones have since closed, ie Richmond, Burnaby, etc..) that’s owned by 2 brothers. However, one split and sold the name, kept this location and renamed it. Apparently he also owns The Blarney Stone in Gastown…just some information that I gleaned from the manager.
Anyways, on to the package.
- Prawn, Shrimp, & Wild Mushrooms Salad, pan seared prawns and wild local mushrooms, hand peeled shrimp, arugula, grapefruit, taro root crisps, lemon-hazelnut vinaigrette
- Coconut Scallop Ceviche, hand peeled shrimp, citrus juices, ginger, jalapeño, corn chips, tobiko & ikura
- Choice of the following:
- Crispy Duck Leg, Confit of Fraser Valley duck leg, sweet chill ginger sauce, yam & plantain chips, sesame seeds, grilled plums
- Red Honey-Curry Coho, wild BC Coho, saffron yoghurt, hot pickled lime puree, candied almonds, cinnamon market vegetable
- 2 Sleeves of Angry Scotch Ale, Russell Brewing Company’s strong, dark ale with dominant malt accent that originated in Edinburgh. Made with Scottish specialty malts including Peated Malt imparting a slight smoky character to the beer
Starting off with the beer, I drank both of these Angry Scotch Ales since Val’s not a fan of darker ales. I’m not sure why, this isn’t even hoppy, it’s actually quite sweet and has a low ABV% …6.5.
We were served the Coconut Scallop Ceviche first, which contained hand peeled shrimp, citrus juices, ginger, jalapeño, corn chips, tobiko & ikura.
I like the use of fresh fried corn chips for scooping up all the little shrimps, and I’ll admit I couldn’t taste the jalepeno kick, but the creamy coconut with the citrus zing to it was dang tasty..a good modern ceviche.
Along with the ceviche came the Prawn, Shrimp, & Wild Mushrooms Salad, pan seared prawns and wild local mushrooms, hand peeled shrimp, arugula, grapefruit, taro root crisps, lemon-hazelnut vinaigrette.
I thought this salad was decent, the shrimps weren’t overcooked, the earthiness of the mushrooms and bitterness of the arugula all played nicely together with the lemon hazelnut vinaigrette.
Not wanting to deal with a duck leg and the consequent bones, I opted for the wild BC Coho with saffron yoghurt, hot pickled lime puree, candied almonds & cinnamon market vegetable from the two main choices, figuring it would go along with all the other seafood items from the menu.
Some extremely interesting flavours were present on this dish, from the sweet tandoori glaze (made from fresh toasted spices in house) and its pairing with the mellow saffron yogurt and the hot pickled lime puree (not really that spicy, just more pickled). To complement all this was a dried prune to nibble on between bites.
After these three items, we both were feeling a bit…peckish still. Val was definitely not satisfied with the amount of food, which is quite a rarity, so we ordered Calamari w/ mango ginger salsa, frisee, red onions and smoked chili aioli for $12 from the menu.
While the calamari itself was decent with a thin batter and the squid retaining the chewy texture, it was a tad disappointing to find the mango salsa buried underneath the mound. The addition of the chili aioli was preferred over the more traditional tzatziki, but I think I’ve been spoiled with the amazing calamari I had at Flying Otter Grill in Victoria.
There was one snafu at the end of the meal when the bill came, as they had charged us $30 for the package, when I had told the host and server that I was here to preview the package..and then it took a while to flag down someone to rectify the issue. I can’t completely blame them, as the restaurant was fully packed and they’re understandably busy, but perhaps some miscommunication between the staff? The manager quickly brought over the corrected bill and all was good.
Final thoughts? The quality of the food (minus the pub standard calamari) was great, unique and had some good flavour combinations. However, the lack of carbohydrates, which was slightly remedied by the addition of chips to every item on the package, really stood out to me. The addition of the two glasses of beer definitely helps “fill” the appetite, but it’s still not a replacement for the standard carbs.
For $30, it’s a ‘deal’ if you add up the menu prices, but at face value, this one just didn’t fill my appetite, regardless of if I was sharing or dining alone.
1517 Anderson Road