On a cool September Sunday, we decided to check out Blossom.
It’s a new chinese / asian fusion restaurant in downtown on the corner of Bute and Robson, on the second floor.
We made reservations on OpenTable, they weren’t required, the restaurant was not that busy.
The lunch menu (didn’t see the dinner menu) consists of mostly chinese based dishes with unusual twists in the ingredients used. Steam bao buns colored with squid ink to make them black, or tiny balsamic vinegar pearls instead of fish roe. Plus they seem to have a fairly expansive bar menu for those that like to imbibe.
The space is gorgeous. It’s bright, airy, modern and highly instagrammable
Our meal started with the Crab Meat Fried Udon, Flying Fish Roe, Spring Onion (蟹肉炒乌冬面)
This is udon noodles (thick japanese wheat noodles) stir fried with crab meat, fish roe, scallions and some shanghai bakchoy. These were good noodles. They were (for lack of a better term) al-dente, savory, and properly seasoned. The vegetables were cooked to the right doneness (a little bit of some toothfulness). Overall this was a good noodle dish, but I think it could have used one more element, perhaps some slices of mushrooms or something to add another texture and some “umami”.
Hot & Sour Soup Dumpling (酸辣小笼包)
This was a twist on the familiar xiaolongbao (shanghainese steamed soup buns). A classic xiaolongbao is seasoned minced pork with aspic, stuffed in a thin wheat flour wrapper, cooked in a steamer basket until the pork filling is cooked through, and the aspic turns into a soup. It’s typically served with a side dish of black vinegar as a dipping sauce. Here, the vinegar is mixed into the aspic, so it becomes part of the soupy broth inside the bun. And the bun is mixed with mixed with a color agent like squid ink or carrot juice to provide the wrapper with a vibrant color tone. These were quite good soup buns. The wrappers were thin and tender, and the filling was meaty and slightly tangy from the black vinegar.
Black Bean Free Range Chicken Siu Mai, Romesco, Balsamic Pearl (豆豉鸡球烧卖)
This is a variation on the classic cantonese dimsum staple, sui mai. The classic is a seasoned minced pork stuffed in a thin wheat flour wrapper, and steamed. Sometimes the pork is combined with shrimp, or dried mushrooms, and sometimes it’s topped with fish roe. Here, instead of pork, it’s minced chicken mixed with fermented black bean. And instead of fish roe, it’s topped with tiny orange pearls of balsamic vinegar. What was called romesco sauce isn’t what I think of as romesco. Romesco is a spanish tomato sauce mixed with garlic, peppers and ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pinenuts, etc). I didn’t detect anything resembling nuts in there, if it was there, there wasn’t much. To me it tasted like a tangy tomato and pepper sauce. It’s not bad, just not what I was expecting. That said, the chicken sui mai, was actually pretty good. It was well prepared, properly seasoned, and had a good toothsome bite. The balsamic pearls provide some nice acidic offset to the meaty taste of the chicken.
Mango Pomelo Soup Cheesecake (杨枝甘露芝士蛋糕)
The name is a bit confusing, perhaps a bad translation, but what this is, is a cheesecake on a thin graham cracker crust, topped with a puree made from mangos and threads of pomelo. I rather liked this. The cheesecake was creamy and light with a mild cream cheese flavor, and the pureed mangoes and pomelo provide some sweetness and tang.
The servers were all very friendly and pleasant (I would equate this to western style service, in contrast to the service from most chinese restaurants (that is characteristically minimal, abrupt and at best efficient).
Overall, I like the taste of the food, the well executed dishes, the fabulous presentation, and genial service. But it was a little expensive due to small portion sizes,
I love the space, it’s big bright, airy, modern and comfortable. There’s a large and comfortable bar area and a small patio for those that wish to celebrate a little with their meal.