It’s hard to believe we’re already past the one week mark for Meatless Movember! Sorry we didn’t post yesterday, but we’ve been busy juggling everything and needed a day off. So today we thought we’d post about our lunch we had the other day at JJ’s Dining Room, located inside the Downtown campus of Vancouver Community College.
The restaurant acts as part of the school’s Culinary Arts program, and is kind of a staple in the city. From what we’ve heard, the service and food can sometimes be hit and miss — it is students in training after all. But the menu looked intriguing and the prices are great, so we thought we’d give it a go. We invited our friend Sean from Flavour Town Adventures along, and he was also happy to come check the place out.
One thing you should know about JJ’s Dining Room is that you’ll need a reservation for lunch, because the place fills up. Lunch is earlier than usual too — think 11:30, 11:45 or 12:00 resos — so you’ll need to call them early in the morning to make sure you get a table. It’s also located a bit tucked away on the second level of the school near the cafeteria, which can be confusing for some people walking in for the first time.
When you’re seated one of the first things you’ll likely notice is a large television screen, which plays out all the action from inside the kitchen. It is a pretty cool thing to see all the students on the line working hard to produce what you’re about to eat.
Our lovely server presented us with a delicious bread basket with warm focaccia and a roll. This was surprisingly good, and we had to keep ourselves from asking for seconds to save room for the food!
Shrimp and Avocado Salad ($4). This was… alright. It tasted good enough, and the presentation was well executed, but something about it felt rather dated to us.
Salmon, Prawn and Scallion Cake, Thai Lemongrass Sauce ($4). This had a nice flavour, but the temperature of the dish was luke warm. The Thai Lemongrass sauce was delicious, and had a nice light spicy profile which we all enjoyed.
Crispy Vancouver Island Octopus and Winter Greens ($4). This was our favourite appetizer of the day, and appeared on their Special Menu. The octopus tasted fresh and juicy, and had a light crispy batter.
Fraser Valley Greens with Golden Beets, Feta Cheese, Candied Pecans, and Truffle Vinaigrette ($4). We’re normally not so opinionated, but we didn’t like this at all. The truffle vinaigrette tasted awful, and was so pungent and overpowering it sort of smothered the whole dish. The vegetables were fresh, but everything permeated with truffle oil so we just couldn’t eat it.
Artichoke and Wild Mushroom Bolognaise, Tagliatelle Pasta ($8). This was good, if not kind of basic. The flavours were a little dull, and we were hoping for more of a mushroom punch, which felt lacking. The Bolognaise sauce was seasoned nicely however, and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente.
Pan Seared Scallops with Truffle Potato Gnocchi and Crispy Artichokes ($10). We really enjoyed this dish. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the truffle potato gnocchi tasted light and complimented well.
Sean had the Lemon Mousse with Fresh Blueberries, Caramelized Honey and Lemon ($3).
Adrian had the Pavlova with Fresh Seasonal Berries ($3). The cranberries they used were delicious, and tasted great with the lemon curd and crispy, chewy Pavlova.
Jeremy had the Belgian Chocolate Marquise with Caramel Espresso Ice Cream ($3), which was probably the best of the three desserts. If you’re a fan of chocolate, definitely order this one!
Overall we really enjoyed our meal at JJ’s Dining Room, and would likely return outside of Meatless Movember so that we can try their protein based dishes, such as the Grilled Flank Steak or Lamb cooked two-ways — which Sean ordered and absolutely loved.
Our bill including tax for all of this food was roughly $55, so that’s obviously one of the biggest things JJ’s got going for it. We don’t really know of anywhere else where you can enjoy a lovely dining room with quality food at such a great price. JJ’s Dining Room also offers Dinner service, with a three-course menu set at just $24. Click here to check it out.
XX – The Food Gays
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