In Vancouver, we have seen some cuisines/styles spread like wildfire. In the last two years or so, for example, we have seen several izakaya open: Kingyo, Toratatsu, Kakurenbo, et al, came along to challenge long time established Guu and then recently opened Zakkushi and Hapa Izakaya. A cuisine that has silently crept around Vancouver’s Downtown and West End is Lebanese/Middle Eastern. At one time, in the couple of blocks around English Bay, there were easily over 6 of these shops and, as mentioned in a previous post, Falafel King was my personal favourite. But, rather than blog about a place I have visited previously, instead, I chose to visit a place that went through renovations and recently re-opened.
Talk about creep, to the right is supposed to be Babylon Cafe location #3!
Mediterranean Grill is located a block away from Falafel King and a block and a block and a half away from English Bay. Being already a convert then of Falafel King, I went to Mediterranean Grill to give it a try and see how different it would be. And different it was, unfortunately, not in a good way. Sure, it had more variety but the flavours did not wow me. Would this time be any different? To be fair, I ordered their shawarma plate:
Visually it looks great. Unfortunately, that was about it. The rice looked better than the parboiled one usually served on other places like this but flavour-wise, I did not find it any different. The salad and tomato was bland, without any hint of seasoning at all. The chicken tasted like chicken? That was even with the sauces added on top. The best part of the meal was the tsatsiki – it was really thick with a decent hint of herbs.
As for the remodeling, the layout did not change much but the tables, stools and chairs were/seemed “new”. However, they should have gotten some new cutlery. When I grabbed mine… Well, let’s just say it is better for me not to continue.
Overall, I was able rekindle with some old memories, including the reason why I went to Falafel King rather than here. Though they survived and stayed opened, unlike the other Lebanese/Middle Eastern that has closed in the last year or so, I am not sure how they can keep their momentum, specially because Babylon Cafe (which, for comparison purposes, I think is better than Mediterranean Grill) will be opening anytime now next door.
As a side note, in this post, I mentioned English Bay in a couple of instances. Below is a picture of English Bay on a winter-y, sunny, day. Enjoy!