Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
AnnaLena has been hailed as one of the hottest restaurants in Vancouver, having heard this I made my way down (took me 3 attempts to finally get there) and went on an ordering spree.
I loved the interior, slightly artsy, not at all pretentious and almost cozy.
I sat at the bar with my colleague and we decided to go all out, well, I decided to go all out.
I ordered the oysters with Foie gras, the octopus and potatoes, their fried chicken, the scallops and finally their braised wagyu short rib.
Out first the oysters were good, a creamy richness along with a mineral freshness really helped keep a balance. I quite enjoyed them although and the addition of the jalapeno mignonette was, in my opinion, a necessity.
Out next the octopus, the dish was well crafted and balanced. A tomato sauce, fluffy potatoes and the octopus cooked perfectly, added capers and lemon brought a new level to the dish as well. While the dish is no longer on the menu I would highly recommend trying it if it comes back.
The fried chicken was up next, and despite the fact I love fried chicken, I found this particular dish to be lacking any defining flavour, the chicken while crispy didn’t offer any sort of flavourful crumbing and the mayo was good but still incomplete in terms of a dipping sauce.
The scallops were out next and the dish was expertly crafted; veal sweetbreads in lieu of pork, mushrooms, mushy squash and some pasta thrown in. the flavours and textures all worked together well and while the dish was great the scallops were overcooked and brought the dish down and made them unenjoyable.
Last out was the short rib served with a broccoli puree, potatoes, mushrooms and a peppercorn jus.
The dish was presented really well; the short rib braised to perfection, a nice brown on the exterior with a pink interior; served cut open it showcased the marbling and was extremely tender. The puree was flavoured well and had a lovely creaminess while the jus was a great accompaniment.
The server we had very easily sold me on their apple fritter dessert, which unfortunately is no longer on the menu, it was fried apples dusted in cinnamon sugar served with lemon curds, pistachios and either whipped cream or semifreddo.
Definitely worth ordering and a stellar variety of flavours which had me uncharacteristically finishing the plate.
AnnaLena is definitely worth checking out if you have the chance while you’re in town.