Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Favorite: Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

What do you think of Chinese fare?
Do you automatically think of chicken chow-mein and sweet and sour pork, or how about an over the top 8 course dinner at a chandelier-filled restaurant, exclusively welcoming the richer-than-rich folk?  Well, you're not alone as I too had pre-conceived ideas of Chinese fare which included either of the afore-mentioned experiences.
Then all those past experiences are completely forgotten once you are introduced to Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, this restaurant still stays true to it's Sichuan-chinese/trendy Shanghai routes however by putting a spin on old classic asian dishes such as fried rice and crisp pork-belly while creating a restaurant environment that is cozy, unpretentious yet beautiful, this restaurant delivers a near perfect dining experience.
Our very generous friends treated us to this restaurant for our anniversary dinner celebration and we couldn't stop raving about it then and even now my mouth waters thinking about some of the dishes and cocktails we all generously imbibed in last Sunday evening.

I can't recommend the family dining table in the back enough.  It was created to encourage a warm truly asian-inspired family dining experience and it really did.  Seating between 8 - 12 people, the table comes with a $35 tasting menu that definitely fills many hungry appetites fully.  The menu is chosen by the chef and this experience really demonstrated why sometimes we should all give up control to the professionals so that a truly perfect pairing of menu items can be enjoyed.  Plus, this is the only table that will take reservations.
Yes, the definite hit of the night was their Kick A** Fried Rice.  When a multitude of personalities, food allergies and food lovers get together, it can be difficult to please everyone however this dish definitely solved that problem for us.  It's a truly authentic fried rice dish however I tasted hints of cinnamon and generous hits of basil, which did not overwhelm rather brought out the flavours of the succulent duck breast.
The Mantou (a.k.a chinese steam buns) had the perfect amount of hoisin-type flavoured pork surrounded by a pillowy soft bun that just melted in our mouths when we bit into it.  When topped off with green onions and chopped peanuts, it was the perfect blend of chewy, savoury and crunchy.

To clean our palates yet keep things exciting, we had the Sichuan Cucumbers in a spicy viniagrette sauce.  Although the cucumbers had been marinated they weren't overly soft, in fact with the right amount of kick from the vinegar along with a red pepper spice, it cleaned up quite nicely after overindulging in the above-mentioned richer items.

We now come to one of my favorite dishes of the night, it was the Shan Tofu or Bao Bei's own version of chickpea tofu. Silky and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside, perfectly coated on the outside with a very thin layer of crispiness that enhanced the combo of a potentially bland chickpea with overly earthy mushrooms, this dish only brought out the best in all those ingredients.

Finally, we mustn't forget the talented crew behind the cocktail bar, creating true apothecary drinks that again combine diverse ingredients to create exciting twists to old-fashioned classics.  I had the Chino Margarita and I highly recommend you do as well! 
And if you are still unsure, make sure to check out the NY Times, the Globe and Mail and the LA Times.  From east-coast to west-coast everyone is raving about Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie and once you visit this restaurant, you too will understand why.
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
163 Keefer Street
Vancouver, B.C.
tel:  (604) 688.0876

No comments:

Post a Comment