Amongst Vancouver’s phenomenally diverse array of dining options, sushi has always been one of the most popular dining choices for casual diners and discerning critics alike. That said, with such an overabundance of choice, it is sometimes difficult to decide just where to go for good quality sushi at a reasonable price point. When our good friends over at VANEATS.ca invited Eating in Vancouver & the World to preview their upcoming 4 course dining pass at Kamei Royale, we enthusiastically accepted and headed downtown with high expectations.
“We are always searching for a better understanding of our customers’ needs and expectations. While retaining our famous traditional style, we are enhancing the healthful menu choices, creativity, and entertainment that Canadians value so Kamei Royale is loved by its loyal customers, local and from around the globe.” ~Hiroaki Masuda
With Japanese cuisine at the forefront, Vancouver has quickly become known internationally as one of the most prolific ‘foodie cities’ in the world. It is interesting to note that Kamei Royale was one of the first restaurants to introduce Vancouver to traditional Japanese food with its original branch at West Pender St. Introducing the concept of Japan-trained chefs specializing in sushi and sashimi, Kamei Royale is the earliest pioneer of Japanese cuisine in Vancouver and one of the most long-standing. Made famous by their resolute commitment to tradition and innovation, the Kamei Royale restaurant is a unique blend of the old and new with traditional bamboo dining rooms and a sleek, modern lounge and bar area.
1) “Crab Salad”, real crab mixed with avocado, mango, mayonnaise and tobiko
2) “Healthy Agedashi Tofu”, topped with okura mushrooms, edamame beans and lotus root
3) “Oda Roll”, a bold and unique roll with mango, avocado, cucumber and salmon. The tempura fresh water eel and cream cheese are torched before your eyes!
4) “Ice Cream Tempura”, vanilla ice cream deep fried in tempura batter, drizzled with chocolate and topped off with powdered sugar and a cherry
To start the meal off, we were served the Kamei Crab Salad served in a martini glass. The serving was very refreshing with a perfect blend of creamy mayo and fresh avocado. The thin slices of mango gave the entire salad a wonderful sweetness which contrasted nicely with the extremely subtle saltiness of the tobiko. Overall, a very smart and innovative take on a traditional crab salad, utilizing fresh vegetables and fruit to fully realize the inherent sweetness of the real crab meat.
Served warm in a deliciously fragrant layer of viscous sauce, the agedashi tofu was served impeccably crisp on the outside yet tender and moist on the inside. The traditional dish was kept conservative but still managed to construct a unique flavor profile with the thinly chopped lotus root and edamame beans. The tiny okura mushrooms were a novel inclusion that went exceedingly well with the sauce touched tofu. Truly an appetizer any Japanese restaurant would be proud to serve, simple and neat but remarkably tasty.
Now, as referenced above, Vancouver is home to hundreds of Japanese restaurants in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, many of whom serve sushi. In addition to serving the traditional fan favorites, Kamei Royale has been repeatedly recognized for their uncanny ability to combine normally incompatible ingredients into sushi rolls that keep loyal customers wanting more. What makes the Oda Roll so unique is that on top of each piece of a fairly traditional salmon mango roll is a piece of tempura fresh water eel and get this… cream cheese! Normally one would not think of pairing cream cheese with eel but strangely enough, the pairing works! A bit of a risky concoction but one that we think many will thoroughly enjoy trying for the first time.
Never content to be simply one of the pack, Kamei serves deep-fried tempura ice cream for dessert! The vanilla ice cream is very cold and sweet which is an interesting contrast to the fresh tempura batter. The powdered sugar and chocolate drizzle only serve to heighten the sweetness of this dish. A very satisfying end to a great meal and a wonderful note to end the evening on.
To wrap up with a few final thoughts, VANEATS.ca has built a reputation for creating dining passes of a quality and value that significantly surpass the cost. Their upcoming collaboration with Kamei Royale is no exception, the entire meal is of a very high quality at a remarkably low price point. For less than $20, we know of few Japanese restaurants capable of offering such a diverse yet balanced dining option. We sincerely believe the photos and accompanying words above paint the picture with no further elaboration. This was a great meal we will definitely be going back for when it is made available next month.
If you enjoyed the photos and review above, definitely check out the VANEATS.ca Kamei Royale video above to see all four dishes from the dinner we reviewed here. If you have seen and read enough and just want to eat, this “KAMEI KISS” dining pass will be available for a limited time for only $19 (before HST and gratuity). Head over to VANEATS.ca to buy your pass on May 30th at 7:00am and enjoy!