UYU Ice Cream

After din-din at Bao Down, KitKat and I frisked off to our final destination, UYU Ice Cream, the new ice cream parlour in Gastown to try their Earl grey soft serve ($3) during their extended soft opening. I am a lover of all things Earl grey, so naturally, I had to give this place a visit. And what better day to visit than on a hot summer day when they’re doing promotional discounts, right?

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The staff at UYU are super friendly and welcoming. The interior is clean, chic and modern. I absolutely love the geometric sequence on their ceiling, walls, and windows. It serves as the perfect backdrop to their delicious organic ice cream, which is absolutely Insta worthy.

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They had run out of cones by the time KitKat and I got there, so I had no choice but to get my ice cream in a cup. UYU offers weekly rotation of flavours. The 2 flavours of soft serve available on our visit was Earl grey and Belgium chocolate, which comes with a complimentary drizzle of sauce. I opted for Earl grey with a raspberry drizzle and KitKat got Earl grey with a black currant drizzle. UYU also has a toppings bar, featuring a variety of nuts, freeze dried fruits and other healthy options which you can add to your ice cream. I would’ve preferred if they offered fresh fruits, but they didn’t, so I got mine plain. KitKat got hers with freeze dried strawberries and almond slivers. UYU takes a rather minimalistic approach with their strategically placed toppings. While it’s dainty and pretty, I didn’t think the few measly flakes’ really worth the three extra quarters.

The Earl grey soft serve was smooth, creamy, milky and subtly sweet with a lovely, aromatic Earl grey flavour that was just right in intensity. While KitKat’s black current drizzle was tasty (It tasted exactly like Ribena, a concentrated black currant drink), it didn’t go as well with Earl grey as the raspberry. I do wish that they were a little more generous with the sauce though. Raspberry and Earl grey just makes such a great marriage. Nevertheless, the Earl grey soft serve was delicious on its own.

The menu at UYU also seems to include ice cream bars. However, they were not available on our visit. Hopefully they’ll be obtainable the next time we drop by. But it’s alright if they’re not, I’d be satisfied with just their Earl Grey soft serve. I forgot to mention that there’s no seating inside UYU, but I don’t mind taking my ice cream on the go with me on my stroll around Gastown.

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Bao Down

I was scrolling through Instagram one day and I came across UYU Ice Cream’s post which informed me that they were extending their $3 ice cream soft opening special. Ecstatic, I immediately messaged KitKat, to which she suggested we grab dinner after work before we head over to our main destination. KitKat suggested Catch 122, but I have been on a splurge lately so I threw out a bunch of cheaper and lighter options, and Bao Down came out the winner.

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Bao Down has a very upbeat, hipster vibe to it. The quaint little restaurant is cozy but has limited seating. We arrived at around 7 on a Wednesday night and the place was pretty packed. Being smart, one of us lined up to order while the other scoured for seats. I scored a table upstairs right next to their mural, which I forgot to take a picture of, but I thought the painted cartoon samurai animals on the wall were adorable.

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My Two World’s Collide!!! ($6) took about 20 minutes to arrive. I was expecting the bao to be warm and toasty, however, they were only room temperature at best. This bao boasts 2 kinds of pork belly; star anise and ginger braised pork belly, and crispy pork belly with a hoisin glaze, along with other good stuff like chicharon (fried pork rinds), carrots, daikon, scallions and gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste). It was like eating an open faced cha siu bao ( 叉燒包/steamed Chinese BBQ pork bun). The roasted flavour along with the scallions and hoisin sauce was reminiscent of Peking duck (北京烤鴨/片皮鴨)but without the actual duck of course. While the bao tasted delicious as a whole, the crispy pork belly wasn’t really crispy, it was actually a little dry and tough.

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The YVR ($7) consists of seared Ocean Wise albacore tuna, avocado, double smoked bacon, sweet soy, wasabi mayo and baby pea shoots. With the first 3 ingredients being among Kitkat’s favourite foods, I knew this was what she was going to order the moment I saw it on the menu. I am a fan of tuna tataki myself, but I felt like the soft and mild flavours of the fish wouldn’t make the best combo with the bao, which was also soft and mild tasting. I had a bite of KitKat’s YVR and my suspicious were correct, it was kind of one-note. I didn’t like it as much as my pork belly bao, which had more of a textural contrast and bolder flavour. KitKat enjoyed it though, with the only complaint being that the pea shoots were too fibre-y and tough to chew. She ended up picking most of them out. But hey, we ordered fries to share, so we still got our serving of vegetables, because fries are basically a kind of potato salad, right? But if you beg to differ, our fries had kimchi too. Hahah.

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The Kimchi fries (small $4.50) came with crispy pork belly, bean sprouts, sweet soy, crispy garlic, garlic mayo and scallions. Again, the pork belly wasn’t crispy. They came in 2 big lumps that were tough and dry. The fries on the other hand, were cooked just the way I like them, slightly crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside without being overtly greasy. The slight acidity of the kimchi went harmoniously with the savoury and subtly sweet soy sauce, and the raw bean sprouts added a hint of freshness to the fries. They did get a littly too salty towards the bottom as they were soaked in sauce though.

While the portions don’t look that big, it was actually rather filling. Altogether, the food was good, but definitely not enough for us to bao down, but I give them an A+ for the punny name.

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BAO DOWN
+1 778 379 3611
Gastown
12 Powell Street, Vancouver