I’ve wanted to go to Calabash Bistro for dinner ever since I went on the Vancouver Food Tour Craft Cocktail Tour back in August. It seemed like a really cool place to have a nice Caribbean meal. It’s a really cool place, to hangout with a live band sometimes downstairs on some nights. I went there one night and it turns out the basement turns into a sort of club too. Last week I finally got to go for the food.
Me and a friend got there early, so we started snacking. We ordered one of each of the patties – Chicken, Beef, and Vegetable – for $3 each, and also some roti. This is my first time having patties, and the filling was pretty similar to the samosa, but I thought the dough was a lot flakier. It was really good, with many different spices used. There was a bit of heat there too. All though we got one of each patty, it was kind of hard to tell the difference between each of the patties because they all basically had the same ingredients inside, potatoes and some peas. The meat inside was ground, so it was kind of overpowered by all the spices. When I saw the prices, I was like $3 isn’t that much for a patty, but in retrospect, you can usually get 2-3 samosas for a dollar at some places. The roti was pretty good, but I wished the dip had a bit more flavour to it. It was too mild for my liking.
When the rest of our friends got there, we ordered a jerk poutine to start. For our mains, I got the Oxtail, while my friends got the Ackee and Saltfish, the Jerkboard (which was Catfish that day), Curry Chicken, and another Oxtail. The poutine wasn’t very special. It was served in a bowl with some gravy, brie cheese, green onions and some jerk seasoning on the fries. The gravy sank immediately to the bottom, and none of the top fries had much gravy. We actually questioned if there was any gravy at all. Overall it was a bit disappointing.
The oxtail was really good. It came in 3 metal bowls that were stacked on top of each other. One was the oxtail, the other was rice, and the last one was a spinach salad. The oxtail was stewed and had excellent flavour, with the perfect amount of spiciness. Just enough so I can taste and feel it, but not leaving me wanting to drink a ton of water. It was mixed with potatoes and some other root vegetables. I wished there was more oxtail though, I couldn’t get enough of it. Nice amount of fat in it, and very tender. The seasoned rice came with this ball of fried dense dough that was very good also. I haven’t had anything like it, and the flavour was very unique. I think it was a bit sweet, and a bit of curry flavour, but it was absolutely delicious. The salad was a pretty standard salad with a nice sweet vinaigrette.
The kitchen did mess up the orders a bit, so the two that ordered the fish got there’s quite a bit after the rest of ours got our food. The Curry Chicken was wrapped in a roti and was just OK. She actually wanted half rice, half roti, but they can’t do that. My friends were really happy with their fish dishes though. The flavours from the spices were very good. Depending on your palette you will find it a bit spicy to just moderately spicy. I don’t think anything was overkill for us. Cool place to hang out in Gastown. We’ll definitely go back. Thanks for bringing me to Calabash Mel.
428 Carrall Street