Reflect Social Dining + Lounge

Reflect Social Dining + Lounge was the first dine out I went to this year. I looked into it pretty late and most restaurants were already booked solid, especially since Penguin and I wanted to go during the weekend. I browsed through the endless listings of restaurants and was able to get a reservation at Reflect. Their Dine out menu was offered at $40.

Penguin was over at my house showing me the joys of Game of Thrones earlier that day, as the time of our reservation approached, we got ready and made our way down to the restaurant. Reflect Social Dining + Lounge is located inside Hilton Metrotown.

The lounge was pretty peaceful and quiet. The black granite tables were accented with red candle light. However, I found the the lighting inside the restaurant a little too harsh, I would’ve preferred if the light was a little dimmer and warmer in colour. Service was friendly and attentive.


For starters, I ordered the sake Infused Octopus Carpaccio Salad. The thin slices of octopus were tender, but my favourite component of this dish was the octopus bits that were marinated in a wasabi sauce. There’s also kelp, tobiko and radish on the plate. Everything tasted fresh. I couldn’t find the sake anywhere, but the zing from the wasabi and the citrus notes from the ponzu vinaigrette made this a very appetizing starter.


I got the duo of ½ atlantic lobster thermidor and sesame ahi tuna loin for my entree. The portions were on the smaller side and the flavours were underwhelming. The ahi tuna tasted like roasted sesame and tuna and the lobster thermidor tasted like cooked lobster meat mixed in a cream sauce that’s been placed back in its shell. Everything on this dish lacked sodium and seasoning. The red kuri squash puree did not go well with the rest of this dish and the greens under the lobster were in dire need of some sort of vinaigrette.


Penguin has never been to dine out before, ironically, he decided to order off of the regular menu. He got the 10oz. AAA ribeye steak ($30), which was a very good call because it was delicious. The steak was nicely charred on the surface and remained juicy and tender on the inside. There were also a medley of veggies under the steak, the only thing he didn’t like was the artichokes which had a strange sourness. Unlike my entree, Penguin’s steak was very flavourful and filling and he was quite satisfied with it.


For dessert, I opted for the salted caramel cheesecake. The cheesecake was like a new york style cheesecake with a layer of what tasted like melted Werther’s original candies on top. very rich, smooth and decadent, a tad too sweet for me though. The macaron on the side was also too sweet. I thought it’d be a strawberry flavoured macaron but it was just a plain almond one.


Penguin got the dulce de leche cheesecake ($8.50), which was essentially the same cheesecake as mine but in a different cut with slightly different garnishes. His cheesecake came with a chocolate ganache and mango puree while mine came with strawberry syrup. It was a little too sweet for me, but not for Penguin, who thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reflect Social Dining + Lounge - Hilton Vancouver Metrotown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

+1 604 438 1200
Central Burnaby
Hilton Vancouver Metrotown, 6083 Mckay Avenue, Burnaby

Dinesty Dumpling House

I have heard a lot of about Dinesty Dumpling House so I was estactic to hear that a new location opened up near Metrotown. Mamallama and Totoro wanted to go eat at Dinesty on Monday without me, but upon arrival, they found out that they weren’t open. Luckily for me, Mamallama and Totoro decided to try again with me the next day.

There were plenty of open tables, yet there was a lineup at the door. You could tell that the front of house was severely understaffed. In contrast, the kitchen was like a factory with a thousand people churning out orders, so service was very slow but our food arrived almost instantaneously once we were able to put our order in with the waitress.


Chinese fried donuts wrapped in egg pancake ($3.95): the Chinese fried donuts were soft and doughy. The egg pancake is actually more like an egg crepe and it was topped with a sprinkle of pork floss. This dish lacked seasoning, it needed a sauce to go with it.


Bean curd mushroom roll ($8.50): The bean curd roll was crispy and wasn’t greasy, but again, it lacked seasoning. Apparently this comes with a sweet and sour sauce but the server had forgotten to bring it to our table until a lot later when we had already eaten half of it.


Stewed duck leg in brown sauce ($7.50): The duck meat was a little dry and tough, the  sauce was a little too sweet and the flavour of the sauce did not seep into the duck so the dish was quite bland.


Steamed pork soup dumplings ($7.50): There are 8 soup dumplings in one order. They were bite sized pockets of soupy goodness. The skin wasn’t too thick and the pork was juicy.


Noodle soup with beef ($8.95): The noodle soup had a clear broth that lacked the distinct concentrated braised flavour that this type of beef noodle soup should have. The noodles were a little overcooked and soft, on the otherhand, the beef was tender and flavourful.


Pan-fried radish slice cake ($3.95): There are 3 radish slice cakes in 1 order, though I think it’s more accurate to call them pastries. The warm flaky pastry was filled with julienned daikon and a tiny bit of bacon and dried shrimp for added flavour.

