This afternoon I met up with a friend of mine for lunch that I haven’t seen all that much lately (I think he’s been in hibernation for the winter). We needed to find somewhere fairly quick since we both didn’t have a whole lot of time, and I knew that the old Jonkers on Pacific was no longer there and had been recently replaced by a Southeast Asian restaurant called Fresh Bowl. Well as it turns out, it still has the same owners and they have just revamped the place to give it a much cleaner face-lift.
Walking in, it’s a whole different look and feel now. There’s bright funky colours everywhere, from the seats to lights, and it seems that it’s a bit of a smaller space now in terms of room for sit-down diners. Instead of getting seated right away, it’s also more of a self-service style where patrons go up to the counter and order from a menu board overhead (they’ll then bring the food to your table once it’s ready).
Taking a look, I decided to try something that I haven’t had before to drink with my meal – the Calamansi Shaken Iced Tea. My friend said he’d had it a lot growing up as it was a popular Filipino juice growing up, and mentioned it can be quite sweet at times. Calamansi is a small type of citrus fruit that seems to be a cross between a lime (in terms of the green outer peel) and an orange or tangerine on the inside. It was actually quite good and wasn’t overly sweetened in this case, which I really liked. Be forewarned of the leaky lid though – I tipped the cup ever so slightly to take a sip, and spilled a fair bit on the worst spot possible on my lap. And it was enough to be kind of embarrassed when walking down the street afterward.
First we tried the Roti. It was crispy, not overly greasy (for something fried, that is) and had a great subtle doughy flavour. The dipping sauce was spicy and complemented the flatbread really well. I was quite content with this appetizer and would definitely return to have it again.
The Beef Satay came with a fresh peanut sauce. As I’ve said a few times before, I’m not really into peanut sauce of any kind, so I’m not the best judge of it for those that do like it. I did notice that it wasn’t ground down into a smooth paste, but had bits of nut still throughout, and it was slightly different in taste from any others that I’ve had – less sweet and slightly more tangy. The beef itself was quite tender, but nothing really sparked my interest too much here. I would probably pass on this one next time around.
When my Singapore Laksa came, I was pleasantly surprised by a few things. There were about 5 tender, large and juicy, cooked-just-right prawns in it (this dish can also be ordered with chicken), and I found the broth to be rich and creamy and very flavourful. Also, there were a large variety of veggies, including bean sprouts, carrots, and red and green peppers, along with thin rice noodles to savour. The only problem I had with the soup was I kept dropping things with my chopsticks (those noodles were slippery little devils!) and half of it ended up splashing on my face and all over my hair and sweater. Maybe it was just me…
The other nice touch that I noticed was the cucumber water. There were two jugs of water with the cutlery and napkins – one was plain iced water, and the other had slices of cucumber in it. I opted for that one, and it was quite refreshing and had just a hint of flavour to it – a nice change from the usual lemon or lime.
All in all, I was satisfied with our quick and tasty meal. However, keep in mind that the servings aren’t all that large for the prices, but it is located in Yaletown, so it wasn’t really anything unexpected. What I noticed on their takeout menu as well is that they also provide delivery as of January (so I’m assuming that’s already kicked into gear). The bright decor and friendly staff were great, and it was good to see they’d put a little more life into the restaurant with all of the renovations. It definitely lives up to it’s name, and both the food and the atmosphere is fresh.
1128 Pacific Blvd
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2X7