Woah, I remember when Mijune and I were first invited to do a menu tasting at the original BiBo on West 4th. That day, unbeknownst to us, Mia Stainsby (yes her, of the Vancouver Sun) was sitting next to us. She went on to write an article about watching our exploits during our tasting. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be offended. In the end, I laughed because it was all true! LOL. Well, fast forward to the present and BiBo has once again invited me to try out their new location at McArthur Glen in Richmond. This time it was with Joyce, Emily and Ned Flanders... and to my best knowledge, Mia wasn't next to us!
We were started off with the Tagliere di salumi e formaggi consisting of salami, coppa, mortadella, prosciutto, fontina, asiago, parmesan, marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts. With imported products, the board was both attractive and appetizing to eat. I particularly liked the firm and salty salami as well as the mushrooms. This was served with pizza dough bread which was crispy, chewy, lightly charred and well-seasoned. Next, we had a Neapolitan Pizza with mozzarella, pancetta and onions. As evidenced in the picture, the pizza was evenly charred with leoparding on the edges and the underside of the crust. The dough was seasoned properly and ate well on its own with a pleasing chewiness. The crust was a bit softer in the middle (as it should be), but not wet. Loved the ample pancetta as it added a flavourful saltiness.
Onto another appie, we shared the Bruschetta on house-made bread and topped with tomatoes, onions, basil, olive oil, fresh mozza and drizzled with balsamic. I thought the bread was overly dense, which impacted my overall enjoyment of the dish. I also felt there was too much moisture going on that made the bread wet. As for the tomatoes, they were fresh and sweet, yet not acidic enough. The balsamic reduction added a sweet tartness, but I could've use more of it. Then something weird happened - we were all served the same pasta being the Tagliatelle ai funghi. Okay, not much variety here, but at the very least, it exemplified some inconsistencies. My tagliatelle was al dente while the sauce (lukewarm in my case) was very rich and creamy with enough seasoning and woodsiness from the porcini mushrooms. Emily's plate was bland and lacking sauce while served piping hot. So depending which one you got, it was either good or not-so-good.
At this point, we requested the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese as a contrast to the creamy pasta (and the non-tomato sauce pizza). Thankfully we did because it was better than the creamy pasta in our opinion. The noodles were sufficiently al dente for fresh pasta. I liked the bolognese as it was mildly tart while sporting a good amount of tender meat and softened carrots. Our last dish was the Scaloppine di Vitello in a smaller portion size so each of us got our own plate. The veal wasn't exactly dry nor chewy, but it wasn't super tender either. I would've liked to see it thinner. As for the sauce, it was impactful and acidic from the lemon. So much so, the mushrooms kind of got lost. All-in-all, this tasting was hit-and-miss. This may have also been partially due to the items they chose to serve us. Personally, I would've liked to have the Pizza Margherita (as a baseline) and also 4 different pastas rather than a full serving of a heavy cream version.
*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were complimentary*
- Neapolitan pizza crust was good
- The house-made pasta itself was prepared properly
- Nice dining space
- Cream sauce was inconsistent
- Hit and miss