Ki at the Shangri-La

10 May

On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to attend a restaurant preview before it opens to the public.  A friend’s husband works for a company that had been taking care of the restaurant’s AV needs, so he was invited to check the restaurant out along with a few guests (myself included) for a free dinner.

I normally won’t be reviewing restaurants in Vancouver, since there are enough people covering that and I aim to focus only on the Fraser Valley.  However, since I had this opportunity, I thought it would be fabulous to start this site out with a review of this place.

Ki is a Japanese restaurant inside the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Vancouver (unfortunately there is no website to be found that I can link you to).  The decor inside is gorgeous!  I really should have attempted to take pictures, but I felt self-conscious enough taking pictures of our food.  Anyway, it has high ceilings, really funky lighting, dark wood paneled walls and these awesome looking high and round-shaped chairs in a few areas.  We had a booth, which felt very private and away from the rest of the guests.  The women’s bathroom was very nice, even though the doors slammed loudly behind you.  I especially loved the different style of sinks and faucets.  There were high quality disposable hand towels for drying your hands on, and each one had the restaurant’s name printed on it.

Our server for the evening was Alan, and I have to say he did an incredible job.  He was understandably nervous at first, but once we started asking him about sake and for his recommendations, he warmed up and was a pro throughout the rest of the evening.  Apparently they go through 3 days of training on the sake alone, so these waiters are extremely knowledgeable about their menu.  All the people who attended to us were so attentive – we were offered hot towels to clean our hands before the meal started, our water glasses were never empty, and we were offered a fresh glass of sake each time our glasses were beginning to run low.  Our chopsticks, silverware and plates were exchanged for fresh ones about four times throughout the 4 hours we were there, which was very impressive.  Once our dishes were finished, they were immediately whisked away.

We decided to order a variety of dishes throughout the evening and to share most of them, so we could try some new things and really get a feel for their menu.

I took pictures of the majority of what we ate, so be prepared for a barrage of photos.

Nori-wrapped Tuna.  Unfortunately this dish was a bit boring.  I enjoy tuna, and it was cooked excellently, but the flavour in this dish was quite bland.

Chicken + Leeks.  The chicken was absolutely perfect. I’m not a huge fan of leeks, but they were rather tasty.

Pancetta Wrapped Unagi. This was fabulous! I’d never had eel before, but the crunchiness combined with the softness of the pancetta was so delicious.

These rolls were beautiful.  At the back left you have a Futomaki roll, on the right is a Spicy Avocado roll and up front is a Lobster Tempura Roll.

The Futomaki was comprised of goji berry, spinach, braised shitake, cucumber and Pretz sticks. Very interesting flavour. Kinda weird to have pretzel sticks in sushi, even though they were only in the top 2 rolls.  I didn’t try the Spicy Avocado roll, but according to my friends it was definitely not spicy.  The Lobster Tempura roll was my favourite.  It was melt in your mouth incredible.  The nuttiness of the lobster, combined with the avocado and the dipping sauce provided was heavenly.  I could have just eaten that roll all night and been a happy woman.

Miso Chowder with seafood chunks. The combination of miso flavour and seafood is excellent.  The soup was so tasty.  The amount of seafood chunks was a bit disappointing, but the flavour of the lobster and shrimp were definitely noticeable.

Duck Confit.  This was my second time having duck, and this was very good. I really liked the pickled green beans and cabbage.  The miso vinaigrette added a lot of excellent flavour to the duck.

Spider Roll.  This roll was disappointing (to me at least).  The rolls weren’t rolled properly, so they fell apart pretty easily.  I don’t like mango, so the combination of that plus the softshell crab which was a little over-cooked made for an uninteresting roll.  Normally this is a roll I love, but this one fell a little bit short.

In the background, Pork Loin, which I didn’t try.  In the foreground, Black Tiger Shrimp Tempura.  The tempura was served with normal tempura dipping sauce, as well as roasted garlic mayo.  The mayo would have been good with fries or another dish, but with tempura it was really strange – I just stuck with the brown sauce.

There were several other dishes that we tried that I didn’t take pictures of, but those are the majority of the main course dishes we ate throughout the evening.  We all thought the food was excellent, and were impressed with the attentiveness of the staff.

We each had different desserts.  I had the Flourless Chocolate Cake which was decadently rich, and tasted like fantastic chocolate mousse.

Overall it was a fabulous experience, and I’m so glad we got a chance to test out the restaurant before it opens.  I highly recommend visiting if you’re looking for a nicer evening out on the town.  I’m not sure when the restaurant officially is open to the public, but I’m sure it will do well.

Ki Modern Japanese & Bar on Urbanspoon

One Response to “Ki at the Shangri-La”

  1. Dayna May 11, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    I’ve had the food at Shangri-La before and it is divine!! Awesome blog so far, Sharon! Good on ya 🙂

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