If you’re looking for delicious oysters, unique tapas and flavourful East-meets-West cuisine, then Kamei Baru is a must on your list of favourite restaurants. Kamei Baru, another branch of the Kamei Group, is currently in their soft opening, so their current menu is still in alteration mode. Although the menu isn’t set yet, the items I tried were absolutely delicious and I will definitely be back. Not only were the dishes exquisite, but the service was also terrific. With many unique dishes and tapas, the menu also included some familiar items, such as the Mango Paradise Roll and the Volcano Roll that have become renowned at Kamei Royale and Ebisu.
Kamei Baru has been thoughtfully designed with unique vintage maritime decorations, as well as vintage Japanese images that transport you to another time period.
Adorned with flatscreen TVs and a full bar, Kamei Baru is an excellent spot for drinks, tapas and watching sports with friends.
A fantastic atmosphere, excellent bar and service that goes above and beyond are just the tip of the iceberg. What really makes Kamei Baru stand out is their deliciously unique tapas and main courses.
Goma Ae is a popular appetizer in Japan consisting of steamed spinach with a delicious sesame soy dressing. Despite the simplicity of this appetizer, it is usually overly salty and drenched in dressing. Kamei Baru’s Goma Ae was perfection, being lightly dressed allowing us to taste the natural flavours of the spinach accentuated by the nuttiness of the sesame seeds. The presentation was enough to cause me to gawk at its beauty for a second longer than necessary.
Kamei Royale offers several different salads which are always a pleasant accompaniment with any meal. Shown above is their Garden Salad with fresh seasonal greens and anchovy dressing. It was very delicious and refreshing.
The calamari tofu consists of deep fried tofu topped with grated radish, deep fried calamari and fresh onion on top of a soy ginger gravy. It was a delicious combination of flavours and textures. The grated radish went very well with the dish because it added a refreshing taste alongside the heaviness of the deep fried tofu and calamari.
Chicken Loco Moco
The Chicken Loco Moco is as crazy good as it sounds. It consists of a bed of soft rice topped with teriyaki chicken, panfried egg, seasonal greens and a drizzle of mayo. The chicken was sauteed to perfection and every bite was deliciously smothered with egg yolk and the savoury teriyaki gravy.
Loco Moco Hamburg Steak
This dish was by far one of my favourites at Kamei Baru. This sort of hamburg steak is very popular in Japan. A seared seasoned beef patty tops fluffy white rice, fresh greens and tomatoes and topped with a pan fried egg and mayo drizzle. When I say beef patty, I do not mean any beef patty. Kamei Baru specially seasons their beef patty for a tender flavourful combination that can’t compare with any hamburger you’ve ever had. It’s so tender that no knife is required, just dig in and swoop up some rice for a flavour juggernaut explosion in your mouth.
This is a very unique dish that can also be found in Japan. It consists of spicy chili beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sprouts, cheese, and rice in a steaming stone bowl. When the dish is brought to your table the server will use two spoons to chop and mix all of the ingredients together allowing us to enjoy each ingredient with every savoury bite.
The Baru Paella is one of many fusion signature dishes at Kamei Baru. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with shrimp, squid, bell pepper, fresh tomato, mussel and pork sausage. It was absolutely delicious and spiced very nicely. The rice in the paella and all the dishes we ordered was perfectly cooked. Rice may not seem like a big deal, but when it’s undercooked it can really screw up a great meal. Kamei Baru cooks their rice thoroughly allowing the rice to easily complement the other flavours and textures. The seafood is very fresh, celebrating the fresh seafood that Vancouver has to offer and that the Kamei Group prides itself in serving. I must say that I am now a fan of paella, and will definitely be ordering this the next time I visit.
Tentative soft opening menu
Address: 990 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z0A4
Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays
Happy hours: 3 to 5 p.m., weekdays
Dinner: 5 p.m. to late
Written by Tiffany Kaczmarczyk, contributor to Vancity Buzz. Connect with Tiffany on Twitter at @tiffykitty13.