Happy New Year! With 2017 now upon us, it’s time for the annual ritual of devising resolutions that we can, hopefully, achieve. I sat down in the beginning of the year and reaffirmed my usual goals: be more adventurous, spend more time with loved ones, and slow down and appreciate what I have.
When it came to food, however, I tweaked the conventional resolution. This year, I aim to continue to eat high quality meals that are delicious, as well as showcase a diversity of ingredients, techniques, and cultural influences. In short, I want to eat well and joyfully! As a bonus, I also can meet my other goals in the process.
Given the abundance of new and unique restaurants in Richmond, eating well is an extremely easy proposition. For those looking for novel eating adventures for 2017, here are four new restaurants to put on your Richmond dining calendar ASAP.
One of the highly anticipated recent openings is that of Urban Jamaica (230-12240 Second Avenue), in the heart of picturesque Steveston. The room itself is sleek, with a grey colour palette and Jamaican art to add a visual pop to the space. This family-owned establishment offers the kind of welcome that you’d expect from eating at home. Service is unfailingly warm and friendly, as staff guide you through the authentic Jamaican options on their menu. Expect comfort food to the max. The homemade patties (chicken, beef, and veggie) are a must, as are the fried dumplings and samosas (chicken, beef, and veggie).
On a chilly day, order the hearty oxtail stew or the rich goat curry. Or, go for the oven baked jerk chicken. Most mains are served with rice and peas (or plain rice), and veggies.
Also highly recommended is a traditional specialty, ackee (the national fruit of Jamaica) and salt fish, sautéed with onion, bell peppers, and fresh herbs.
Pair your meal with ginger beer or Red Stripe Jamaican pale lager.
Bánh Mì Très Bon
The name of this new eatery, Bánh Mì Très Bon (1840-4720 McClelland Road), perfectly embodies the restaurant’s philosophy, which marries top notch Vietnamese cuisine with a French aesthetic. The interior is small but whimsical, featuring elegant armchairs, hanging paper lanterns, small framed pictures, and a wall adorned with shelves that display both Vietnamese and French books.
The bánh mì are, indeed, très bon, with a focus on fresh, high quality ingredients and beautiful plating. The many selections include bánh mì with pork meatballs; grilled tofu, eggplant, and portobello mushroom; and seasoned pork belly with Vietnamese ham.
The menu also offers bo kho (beef stew); pho with beef tenderloin and beef meatballs; refreshing salads such as a pomelo shrimp salad; and appetizers, like spring rolls.
End your meal with green tea passion fruit mousse or macarons since Bánh Mì Très Bon also functions as a tea room, with a tempting selection of pastries. Afternoon tea is available (book 24 hours in advance).
Shu Tao Hot Pot
The number of excellent Chinese hot pot options in Richmond keeps on growing, to the delight of all hot pot devotees. Shu Tao Hot Pot (140-5960 Minoru Boulevard) is one of the most recent additions, with an impressive modern interior, complete with Chinese design accents and furniture. The imposing traditional wooden doors, with brass lion knockers, at the entrance of the restaurant are particularly striking.
This fairly high-end hot pot experience is extensive, with both individual and larger two-soup pots available.
After selecting from roughly ten soup choices, including butter spicy soup, duck soup with pickled radish, and pumpkin soup, move onto the seemingly endless add-ins that are possible. They showcase a host of premium ingredients, like AAA Angus short ribs, sliced kurobuta pork, and lobster sashimi. Other selections include beef tripe, enoki mushrooms, kelp, winter melon, squid balls, tofu skin, sliced pork belly, and udon. You can also opt to have access to the self-serve sauce bar in order to amp up the flavours in your bowl.
OSUM! Kitchen + Lab
Steveston is also now home to the very fun, playful, and tasty OSUM! Kitchen + Lab (125-3531 Bayview Street). The concept is unique: fusion eats emerging from a kitchen lab committed to experimenting with new and inventive culinary creations and combinations. All items on the menu are handcrafted, from their noodles to their fluffy bao. The menu is divided into three sections, with the first section focusing on the Baogers, which are baos with a Western burger twist.
The chicken version, for example, is stuffed with grilled cheesy chicken, cucumbers, cilantro, crunchy cheese puffs, and Korean sweet spicy sauce. In addition, there are a variety of options featuring their handmade thick noodles, like one with braised beef brisket, bean sprouts, cucumbers, pickled greens, crushed peanuts, scallions, and BBQ beef sauce.
Our suggestion? Order a MoNoodle dish two days in advance (trust me – it’s worth it). Basically, MoNoodle consists of one single broad noodle over 1 metre long. A popular dish is the egg MoNoodle with mussels, shrimp, OSUM meatball, cucumbers, bean sprouts, cilantro, and signature XO sauce.
For a last course, sip cinnamon almond cha with a sweet Baoger that comes with nutella, crushed peanuts, raw premium almond flakes, and marshmallows.
Based on these four restaurants, 2017 promises to be an OSUM-ly lip-smacking year of eating in Richmond. I can’t wait to see what other new dining adventures the next twelve months have to offer!