Dishcrawl Vancouver invited me to their event focused on West End restaurants. We went to 4 different restaurants in one night, but the catch is that we only knew the first location but the other 3 are a mystery. They try to showcase the best restaurants in this area within walking distance of each other.
There was about 25 people on this particular tour and we headed to Ap Gu Jung, Hida Takayama Ramen, Forage and Capstone Tea & Fondue.
Ap Gu Jung
AP Gu Jung was our first stop. It’s a Korean restaurant located on Robson Street. This place has been here forever. I remember coming here in high school.
The interior has 2 floors and kinda looks like a western pub rather than a korean restaurant because of the playoffs playing on the big screen, jerseys, and a drum kit.
We started off with 4 dishes of banchan, which are complimentary side dishes. There is seaweed, kimchi, broccoli, and potatoes.
On the plate they sampled:
- Seafood Pancake
- Kimchi Pancake
- Chicken Skewers
- Pork on Fire
- Traditional Beef BBQ
For people with dietary restrictions, they got some different items. The portions here were pretty good since there were 3 more restaurants to go to. A lot of people couldn’t finish in time, so they did have to pack it to go. We definitely needed more than 40 minutes here.
Hida Takayama Ramen
Hida Takayama Ramen is located inside the Robson Public Market on the 2nd floor. I thought I went to all the ramen places in town, but I was wrong. This ramen joint is very hidden. The prices seem quite fair as it is all under $10.
The owner – Mike Asaoka is very charismatic about the ramen he makes and uses the best ingredients.
Hida Chuka Ramen was one of my favorites. It was simple and representative of some ramen you would find in Japan. The broth is chicken based and flavoured with soy sauce.
White Sesame Ramen was very rich and thick . We ate everything else, but it was hard to drink the broth.
Sweet and Spicy Ramen was ok, but not one of my favorites.
I didn’t fall in love with any of the particular ramen, but I found it very interesting how if you come here on a normal day, the price of the small and the large are EXACTLY the SAME prices. You can get huge bowl of noodles for about $7.
Our third stop of the night is Forage. I was quite excited about this place because they do have some killer food.
We were welcomed by Chef Wittaker who took us through the farm-to-table concept at forage and let us know what we would be eating.
Nettle gnocchi and brown butter is served in a cast iron pan. The texture of the gnocchi were like little pillows of mashed potatoes.
Foraged and cultivated mushrooms is topped with Okanagan goat cheese and comes with grilled caraway rye bread. I have an addiction for mushrooms, so I polished this dish. Yum Yum!
The Flatbread has pancetta, morel mushrooms, onion béchamel, and Jersey blue cheese. It was thin, crispy and very enjoyable.
Capstone Tea & Fondue
I haven’t been back to Captone in a few years after a bad experience. It’s been a few years and that experience has always stuck in my mind. It was good to see that they rebranded and hopefully this dining experience would be good.
We were given small personal pots of Dark Chocolate Fondue and some assorted items for dipping.
In the bowl were fruit, banana bread, cheesecake, cookies, macrons, and ice cream balls. Don’t leave the ice cream balls till the very end since they will melt. With the hot weather in Vancouver, its best to just gobble them up right away.
It was a nice end of the meal.
By the end of the night, we were all full and ready to have food coma. This is my second Dishcrawl and I still have the same thoughts about these types of events. It’s not an event for everyone. $60 is a little bit steep if you’re a picky eater. Even though they do accomodate dietary restrictions, you may not like certain types of cuisines.
On the bright side, you do get to explore 4 restaurants in one night and are great for indecisive people. Do look out for coupon codes since there are a few floating around for each Dishcrawl tour.
To check out DishCrawl Vancouver: www.dishcrawl.com/vancouver/