Breakdown: Succulent chicken, good food.
A special event calls for a special dinner with a special setting yeah?
Whats not to love about a restaurant that floods you with romance the moment you walk in? From the gorgeous blue floral floor tiling, to the grey-tinted marble for the kitchen bar, the meticulous details came together to really set the mood for loooooove in that restaurant. Coincidentally,my dimsum partner that night was the right candidate for this, else it’ll be awkwarddddd. well okay, not really, i mean the place could be for many occasions but it really is casual fancyish. I can’t help but admire every corner of the beautiful interior. There were nooks here and there for more private chats, such as these 2 seats right at the corner of the kitchen bar, separated from other guests, yet still connected within visual radius; not to be forgotten. And there was another set of private seats that were thoughtfully placed next to a window opening, creating a very interesting arrangement and perspective for the seated guests. More than a party for 2? Well, there were plenty of raised platforms with long party tables, creating an open, yet private dining experience for larger groups. Before I even tasted any food, I was already fascinated by the play of materials and spacial arrangement. Also, the kitchen is an open concept, where you can clearly see the flaming red rotisserie turning and tenderly cooking rows and rows of whole chickens..
Moving on to about the actual food…
Prior to coming here, I was reading reviews on other foodie’s critique on the dishes and I gotta say, I thought some of them were quite harsh, especially after trying the menu. Before that, since most were claiming that the chicken was like supermarket bought, I didnt have my hopes up.
The menu was a decent size, with a main focus on the restaurant’s famous roasted chicken. Of course then, we needed to try it and lucky for us, the special that night was a decent portioned meat sample platter that had the roasted chicken, side ribs, pork belly, and some sides like cornbread and coleslaw. No brainer, we ordered that one. My favourite type of dish, you get to sample everything!
At first look, I wasn’t quite impressed with the plating style. It felt too casual and too much like I was getting dishes from a neighbourhood barbeque joint. Other than that, I felt that the dish itself was decent. I’d like to emphasize that the chicken was NOT like a supermarket quality, and I would know because I have tested all roasted chickens available at supermarkets (superstore, saveons, safeway, and costco, which may I say is the best in that category). Chicken was roasted just right, not too dry or drenched in its fat. The quality of the meat was wonderful since other budget friendly chickens are quite high in fat content, naturally softening the meat up so you wont feel that ‘dryness’. The flavourful skin attached had a beautiful golden glow with just the right amount of seasoning.
The ribs were probably my favourite next to the chicken. The meat came off the bone easily without a fuss. Full of smokey sweet barbeque flavour in combination with the tender moist meat, my mouth was having a barbeque explosion. I must say, it was a very standard barbeque taste. There wasn’t any distinctive ‘specialty’ in it. That being said though, it was a rib done right.
The final main piece of the dish was the fatty pork belly, that’s usually a favourite of my dimsum partner’s. However this one didn’t hit either him or me with any delightness. The pork fat layer occupied most of the portion of piece, and to our further dismay (odd, my language is suddenly so formal), the skin was WAY TOO TOUGH. We tried sawing it endlessly with our knives and we tried ripping it with our teeth like some hungry mad man. N O T H I N G. It didn’t budge at all. We decided to throw in the towel since it probably wouldn’t have digested properly in our stomachs. To sum up, it was a miss.
EDIT: oops, i forgot that there was another piece in the meat sampler, a brisket (thanks to my dimsum partner for reminding me). The meat was tender, done right. There was a crispy thin exterior that held the juices in with a right amount of fat. Adding the barbeque sauce really elevated the meat too.
While we were being like carnivorous dinosaurs on the set of jurassic park, this vegetarian dish was presented at our table (oxymoron moment). Again, wasn’t impressed with the plating. Looked plain messy. Taste wise it was pretty good. The mustard dressing was a great choice to pair with the rather natural bitter in taste of the radicchio. The mix also did well with the sweetness of the pear. In my opinion I didn’t think the egg was the smartest choice and it didn’t quite contribute to the dish, it was cooked right but it kind of sat there and hung out. I am also not a fan of creamy salad dressings, but I did enjoy the first few bites of the egg and veggie mix. I passed the rest of the dish and let dimsum partner enjoy all the goodies in the bowl.
Feeling a little dissatisfied and like I didn’t reach my daily veggie intake, I ordered an Albacore Tuna Salad which was the only dish of the night which was both visually and tastefully appealing.
Beautifully done fresh albacore tuna with an incredible bruised red/pink gradient. The tuna was seared to perfection and paired most marvelously with the strong flavoured salad underneath. The mushroom flavours really stood out, with its earthy tones complimented the raw, light flavoured tuna. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish!
To end this dinner, we decided not to finish it off with dessert. The dishes didn’t quite catch our attention, which I think pretty much summarized the dinner dishes.
Nothing was executed poorly, but nothing was mind blowingly memorable. Our tastebuds were doing a waltz, not the can-can. However, I really did love the interior theme and the ambience of the restaurant. I would recommend Homer Street Cafe & Bar for those who prefer safe dishes and flavours. I would also recommend it to those who have a special reason and event to celebrate, but who doesn’t want to break the bank, yet are willing to pay for a mid-range fancy dinner.
Homer St. Cafe and Bar
898 Homer Street, Vancouver, BC