We were all invited to check out VanVan Izakaya, located on Robson Street near Jervis street. In Vancouver, we’re lucky to have such a great selection of izakayas, and as much as I love my Guus and Suikas, it’s always interesting to try new ones. What was interesting was the clientele that walked in during our time there – mostly Japanese, must be a good sign right?
Disclaimer: Please note we were invited by Chinesebites and our meal was paid for by the restaurant, however all opinions are my own.
The Ebi-Mayo is a nice size, and breaded well.
Beef tataki ($8.50)
The beef tataki is served with garlic chips, green onion, onion, radish and ground pepper. I found the slices to be a little thicker than I’m used to. It had a nice pang to it with the onion and garlic chips.
Chicken Van Van ($7.80)
Served with a sweet and sour and tartar sauce, the breaded chicken was good. It was a little on the dry side on the inside for me.
Curry Poutine ($8.80)
French fries served with curry and cheese. I love curry and I love poutine, together (with cheese!) might be fantastical, but I think it would’ve been better if the curry poutine had other items in it – maybe like chunks of chicken or carrots maybe to make it a little heartier.
Nasu Dengaku ($6.80) – baked eggplant
This grilled eggplant is served two ways: one with tomato and cheese and the other with miso sauce. I liked the duality of the dish and the fact they weren’t completely different in terms of flavour – they were both a bit more on the sweeter side so you still get a complimentary taste when having either side.
I’m not a huge fan of cauliflower, but deep fried cauliflower (deep fried anything for that matter) always gets me. I enjoyed it here, especially with the lemon squeezed on top.
BBQ Pork Cheek served with a Japanese Citrus Sauce. This is another dish I enjoyed, it was nice and tender with the citrus sauce being more subtle than anything. No need to overcomplicate the dish!
Assorted Sashimi (Albacore tuna, scallop, atlantic salmon)
Sashimi was great. My only gripe was my scallop had a bit of the shell on it.
Spicy Pork Intestines ($7.80)
I’m not going to lie, I am not a big fan of innards. I’ll enjoy some delicious tripe here and there, but all in all, I never crave for it. I’m assuming if you love intestines, you’ll love this dish, but to me, the taste was a little off putting. So if you’re feeling a bit adventurous (like I was at the time), you may not enjoy it.
Grilled squid is so good! One of my favourite dishes of the night – I’ve been having a lot of grilled squid lately, there is just something so satisfying with the texture and taste of it.
Salmon Yukke ($7.80)
This dish is chopped salmon with garlic sauce. I liked the set up of this dish and it was an interesting way to enjoy salmon. You scoop it up with the spoon they provide you and place it into the seaweed, almost like if you were rolling a cigar!
Russian Roulette Takoyaki ($5.80)
This is a fun dish that’s great to have if you’re with a big group. One takoyaki has the biggest wad of wasabi in it – I didn’t get it, but I did get to try a little bit of the wasabi inside and it is potent!
Remember what I said about innards earlier? This dish was actually pretty good. The way they sliced the tongue made it easy to eat and enjoy with a bit of the relish on top.
Matcha Tonyu Pudding ($4.80)
If you’re a big fan of Matcha, you’ll want to order this for dessert. It was a nice refreshing dessert.
Matcha Ice Cream ($4) and Black Sesame Ice Cream ($4)
The ice creams were nice and satisfying and served with a little bit of red bean (which I love).