Emilicious has taste, she really does. Take the location of her new pad - down on the South side of False Creek. The development there has been brisk and all the usual services have followed suit. Sure, there is Save-On-Foods, Canadian Tire, Bestbuy, Home Depot, London Drugs and Urban Fare joining the party, but for me, I'm more interested in the new restaurants! Luckily for me, Emilicious is a bonafide foodie (even though I'm not a big fan of that word) and she has been doing some food scouting. Hence, it was her call for after- hockey Friday eats.
Destination: Tap and Barrel, located in the former Olympic Village right near the really large bird statues... Boy, they give me the creeps... Even before we even had a chance to sample the food, we were impressed with its location right on the water. With Gordo, Milhouse and Lionel Hutz, we were determined to eat everything that was unhealthy. Well, there wasn't anything considered "healthy" on the menu anyways (well maybe a salad...). On that note, we started with the Bacon Chips. Yes, that's right, chips made out of large, meaty slices of bacon! Served with house made chunky ketchup, these were exactly what I would've imagined them to be. Despite eating what was essentially fried bacon, they were not greasy and they really did eat like a chip.
Feeling a bit guilty eating bacon chips, we moved onto some vegetables in the form of Quebec St. Poutine. Yes, it's a stretch, but potatoes *are* vegetables. The fresh cut fries were somewhat crisp, but really how would we know when there was so much red wine gravy on top? I would've preferred less myself, yet everyone else disagreed. Heck, what do I know? The gravy was thick and a bit clumpy with a definite kick of red wine. There was only a modest amount of cheese curds and most of them were completely melted. More curds and less melted please! Okay, more veggies please, in the form of the Infamous Sticky Yam Fries with burnt marshmallow fluff. The fries on their own were pretty good. They were crisp, not greasy and naturally sweet (with a smokiness from the deep-fry). As for the marshmallow, I was indifferent. I found it too sweet, yet as the same time, interesting and gooey...
Okay, back to the meat... The Southern Fried Chicken Wings were pretty darn good. They were breaded and fried just enough that the exterior was crunchy while the meat was moist. The spiced honey drizzle was the kicker, it added a sweet stickiness that had some zip. These were a table favourite. Okay, with the looming bacon shortage, we thought that the some peanut butter and bacon dip would be in order. It went with the Original T&B Monster Pretzel along with the other dip (grainy mustard). The warm house-baked pretzel was fairly soft and went well with the mustard. I'm not exactly sure if the peanut butter & bacon was a natural fit with the pretzel, but then again, I liked the dip on its own. It was sweet, crunchy, and slightly spicy. So it really should go with anything!
Lastly, we shared 2 pizzas. First was the Roasted Pork Belly with soft cooked eggs, caramelized onions and smoked mozzarella. Despite being on the mild side, we really liked this pizza. The fatty pork belly was a treat while the runny eggs added a welcomed creamy messiness to the crisp thin crust pizza. As mentioned, there could've been more impact with the flavours as there was enough sweetness, but lacking in saltiness. The second pizza was the Local Wild Mushrooms with smoked mozzarella, baby arugula and truffle oil. Without even taking a bite, there was an intoxicating aroma of truffle oil. Therefore, combined with the mushrooms, the pizza had considerable Earthiness to it. This was a pretty decent pizza where the bitterness of the arugula complimented the other ingredients. Once again, the pizza could've benefited from some more salt. However, in general, we enjoyed the food that we ordered. Combined with a lively atmosphere and killer location, Tap & Barrel could be a regular hangout for Emilicious...
- Nice location with view
- Lively atmosphere
- For what we ordered, it was both unique and appealing
- Although we enjoyed our food, nothing could be considered health food
- Parking is an issue