Overall, we were disappointed with Dinesty. Shanghainese food should be very flavourful, however, the dishes we tried were bland. Other than the pork soup dumplings and the pan-fried radish slice cake, everything lacked seasoning. We probably won’t be back any time soon as there are better Shanghainese restaurants in the area.

Dinesty Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

+1 604 439 0009
South Burnaby
4501 Kingsway, Suite 104, Burnaby

Pho Tan

Yesterday was the second day of immersing Penguin in the wonders of animated movie magic. The previous hangout we watched How to Train Your Dragon and Despicable Me. This time we watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Kung Fu Panda. Having discovered that he hasn’t seen most of the popular moving pictures, I couldn’t let him go without showing him some of my favourites. (Yes, I’m a child 🙂 I could probably watch these over and over again and not tire of them. After “Netflix and chill” in the most literal terms, Penguin and I were both hungry, so he suggested we go for Pho before we head off to UBC for badminton drop ins. Or so that was the plan. The gym for badminton was full so we ended up derping around with some ping pong instead.

Pho Tan is a small restaurant, but we went for an early dinner so they had seats for us right away. After briefly skimming over the menu, Penguin got the #7 rare beef pho and I settled for the #8 rare beef and brisket pho (S $7.00).


Our pho came with the standard side of bean sprouts, basil and lime wedge. Our food came literally just minutes after we ordered. The thin slices of brisket had a nice lean to fatty ratio and both cuts of meat were tender and fresh. The noodles were cooked right and the broth was flavourful, It had little to no msg so it didn’t leave me reaching for water. Overall, it was a good bowl of pho, and the small was the perfect portion for me.

Penguin and I took our time and got carried away with conversation, so it took me even longer than usual to finish eating. Curious, I had to ask Penguin whether he was deliberately eating slower so I woudn’t feel awkward because he was eating pretty slow himself. He was obviously pacing himself. Lol. Sorry, Penguin! Shortly after we finished, our waitress had asked us for the table back as the restaurant began to fill up quickly. Having some time to kill before badminton drop ins, we frolicked off to DQ for ice cream, because why not!? We both agreed that there’s always room for dessert. Desserts aren’t even a question. I love hanging out people who share the same thought as me (: <

Pho Tan's Vietnamese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

+1 604 606 0688
2076 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver

IPOH Asian House

Originally I had hangout plans, but they were called off last minute. It’s funny how I never have blog material when I eat out with friends. I either forget to bring my DSLR, can’t take nice photos, or forget about how to describe the food I had because I was too preoccupied with/distracted by my friends and not paying as much attention to my food as I should’ve. As such, the majority of the posts on my blog are with Mamallama and Baby-Paca. Anyway, since I had the day free anyway, I decided to accompany Mamallama to bring her car for an oil change when she asked me to tag along. We dropped the car off and sauntered off to IPOH for brunch.

Something about the place made it looked unfinished, and not from the lack of decor. The atmosphere  was very much like a HK style cafe. Service was brisk and efficient.


Mamallama usually doesn’t have much of a preference when it comes to ordering food, but snake soup’s just one of those preferences. When she saw that it was scribbled on the board of daily specials, she had to get it. The special snake soup (花膠五蛇羹 $6) had lots of stuff in it, there were chicken shreds, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fish maw and snake. The texture and taste of the snake was like a cross between fish and chicken. The thick soup was very flavourful and tasted quite similar to shark fin soup. There was a discernible dried citus peel (果皮) flavour and a mild taste of ginger. I liked that the soup came in little personal servings, most places that have snake soup on the menu only come in large sizes that serve at least 4-6 people or something.


Another daily special that caught our eye was the butter walnut prawns (牛油核桃蝦 $14.80) which we ordered as well. The price was a bit steep for the small portion, but it was well executed. The prawns were crispy on the surface without that thick coating of batter. There were plenty of candied walnuts and the buttery mayo sauce was creamy, savoury and sweet. I could taste a little bit of orange juice in the sauce.


We ordered the beef brisket noodle soup (柱侯牛腩湯河 $8) off the regular menu. It was a big bowl of noodles with lots of bean sprouts. Compared to the previous two items we ordered, this one was a little mild tasting. The beef brisket was tender, it wasn’t bland per say, it was definitely seasoned with salt, but it lacked that typical braised flavour.

Baby-Paca had asked for the details of our brunch and she was exasperated to hear that we had gotten butter walnut prawns because she’s been craving them. I suspect that we may give IPOH another visit for the butter walnut prawns. It was a daily special, so I hope they’ll still have it, or else Baby-Paca’s gonna be in for some disappointment.

