AnnaLena – Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC

AnnaLena
Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC
http://www.annalena.ca/

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

AnnaLena Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Forage – West End, Vancouver, BC

Forage
West End, Vancouver, BC
http://www.foragevancouver.com/

I was after a good brunch in BC one weekend and I happened upon an article describing he brunch on offer at forage.
I enlisted a friend to help me order as much as possible on the menu and after careful deliberation we settled on the following: The double fried pork chop sandwich, the corned bison hash and the spiced lentils.

Moving out of the comfort zone we were playing it dangerous with the bison hash which was paired with kale, house-made sauerkraut along with an IPA mustard hollandaise as well as the spiced lentils which was served in skillet with merguez sausage, poached eggs, spring peas, pea tips, mint yogurt and toast.

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They all came out together and looked amazing. The first thing I noticed was that the eggs were cooked perfectly on every dish.

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I started with the pork chop sandwich, done very classically; almost too much so, the sandwich lacked any defining flavours and could have done with more moisture, and the bread along with the double fried chop were quite dry.
This was definitely my least favourite dish.

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I went with the hash next and was not disappointed, the flavours all complimenting each other and each ingredient accenting different textures. The egg yolk spilled into the hash and added an extra creamy depth to it. This dish was not as heavy as I was expecting it to be; the potatoes and hash were light and lean and while full of flavour not leaving you feeling heavy and unhealthy.

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Lastly the lentils; I was most skeptical about this dish; I wasn’t sure how well they would put everything together but boy was I wrong. The dish was superb, the flavours, creamy textures of the lentils, sausage and the perfectly poached eggs worked wonders with their sourdough toast.

If I’m ever in Vancouver and looking for a great brunch I will definitely making another trip to forage.

Forage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato