Sherman's Food Adventures: Bamboo World Kitchen (Granville Street)

Bamboo World Kitchen (Granville Street)

It goes without saying that eating healthier is a good plan when one normally dines on an abnormal amount of rich foods.  So with that in mind, I did not hesitate to accept an invite to try the newly opened Bamboo World Kitchen in South Granville.  Not only do they want the customer to be served healthier options, they are committed to be as sustainable as possible with local organic ingredients and Oceanwise seafood.  Furthermore, their packaging is plant-based and even their countertops are made from recycled chopsticks.  Now that is commendable, but honestly, we need to see if the food can pass the taste test too right?

So getting right to it, we sampled their Dim Sum items first including Bamboo Gyoza, Prawn Dumpling and Bean Curd Rolls.  So I gotta tell you, these were pretty legit.  The gyoza was vegetarian with a combination of cabbage, carrots and shiitake which was tender and moist.  I found the wrapper to be thin and al dente in texture.  There was enough flavour on its own due to the white pepper, five spice and black truffle oil, however, the side of citrus soy helped brighten up the flavour profile.  So if you are wondering how the prawn dumplings turned out, I'm glad to report that they were really good.  The dumpling skin was medium thickness but tender with a slight chewiness.  Inside, the buttery shrimp did that sweet snap thing with the unmistakable hint of sesame oil and white pepper.  There was a chili lime sauce that predictably added tang and spice, but I much preferred dipping it into the Royal Bamboo Sauce that came with the bean curd rolls (think of it as a hot sauce with tang and sweetness).  About those bean curd rolls, they decided to make them semi-crispy rather than the traditional soft version we find at Chinese restaurants.  I thought it was a good decision as it was less messy to eat and it had an airy crispy texture encasing bamboo shoots, carrots, wood ear and mung bean vermicelli.

Off to their main part of the menu where any of their creations could be had in a wrap or a bowl.  We decided to give their Bangkok Bowl a try that consisted of organic tofu (+$2.00) marinated rice noodle, tomato, cucumber, pickled carrot, romaine lettuce, cilantro, scallions, coconut curry sauce and royal bamboo sauce.  I thought that the ingredients were fresh and appealing while the sauces combined to offer up all of the flavours including spice, tang, sweet, savoury and even a touch of bitterness.  The noodles were soft due to being marinated and I personally would've preferred a chewier version.  However, Jacqueline's parents tried the bowls too and they liked the texture of the noodles.  So each to their own.

To get a sense of what things would be like in a wrap, we had the Bombay in a flour tortilla (also can opt for a sundried tomato or spinach tortilla as well).  This wrap contained organic local chicken (+$4.00), bamboo brown rice, red onion, cucumber, marinated chickpea, mango chutney, grape tomato, spinach and cilantro with a curry yogurt sauce.  Of course this ate very differently than a bowl where I was able to get almost every ingredient in one bite.  Therefore, I got the meatiness of the tender chicken, crunch from the greens and firmness of the chickpeas.  In terms of flavour, the curry yogurt was tangy with unmistakable Indian spices.  This was tempered by the sweetness of the chutney.  In my opinion, the wrap would be my choice.

Too add even more greens to our order, we also had the Bamboo Forest (which is more of a salad) with Oceanwise shrimp (+3.00), mixed greens, marinated rice noodles, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, edamame, mint, basil, cilantro, scallions, cashews, black sesame seeds, radish, sweet chili sauce and citrus soy vinagrette.  I really loved this bowl as the shrimp was perfectly prepared and once again, the ingredients were fresh and vibrant.  Lots of crunch from the veggies and a soft nuttiness from the cashews.  The combination of sauces added tang, saltiness and a minor touch of spice.

I feel that their Smoothies were their most stealthily awesome item on the menu.  We ended up trying the Raspberry (raspberries, banana, dates, vanilla extract and almond milk) and Blueberry Maple (blueberries, maple syrup, banana, dates, vanilla extract and almond milk).  These could also be had with soy milk if desired.  We finished these aggressively as they were smooth, fruity and smooth with just enough sweetness.  A really nice compliment to our mains and dim sum without feeling heavy or overfilling.

We saved a bit of room for dessert and had the Vegan Coconut Panna Cotta topped with cherry compote and toasted coconut.  Being a vegan version, there was no gelatin in this and hence it was more akin to yogurt in texture.  It tasted great with a mild sweetness complimented by the semi-sweet compote.  Texture and aroma was provided by the toasted coconut.  So you know what?  I guess it sounds clichéd to say this, but we really did feel good after eating this meal.  Nothing was heavy, yet still satisfying and full-of-flavour.  Bamboo World is a good option for those who need to grab lunch everyday but want to avoid the usual fast foods.  Looks like people agree with this sentiment as they are opening up their second location on Broadway close to VGH shortly.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Fresh local sustainable ingredients and plant-based packaging
- Flavours from around the world
- Reasonable pricing considering the quality of ingredients

The Bad:
- For me, the rice noodles could've been chewier, but then again, other people liked it  


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