IPOH Asian House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

+1 604 251 3322
2128 East Hastings Street, Vancouver


It was Mamallama’s day off and we finally found the time to go for Baby-Paca’s very belated birthday dinner (her birthday’s in November). Baby-Paca loves French food and really wanted to dine at Le Crocodile, but we were informed that they were fully booked for the evening. Disappointed and after much perusing, we settled on Trattoria Burnaby.

We made reservations so we were seated upon arrival. It was rather lively and loud inside the restaurant, I made Baby-Paca repeat herself numerous times while we conversed as I couldn’t hear her. The decor was trendy, and I love the design of the bar. It was in the center of the restaurant, circular in shape, outlined and lit up with polished lights.

Our server didn’t seem particularly friendly or professional. The standard just wasn’t up to what you’d expect from this kind of restaurant. We were brought plates and cutlery that had grease marks on them, and we had to ask twice to be brought a spoon.

As for the food, we ordered a pear and gorgonzola salad and beef carpaccio for appetizers. Everything was served in a timely manner, but it was a little odd that our side of brussel sprouts were served first. Nevertheless, they tasted pretty good.


The brussel sprouts ($7.95) were served with capers, chillies, parmigiano reggiano, and lemon. I like the slight char and crispiness on the surface of the brussel sprouts. The salty brininess of the capers were a nice accent.


I felt like the pear and gorgonzola salad ($11.95) should not have been named pear and gorgonzola salad. There were only a few slivers of pear and a tiny sprinkling of gorgonzola in the bed of arugula, radicchio  and beets. Everything tasted fresh. The flavours blended nicely if you could get all the components in one bite, but there wasn’t nearly enough pear or gorgonzola to balance.


The beef carpaccio ($13.95) was served with a sprinkling of arugula, pickled onions, grana padano, forno bread, and grainy mustard aioli. The thin slices of herb crusted beef was tender, and Baby-Paca agreed with me when I said the flavour was strangely reminiscent of the rare beef served in pho. The aioli didnt have much of a mustard taste, had we not read the description on the menu, we would’ve thought it was just plain mayo. There wasn’t enough arugula to go with the beef so Baby-Paca stole some off our plate of salad to wrap with the slices of beef. The pickled onions brought most of the flavour. I felt like the forno bread were thrown on top as an afterthought, just for decorational purposes. It didn’t add anything to the dish. It was stale, tasteless and dry.


For our entrees, we had to get the truffled spaghetti with signature meatballs ($22.95). It’s the dish everyone that’s eaten at Trattoria talks about. The meatballs were moist and had just enough red sauce. But while they say signature meatballs, I thought they were just alright. It’s the spaghetti that takes the prize. Baby-Paca and I loved the strong aroma of truffle in the truffle cream. However, it could’ve used more salt. Baby-Paca and I took the liberty to add more salt ourselves, and it was instantly better.


I totally fell in love with parpadelle ever since trying the seasonal short rib pasta at Fable last winter, and have been on the hunt for good parpadelle ever since. Unfortunately, this short rib parpadelle ($19.95) was a huge let down. The braised short rib was dry and bland, like the rest of the dish. The cafe au lait sauce severely lacked sodium. We really don’t like wasting food, but we didn’t even want to finish this plate, and we had already sent the lamb shank back to the kitchen.


The lamb shank ($23.95) was very dry and tasteless. It tasted like the meat used in soup that’s had all its moisture and flavour cooked out of it. The bianco risotto under the lamb shank was also no good. The rice had a strange gummy yet hard texture to it. Our server had dropped by a few times to ask us how the food was, I have to admit that i’m pretty picky, but I usually finish my food anyway even if I don’t like it, so I just reluctantly said “it’s good” a few times, not wanting to cause any trouble. However, the plate just sat at our table and nobody wanted to touch it. After much debate, we decided we’d tell the server that it actually wasn’t any good and she took it off the bill for us without any hassle. She asked us if we wanted to order a different dish instead, but after the 2 rather dissatisfying entrees, we just settled for dessert.


We got the tiramisu ($8.95), and it was actually one of the better ones I’ve had. It was very moist and creamy, yet not too heavy. Nice expresso flavour with just a hint of alcohol.


The manager(?) Simon was very guest oriented and warm. He came over to ask us how everything was. Naturally, not very assertive at all and trying to be polite, I just said “good” and thanked him for asking, but my mom’s face had displeased written all over it. Simon left and came back to tell us that he got dessert as well as the lamb shank taken care for us since we didn’t have such an enjoyable experience. Apparently the parpadelle was a new addition to the menu, he said he’d be sure to give the kitchen our feedback. Simon apologized for all the mishaps today and as we were finishing up, I saw him whisper something to our server. As we were paying for the bill, our server brought us a box of macarons as a little peace offering. We appreciated the kind gesture.

Trattoria Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

+1 604 424 8779
Central Burnaby
102-4501 Kingsway, Burnaby