Hello everyone, I’m SY and this post marks the beginning of an amazing chapter of my life. I’ve been contemplating about starting a blog for years but only recently have I convinced myself that I’ll be able to keep this blog running. I also persuaded my lovely girlfriend CL to join me because I wanted to use this blog as our platform to share the food adventures that we go on and post all the recipes that CL whips up from time to time.
CL and I are students from UBC and are both self-confessed food aficionados. While I like to try out new restaurants, CL enjoys trying out new recipes. Our blog posts will focus mainly on more ethnic/asian cuisine with the occasional local flare inserted here and there.
To start it off with a BANG, our first review is going to be about the Guu Original, located near the intersection of Robson and Thurlow. There are currently 8 Guus in Vancouver and Toronto, with the restaurant on Thurlow being the first of the bunch. In Vancouver, Guu is seen as the pioneers and masters of Japanese Izakaya style dining, and their reputation is reflected by the long lineups outside the restaurant
It was our first time visiting Guu but I had a rough idea of what to order (since I always catch up on other food blogs). The wait was not too bad; we were offered to share tables but refused to. After a half hour wait, we were seated at the bar and greeted very energetically by the staff. The atmosphere was very loud and casual. Our first round of orders comprised of beef tataki ($5.20), sashimi salad ($6.50), ebi mayo ($7.80), and uni sashimi ($9.80). As for drinks, I ordered a glass of Sapporo ($5.00) and CL went for the ramune cocktail Snow White ($5.80).
First to arrive was the ebi mayo, piping hot, right out of the deep fryer and smothered in their house made chilli mayo. This dish is a very traditional for izakaya dish and a must have at Guu. The prawns were fried to perfection; crispy on the outside while maintaining the soft and tender texture on the inside. There was an excessive amount of spicy chilli mayo on the prawns, but being the rich food lovers that we are, we didn’t complain. This dish was CL’s favourite.
The next course to arrive was the uni (sea urchin) sashimi from the weekly specials menu. The uni was served with sea weed for wrappping and soy sauce and wasabi for dipping. The first piece I tried melted immediately in my mouth, almost like ice cream. The texture was so rich and smooth, it made chewing obsolete. The uni flavour was not fishy at all but rather sweet and a little briny, and left a fresh taste in my mouth which reminded me of the ocean. I do not recommend wrapping uni with the seaweed because the seaweed takes away the fresh uni taste. Uni sashimi is definitely an acquired taste because CL didn’t like it at all. This was my first time trying uni sashimi and this dish turned out to be my favourite of the night.
Next up was sashimi salad, but being a first time blogger, I was half way through the salad before remembering that I haven’t taken a picture yet. The salad came with three types of sashimi: amaebi, tuna and hamachi. The salad was dressed with an asian vinegrette and drizzled lightly with wasabi mayo. The sashimi tasted really fresh in combination with the greens and at $6.50 it was steal, but the thing is it wasn’t that different from the other sashmi salads I’ve had. You can ask them to fry the shrimp head afterwards for a crunchy savoury snack.
After we devoured the salad, we ordered the second round of food while waiting for the beef tataki to arrive. This time we ordered the gin dara ($8.50), okonomiyaki ($5.80) and a bottle of cold sake ($7.80). The gin dara (grilled black cod) arrived in no time at all, covered in a thick layer of mayo like the ebi mayo. The fish was marinaded in a soy sauce and miso based mixture and was grilled to a tender flaky perfection. We found the mayo to be a bit heavy so we scraped off the mayo before eating it. At $8.50, it’s one of the more expensive items on the menu but I would definitely order it again.
The okonomiyaki, which arrived next, was the least interesting dish of the night. But this dish had all the right components and flavours but was just poorly executed. When I tried to pick up a piece it just fell apart on the plate.
As we were picking away at the broken okonomiyaki, our long awaited beef tataki finally arrived and it was worth the wait. The beef was arranged neatly on top of a salad of onion, daikon and greens. The whole dish is drizzled in a tangy ponzu sauce and sprinkled with fried garlic chips. The perfect bite is to get a little bit of everything on the plate and experience the flavours all at once. The acidity from the ponzu sauces cuts through the richness of the beef, while the greens and garlic chips provided that extra crunch. CL usually doesn’t enjoy eating beef tataki but she really enjoyed this dish as well. However, I wouldn’t recommend ordering this dish if you are on a first date (or important date for that matter), because of the strong garlic flavour.
To finish off the night, we ordered the cheesecake, which happened to be jasmine flavoured on the night of our visit. The cheesecake was creamy and not too sweet, but the addition of actual jasmine tea leaves gave the dish a weird texture and a bitter aftertaste, but we still enjoyed it nonetheless.
Guu Original is highly rated on urbanspon and I can see why. Guu was very impressive with its great food and atmosphere and it’s a great place to unwind after a rough week while enjoying a beer and a couple of dishes with friends. The restaurant is priced fairly due to the high quality of the ingredients. We will definitely be returning in the near future.
What would we rate it?
Of course, there aren’t other reviews to compare the ratings with but please check back soon! I’ll try to keep up with weekly updates and feel free to comment and follow me on tumblr. :)