Ensemble Tap (e Tap)

 Address:

990 Smithe Street

Vancouver, BC

Tel: (604) 566-9770

 

May 27, 2012 – Dinner

Written by: Second Stomach

Chai Tea, Pharmboy and I had a rough day. It was our semi-annual after work get-together and our usual long day turned into an unexpected longer day. As usual, we met up with Dom Perignon and Snowman for dinner. This time, there wasn’t much discussion ahead of time where we would meet up and Pharmboy chose e Tap (debating where to go ahead of time is usually half the fun of these get togethers).

As I approached e Tap, I realized it was a casual but somewhat upscale pub. Although there were many tv screens tuned to various sports channels, the food served here didn’t seem like your typical pub.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Tonight’s late late dinner consisted of:

Beer sampler

Heart Attack Bread

Kaffir Lime Dusted Popcorn Prawns

Marinated & Grilled Local Octopus

Fraser Valley Braised Pork Cheeks

Tap Burger

Award Winning Pulled Pork Sandwich

Key Lime PIe

 

Beer sampler

- Dom Perignon ordered this. Here’s a few more views from different angles so you can see the name of each beer:

Heart Attack Bread – $5

- To be honest, I was attracted to the name of this so I ordered this. Anything that’s potentially heart attack inducing has to be good. I was also very hungry (did I mention we had a long day?).

- This bread had a layer of garlic, then garlic cream, then melted cheese. The crust was very crispy and inside was very soft. You could taste the cheesy and garlicky flavors. Personally, I think this bread could have used even more garlic.

- I liked that this was served very hot when it came to our table. As unique as how this bread sounded, I didn’t think there was anything that really set this apart, but it certainly did hit the spot because I was hungry.

Taste: 3.5/5

Presentation: 3.5/5

Value: 3.5/5

 

Kaffir Lime Dusted Popcorn Prawns – $13

- Again, I thought the description on the menu for this appetizer sounded intriguing. However, when we tried this, it basically was like having shrimp tempura. The prawns were very soft and the batter was light and crispy. It was served with a spicy mayo that balanced well with the tempura.

- For $13, I thought this was expensive since there were too few prawns in this dish to justify this price

Taste:3/5

Presentation: 3/5

Value:2/5

 

Marinated & Grilled Local Octopus – $16

- Octopus served with aged chorizo, potatos, tomato sauce and red pepper.

- I thought the grilled octopus was a bit chewy. The rest of it was OK as well. I was actually a little disappointed with this dish. Again, for $16, I didn’t think the dish really justified the price (there were too few pieces of octopus to justify this)

Taste:2.5/5

Presentation:3.5/5

Value:1.5/5

 

 

Fraser Valley Braised Pork Cheeks – $17

Chai Tea ordered this. This asian inspired dish features crispy tofu and pork-dashi broth. I tried a small bite of this and the pork was tender and the broth was well flavored. I’m sure mixing the baked egg into this dish was also very tasty.

 

Tap Burger – $16

The menu describes this burger as having roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, swiss, and fresh horseradish. Sounds like a good combination. Pharmboy seemed to enjoy it.

Award Winning Pulled Pork Sandwich – $13

- I was attracted to the word “award winning” on their menu. I shared this with Snowman. Dom Perignon ordered this too.

- The pulled pork was soft and well flavored. The menu describes the burger as being served with apple horseradish slaw. I don’t think I really noticed it though. The bbq beans were what you would expect from beans. I liked the fries – just a bit crispy on the outside.

- As much as this was noted as “award winning”, the pulled pork sandwich didn’t really amaze me. It was good, but I didn’t think it was outstanding.

Taste: 3.5/5

Presentation: 4/5

Value: 3.5/5

 

Key Lime Pie

- Pharmboy ordered this for all of us to share. The cream was “light” but strong in lime and coconut.

- It was a pleasant surprise for some of us. I personally thought it was pretty average. I think the coconut irritated me – too much chewing amongst the cream.

Taste: 3/5

Presentation: 3.5/5

 

e Tap is located downtown, very close to the Paramount theatres. Parking is a bit of a challenge (unless you are already seeing a movie). The atmosphere is casual and the food is a bit more upscale than a typical pub. I find the prices a bit high for what is being served here. Burgers do seem to be the better choice here. In reflection, this is one of my “first” blog posts since coming back from Europe and I have been spoiled by some amazing food experiences there so although coming home and eating at the local pub might feel “homey”, I am already missing the gastronomic experiences that I had just a few days ago.

 

The good…

- Food is better than your “average” pub. Go for the burgers.

- Close to the Paramount theatres

The bad…

- Pricey

- Some dishes are hit and miss.

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