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

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Vlado’s – Richmond, VIC

Vlado’s
Richmond, VIC
http://www.vlados.com.au/

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For what would be my last steak in Melbourne, Vlado’s seemed fitting; it’s an iconic venue, housed in a brick building on Bridge St in Richmond with a menu that hasn’t changed since the beginning, which now comes to over 50 years.

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We started the night with the appetizer, their house made sausage, char grilled, the sausage was full of flavour with just the right amount of fat, my favourite thing about it being the course grind they’d used, setting it apart from your average sausage.

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Next out was the entrée, a meat platter to share, grilled and seasoned pieces of calf liver, hamburger patties and pork neck as well as unseasoned pieces of eye fillet.

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Everything grilled to perfection, and charred just enough to enhance the flavour but not too much to be overpowering.
My personal favourite on the plate was the pork neck, seasoned and grilled to heavenly perfection.

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Finally the main event, we had the choice between an eye fillet, rump or porterhouse with the option to upgrade to a wagyu 8+ porterhouse.

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Naturally I upgraded and ordered the wagyu, I decided to let the man pick what he would cook it to, he said it would come out between medium rare and rare.

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The steaks arrived and they were heavily charred and smelled amazing.

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The cooking was great; I found it to be just enough to have melted the fat into the meat but not enough to make the steak grainy or tough.
The char, salt, fat and Vlado’s house mustard all went perfectly together and married for a great eating experience.
There weren’t too many downsides to the steak but it was not as euphoric as I had heard it to be.

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After the steak we came to the last course, a strawberry and cream crepe, no nonsense, sweet ending to the night.

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How well it’s cooked – 9.4

Flavour – 9.5

Tenderness – 8.3

Overall – 9.1

 

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