Royal Dinette was one of our two $40 picks this dine out season. In 2016 they were voted “Best New Restaurant” in Vancouver Magazine and also “Best New Restaurant in Canada” in enRoute Magazine, so that sounds promising right?!
I really liked the ambiance of Royal Dinette…they had a really warm glow and a very inviting atmosphere. On the other side of the restaurant was this cozy kind of alcove that looked completely different from this open-kitchen concept side.
Service was a bit odd…it took quite a while after seating for someone to come take our drink orders. By the time he did come around, we didn’t want to wait for him to come around again to place our food orders so we told him we were ready. He asked if we wanted the drinks with the food or beforehand, we said to have them first. But alas the appetizer course came quite quickly and the drinks…not so much. I digress…
I ordered a Dr. Greenthumb ($13) as the combination of Lemongrass Vodka, Lillet, Green Chartreuse, green tea, lemon balm, and pressed lime sounded refreshing. Had there been a more prominent green tea flavor, this would’ve been perfect. Nonetheless a nice mellow drink to accompany the meal.
I’m a sucker for squid (many of my dine out menu choices are based on whether they had squid on the menu) so ordering the Glazed Humboldt Squid was a no brainer. I was very intrigued by the Asian flavors of Nahm Jim, Thai Pesto, Aromatic Herbs with Kohlrabi and this did not disappoint.
There were a good amount of squid slices glazed with Nahm Jim and grilled. The aromatic herb (thai basil, cilantro, mint, fried shallots) “salad” was also delicious and had nice texture. I was very happy with this.
Our second appy was the Wagyu Beef Tartare mixed with garlic scape, on top of parmesan foam and served with smoked parmesan and grilled bread.
The plating of this tartare was quite different from what I’m used to in that usually the tartare is shaped into a flat disk shape or in a bowl. It was quite interesting. Taste-wise, I found the tartare too tart and the parmesan foam overpowering, so it basically masked any natural flavor the wagyu beef had. The mustard seed paste was also overpowering with horseradish. Out of the two appies I much preferred the humboldt squid.
AngryRussian’s entree was the Ling Cod and it was beautiful plated with potato gnocchi, heirloom carrot, caramelized buttermilk and fronds of dill. The gnocchi was wonderfully chewy and might’ve been made from yams (they had an orange hue) and the dill and buttermilk sauce matched perfectly with the ling cod, which unfortunately I found to be too well done for me.
Our other entree was the Kasu Marinated Pork Loin with fermented barley grits in XO sauce (a famous Asian-Cantonese condiment usually made of dried shrimp/fish, scallops, cooked with chili peppers, onions, and garlic), with mushrooms.
When the dish arrived I couldn’t believe the ratio of pork to the rest of the dish…I was very disappointed with the 5-6 small bite-sized pieces of delicious, fatty pork on a plateful of barley and pea shoots. I couldn’t help but feel ripped-off as the pork loin was supposed to be the star of the dish, not the barley grits.
The grits themselves were nice and chewy, but had a different “xo” flavor than what I’m used to as in this was completely different. What remained the same though was the saltiness…I found it a bit much as I had more mouthfuls.
When I saw Celeriac Mousse on Royal Dinette’s Dine Out menu I knew I had to have it. It sounded so different from anything I’ve ever tasted and I was very excited to find out what a celery-based dessert would taste like.
The celeriac mousse was topped with celery sorbet, candied walnut, chestnut, and apple jelly. Interestingly enough the mousse itself was very mildly celeriac, but the sorbet was more pungent but not overbearingly so. The candied nuts and especially the apple jelly tempered the celery flavor extremely well. I enjoyed this innovative dessert a lot.
AngryRussian picked the Bosc Pear Tart for our other dessert. The tart had a pumpkin seed frangipane filling topped with pear slices, and fig leaf “ice cream” on the side. I say “ice cream” because it did not taste like ice cream at all. That cloud was more mousse like and it wasn’t even cold…and maintained its shape in room temperature. It was also very mild tasting but I find that to always be the case with anything fig-flavored or scented…I don’t find fig to have a very distinct flavor actually.
As for the pear slices, they were spongey and dry and lacked any pear aromas or flavor, and as expected I did not enjoy the frangipane but that’s a personal preference of course. AngryRussian enjoyed the tart and had no complaints.
I have to say I was quite disappointed with my experience at Royal Dinette. The food was very hit and miss. The items that I enjoyed I REALLY liked, and the rest I just really didn’t care for. That’s too bad.