Sherman's Food Adventures: Munch


*Restaurant is now closed*

There aren't a whole lot of true family friendly restaurants in the GVRD. Yes, there are the chain restaurants such as White Spot, Red Robin and Boston Pizza which are indeed quite kid-friendly. However, there are not many independent places that cater to parents with screaming kids. There is Choo Choo's out in Langley which offers up train-themed restaurant which kiddies love. Little Nest off of Commercial is one of the few that offer a play area for the kiddies while their parents eat in peace. Now a new restaurant has entered the fray claiming to be family friendly while offering organic eats. Unlike the aforementioned restaurants, Munch is presented as slightly higher class with it's expensive-sounding menu and nice decor. The play area for the kids is larger than the seating space for diners. Much like Go Bananas, there is a gate when you enter the restaurant and no kid can escape while you are there. Moreover, you must sign your kids in so that no one gets separated.

We met up with Vandelay and Donna Chang with their newborn to see if there was any substance to the concept. While the kids were running amok in the play area, we had a chance to look at the menu. I was a bit hungry and decided on their most expensive breakfast which was the Bison Flat Iron and Eggs. Presented on a long plate, there was one slice of multi-grain toast, roasted potatoes, a small bison steak resting on sauteed mushrooms and 2 sunny side eggs. My first impression was this cost $16.00??? I took a minute to think and considered the considerable overhead for the play area that also takes up valuable seats (which affects revenue). So I decided to let the food speak for itself. I was bit annoyed at the one slice of toast (usually there's 2?) and further annoyed at the rubbery texture of the eggs. It looks as if they were made in a small pan; thus they were uniformly round (not aesthetically appealing). I did like the potatoes, they were crisp and soft in the middle with the right amount of herbs and seasoning. The steak was cooked to order and I liked it. I just wish it didn't consist of 5 small slices. I had Filet-O-Fish on my mind as I dusted up the food quite quickly.

Viv had the Chirizo Eggs Benny and Donna Change opted for the Spinach & Mushroom Eggs Benny. I gotta say, the poached eggs were some of the ugliest looking ones I've ever seen. Curiously, there was one perfectly poached and one overcooked egg in each order. Don't get me wrong, they both thought the eggs benny was decent. The Hollandaise was quite good with a nice lemon kick to it. But over poaching an egg is just unacceptable for an eggs benny. Vandelay had the Prosciutto Grilled Vegetable Open Faced Sandwich and I'm sure that wasn't enough food for him. Again, it wasn't bad; there just wasn't enough of it. On that note, the kids meals were just plain tiny. For $10.00, it included drink, a choice of entree and dessert. Not bad, until we got the entree. My son's grilled cheese was pretty darn small. If it weren't for the multi-grain (he hates things in his food), he would've finished it and wanted more food. My daughter's turkey hot dog was more bun than anything. It didn't look like a good value at all. Comparing to the Milestone's kids menu at $10.00 as well, these ones here seem way overpriced. Of course I realize that they must incorporate the cost of the play area and loss of tables into the price.

That begs the question, is the play area and kid friendly environment worth the extra cost? For people without kids, absolutely not. For those who do have kids, it is debatable. It's nice to have a truly family friendly restaurant with a real play area, toys and kids menu. However, there was nothing outstanding about the food that warranted the price point. By no means was it extremely expensive; in fact, the eggs benny were actually in line or even cheaper than some other chain restaurants. However, the kids meals were not very good and pricey. I went away hungry and actually walked across the street to get my son a Happy Meal and a Filet-O-Fish for myself. Generally, a family restaurant should have portions that satisfy the appetites of both
the parents and children. Unfortunately, Munch tries too hard to make their food "upscale" and have muddled up the concept of what a family restaurant should be. With that being said, if they can refine their concept, they do have a good idea.

The Good:
- Excellent play area which is safe and clean
- Great concept of a nicer restaurant that is kid-friendly
- Not the usual family restaurant menu

The Bad:
- Portions are small
- Prices do not reflect value
- Hit and miss with the food execution

Munch on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

I think that you have missed the mark a little. Surely you visit an organic kid friendly restaurant so to avoid the nasty horrors of McDonalds!!!!
That is exactly the antithesis of what they offer....!!!!!

I recently visited Munch and loved the food, thought the portions were great value, how many other restaurants charge $21 for an Organic Beef Tenderloin, most restaurants chare $25 for a regular steak, never mind its organic!!

Maybe some people need to leave a restaurant feeling so full and bloated to feel like they've got value for money but what about just leaving feeling happy and fed well, and not to the point of feeling sick, like the likes of Mac D's!!!

I think you should return and review it again, I hear there's a new chef there and free Nanny's on Friday and Saturday nights, not to mention FREE KIDS FOOD on Monday's and Tuesday's, now thats Value for money!!!

Sherman Chan said...

Emma, thanks for the update. In terms of the McD's, it had nothing to do with the organic thing per se. Just stating exactly what happened and my son really likes the grilled cheese there. Go figure...

In terms of my experience there, it was exactly what happened and it was honest. At the time, it was not a good value in my eyes, Viv's and 2 other parents I was with. So it wasn't only me. The kids meals were woefully small, not impressive and poor value. So yes, I was not happy with the food. However, based on your observations, they have obviously changed it up. Which in my opinion was necessary for their survival.

In terms of the kids eat free on Mon/Tues, that's a nice touch, but keep in mind that other restaurants do that too so it's not necessarily a new thing or extra value. Of course the food is organic and that's a major selling point. But to the average parent who may not care about that, that will not come into play. The organic angle is only marketable to the families that can A) afford it and/or B) are conscientious about it.

Therefore, once again, it proves the point that food and experiences are unique and quite personal. What I don't like or like is not necessarily reflective of other people. But again, you must realize I visited when it was just up and running. Things might've changed and you're right that it would be a good idea to revisit.

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