Lunch at the Cactus Club Cafe, English Bay

This is one of my favourite chains to eat at in Vancity – we keep coming back. It’s insanely easy to make reservations for this (compared to many other restaurants in Vancouver where you have to call in – something our T-mobile plan does not allow for) because you can make reservations online! Maybe even on Opentable. But you likely don’t even have to because their restaurants are very spacious and can accommodate quite a crowd so we’ve never had to wait for a table (either here or at their Park Royal outlet).

They have this amazing butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sauce where each raviolo is topped with a huge gulf prawn. Available as an appetizer or main size, and we usually get it as an appetizer and everyone just takes the one dumpling, which leaves you rabid for more.

The reason for that is we also always order their butternut squash soup with curry foam – it’s super flavourful and creamy and thick and veloute-like; I haven’t had a better butternut squash soup anywhere else. And this used to come with a seared scallop on top! They should bring that back – that touch really upped the ante to make this a mindblowing dish.

AAA steak – this was a little dry that day – actually their regular steak would have sufficed. We got their peppercorn sauce and thought it quite medicinal and weird, probably thanks to the pernod – don’t order it. Regular bearnaise might be good though.

Another one of their mind-blowing dishes – the black cod in a peking duck broth with assorted mushrooms and veggies. This is admittedly a very chinese dish, something you might find in a chinese restaurant, which might explain why we like it so much. It’s not served with rice though, but with fingerling potatoes. If this is available on the menu you have to order it! I think in Canada they prefer referring to this as sablefish whereas most restaurants in Seattle refer to it as ‘black cod’.

Pimms & Lemonade. Pretty nice cocktails here

And the chicken san choy pau which can be quite spicy. The chicken is battered and served with strips of fried keropok so this can get a little carby/filling but the hoisin sauce and vegetables keep it fresh-tasting like a salad. Perhaps they should just put a hoisin and crispy chicken salad on the menu – I bet it’d be really popular.


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