A new spot called Basho Cafe opened this month in our neighborhood of East Village / Hastings Sunrise, and it’s fair to say that in just a matter of weeks the family-run cafe has already garnered a fair amount of attention, from locals and local foodies alike. Upon first glance, it’s easy to see why. Quaint and cozy, the space looks as though it has been there for ages — in the best possible way.

Owned and operated by the Kawai family, Basho has a positively comfortable, inviting atmosphere. We’re big on service and what kind of energy we get from a place, and the first time we stopped in here last week for a matcha latte, we knew we’d be back very soon.

Yesterday we stopped in for lunch around 2:30, only to find a full house. Not really surprised, we decided to wait it out for a table. This in itself, is quite rare for us. But, we were glad we did wait, because the lunch that ensued was totally fantastic and obviously, we had to tell you about it.

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Teri Pulled Pork Rice Bowl, $8. Jeremy ordered this one, and he loved it. Tender, juicy and beautifully seasoned, this was one tasty meal. It was at a really nice room temperature, which might be strange for some people, but it works perfectly here and allows all the flavors to shine through.

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Basho Veggie Rice Bowl, $7.50. A fresh array of raw and cooked veggies, with a fantastic house-made tofu mayonnaise. This had such an incredible amount of flavor, and really was reminiscent of Japan. Adrian doesn’t even really like broccoli, but this was presented so nicely there was no problem polishing it off.

Take note that you can also order any of their rice bowls as a ‘lunch set’ for an extra $3, where you’ll receive a small soup of the day, tea and a small baked good. We kind of missed this option at first, but will be sure to order it as a lunch set next time as the value does seem good.

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After we were done eating, we decided to hang around a bit longer and treat ourselves to an Afternoon Set, $5 (only available after 2pm). This includes a matcha latte, and a selection of Basho’s daily sweets. We absolutely loved the chocolate mochi brownie, and the matcha biscotti was also delicious.

It’s lovely to see they have a great variety of creative and tasty gluten-free and vegan desserts, and serve coffee from Hand Works Coffee Studio, and loose leaf tea from North Vancouver’s The Tea Guy.

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Oh, and did we mention the music? It’s fantastic. You’ll spot a selection of vinyl on a near by table, and they’re more than happy to take requests. Basho also has a lovely selection of authentic, hand-made Japanese wares for sale like cushion covers and coasters, which we thought was a nice touch.

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From our first visit — a Basho chai latte, matcha latte, and an assortment of sweets.

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Basho Cafe is obviously off to a running start, and we always love to see quality establishments like these setting up roots in our eclectic East Van neighborhood.

Open Wednesday to Friday 9am-5pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm, be sure to stop by the next time you’re in the hood!

XX – The Food Gays

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