Guu (Richmond)

November 13, 2011
Mich and I were looking for a place to have dinner on Remembrance Day and there were long line-ups everywhere. I think that was partly due to the power outage that affected many residences in Richmond. We were without electricity from 2 pm to almost 10 pm. The experience got me thinking about how dependent we are on electricity and technology in general. I sat at home for an hour and realized there was nothing to do. No TV, no internet, no lights, no electric stove. I finally dug up a deck of playing cards from the bottom of my drawer and forced my family into playing with me until the sun went down (damn it no more daylight savings!). Then I met up with Mich at Aberdeen and we walked around the mall looking for a place to eat. We wanted to try a variety of different dishes, so we ended up going to Guu since it's more of a tapas-style eatery compared to the other Asian restaurants. Mich commented that she had never tried Ramune, a Japanese soft drink, so we ordered a pitcher of Ramune cocktail called sake mojito ($16). We got some sake, ice and mint leaves in a plastic pitcher along with 3 bottles of Ramune. I guess it's make-it-yourself! I never knew Ramune by name, but I recognized the bottle sealed with a marble. We were given a tool to push the marble in so that it dropped into the bottleneck and rattled around as we poured. I used to think that was really cool when I was a kid and guess what? It's still cool :P

We started with takoyaki ($4) and this was probably the most average item of the night. I must be spoiled by the takoyaki from the night market and the bakudanyaki from Tenku.

The most impressive items of the night followed, and Mich commented that we should have saved it for last because now everything else would not be able to compare. Here we have the hotate mentaiko and uni ikura gunkan sushi. At $3 apiece, these were very pricey, but definitely worth a try in my opinion. The uni was amazingly fresh and soft and melted in my mouth along with the rest of the ingredients.

The ochazuke ($4.30) has been on my wish list for a while since I've always wondered how plain rice could possibly taste good with green tea poured over it. It turns out Guu uses dashi broth instead of tea. The flavour of the broth was mild but still savoury, especially with the cooked salmon topping.

I quite enjoyed the Aberdeen roll ($8.80) because of the roasted garlic chips sprinkled across the top. And as Mich said, how could you go wrong with mango sauce, unagi and spicy sashimi?

We weren't quite full at this point, so we ordered an assorted oden ($6.50/6 pcs). We tried konnyaku, chikuwa, hanpen, ikaten and mochikin.  I really liked the konnyaku, a plant tuber with a bouncy gelatinous texture. The chikuwa and ikaten were just regular fish cakes, except the ikaten had some squid stuffed inside. The hanpen was also fish cake, but it was a puffed fish cake that melted away in my mouth like a white fluffy cloud of cotton candy. What a strange sensation, especially since it looked like a normal chewy fish cake. The mochikin was sticky rice cake wrapped in bean curd and tied up into a tiny satchel. The presentation was cute, but the rice cake filling was too soft and mushy.

I absolutely loved the kakuni ($6.30), a dish of stewed pork belly served with daikon, a poached egg and steamed buns. The egg actually looked more raw than poached, but it was good nevertheless. The daikon was very flavourful as the sauce had soaked all the way through, and even the inside was a nice brown colour. The most amazing part was the pork that was so soft and jiggly that I almost couldn't cut it in half. The fat and meat literally melted away the moment I put it in my mouth.

For dessert I tried the "smoothest" almond tofu ($3) as advertised on the menu. Although the flavour was quite nice, I'm sad to report that it was not really that smooth. It would have been fine if it hadn't been advertised as the "smoothest", but I had my expectations set really high because of that word. I imagined something similar to Chinese tofu pudding. Unfortunately this was more like crudely made panna cotta.

Mich got the green tea ice cream ($3) because they ran out of cheesecake. It was a pretty typical and boring choice, but the ice cream was surprisingly quite good because of the strong green tea flavour that tasted very natural.

After asking for the bill, we got another sweet snack to finish up the meal: chilled grapes.

We had a nice meal and pretty much enjoyed all of the dishes. We ended up spending a little more than $30 each, which was actually pretty good considering the variety of food we got to try. But since this is a tapas place, it's easy to go overboard with the food and alcohol, so it's a good idea to keep a budget in mind.

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  1. Wow, your post makes me want to head down to Aberdeen and give them another shot. I've only been there for lunch, and I can't say I'm a fan of their lunch menu :(

    You should give the one down in gastown a try!

  2. @tastyvancity1: Thanks! It's a great compliment that you'd want to try it out after reading my post :) I've never been there for lunch, so I can't comment. I've been there for dinner 2 times and both times were pleasant, so definitely give it a try.
    It seems that Guu has been expanding with so many new stores. I'm rarely in the gastown area, but I'll put that location on my wish list!


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