I impulsed and bought a groupon type deal for a new southeast asian place in Kitsilano called Spoon Kitchen. It’s pretty easy to miss if you drive by, it’s partially underground, located under the TD bank on Fourth Ave (near Cypress Street).
Upon arrival, we were asked if we had reservations (we didn’t) but there was plenty of room and we were seated immediately at a table near the bar. The interior is very sleek and modern with lots of black and soft lighting. Without looking at the menu, there’s not much that hints at the cuisine.
While the menu does offer fare that spans southeast asian, the emphasis appears to be Malaysian/Singaporean fare.
We started with the appetizer sampler, which came out in two parts.
The first part was a papaya salad
This is slices of fresh pineapple, ripe papaya, tomatoes, and torn greens, served with a lime dressing, topped with crushed roasted peanuts, fried shallots and grated coconut. This is a decidedly fusion dish, and it’s good. The fruits and vegetables were fresh and crisp, the dressing was tart, there was some sweetness from the pineapple and papaya, and some savoriness from the fried shallots.
The second part of appetizer sampler was a platter consisting of
roti canai with coconut curry dipping sauce
breaded deep-fried squid with a sweet chili dipping sauce
vegetable spring rolls
chicken satay with a peanut sauce
The roti was pretty good, a little crisper and a little less soft and flakey than other Malaysian places. The coconut curry dipping sauce was very good, a nice balance between the sweet rich coconut and the spicy earthiness of the curry spices.
The deep-fried squid was pretty good. Nice crispness in the batter, and the squid very tender (tenderized?). The accompanying chili dipping sauce was pretty powerful. Not so much in terms of spicyness, but the sweet/sour balance was tipped in favor of sour.
The spring rolls were good. Nice crispiness. The fillings of matchstick onions, carrots, celery and snow peas were done just right.
I loved the chicken satay. They were marinated in coconut milk and spices, and grilled to the right doneness (cooked through, without being overcooked and dry). The peanut dipping sauce was fabulous. The peanut flavors and the red curry and coconut milk balanced each other out.
We also ordered carmelized ginger black cod
This is a large fish steak of black cod, dredged in seasoned starch (probably tapioca starch), and deep fried to a light crispy brown, topped with a thick sweet rich sauce of black soy, rice wine, ginger, shallots and garlic served over a garnish of green lettuce. This is a wonderful dish. The fish is flaky and delicate, with some nice crispyness around the edges. The sauce is both salty and sweet, with an aroma from the garlic, ginger, onions and shallots.
We followed up with the deep-fried banana with ice cream for dessert.
This is a ripe banana, split in half, battered and deep-fried to a light golden brown, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and topped with a thin caramel sauce and crushed roasted peanuts.
The servers were quite pleasant and attentive (more so that most asian restaurants).
The room is very clean and comfortable, and a little on the dimly lit side.
I returned to Spoon Kitchen for lunch. This time, ordering the Mee Goreng.
This is soft yellow egg noodles, stir-fried with prawns, beef, tofu, bean sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage and (what appeared to be) asparagus. It’s well seasoned with sweet thick soy and something that hinted of shrimp (not sure if it’s shrimp paste, or shrimp stock), almost too much so…. it’s a little overpowering. But still a good dish.