Saw some very good reviews online about Indochine Kitchen + Bar located on Broadway and Ontario Street in Vancouver, so I went onto their website on Wednesday afternoon to check out their menu!
Upon visiting their website, I thought it was a very worthy restaurant to check out, as Indochine Kitchen + Bar serves a variety of Asian fusion dishes. According to their site, their menu “consists of a truly special lineup of South East Asian cuisine ranging from Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indonesian delicacies.” Well, sounded awesome and I was very eager to try out their dishes!
They also have half-price wing specials on Wednesdays, so I definitely wanted to drop by that same night! On their homepage, though, they had a Tweet suggesting you make a reservation just in case because it might get busy…. So, I did just that and reserved online for one at 6:00 p.m. 🙂 And I was excited to go try them out. (Having the reservation for 6:00 was actually perfect, as it gave me enough time to head downtown to drop off my new book to a couple of former instructors from BCIT before getting to the restaurant for the food. Yay! 🙂 )
It was a hot day, so I had some tissue on me to wipe my off some sweat… and I disposed of it in a trash can just prior to walking into Indochine at 5:45. Thinking back, though, I should have hung on to the tissue. More on that later…
The evening got off to a great start as I was seated almost immediately upon entering, and I was handed two menus (one for drinks and the other for food) as I sat down. Perfect. The hostess even brought over a glass of water. So, everything was perfect right off the bat. As expected, it was busy in the restaurant already – and loud too, with everybody talking and seemingly having a good time.
However, it took several minutes before the hostess/server came over to take my order. I decided on a Coke and their Sriracha Buffalo Chicken Wings, which were traditional buffalo wings marinated with Sriracha hot sauce. I kept the food menu at my table because I still wanted to order a main dish afterward (or even another flavour of wings), but wanted to see first how the wings were so that I knew how much more I would be able to eat later. (Remember, at the last two places I had eaten out, Mr. Zhang’s and Firefighters’ Public House, I couldn’t finish what I ordered. And prior to that, I had struggled at Pizza Hut and Curry Zone. So, it was best to see how filling the wings were before ordering the next dish….)
The next problem I encountered was that the Coke took over five minutes to come. Hey, at least the hostess/server had brought over a glass of water when I first sat down, so I cut her some slack. (But it wasn’t iced water, haha. 😛 ) Also, as mentioned, it was busy in the restaurant and there were only three young ladies rushing around doing the hostessing, serving, and bartending – so, it was definitely understandable that things would be slow. (Eventually, I noticed two other ladies joining to help out, but they were definitely busy with their tasks.)
After a lengthy wait, the wings came, and I was eager to try them. What I had read online that excited me wasn’t just the fact they had wing specials on Wednesday; it was also the fact that their wings were really good. Mine came with ranch dipping sauce, which helped to balance out the spiciness. I found that the wings were better without the ranch sauce, but really, I didn’t find them that great. Yeah, I don’t really eat a lot of spicy food to begin with, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t know how to appreciate these Sriracha wings, but oh well. Sriracha, by the way, according to Wikipedia, is a hot sauce named after the coastal city of Si Racha in Eastern Thailand, where it was possibly first produced for dishes served at local seafood restaurants. This particular hot sauce is used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisines. These wings were spicy for sure, but other than that, they didn’t really wow me. They weren’t different from any other wings that I had tried before.
That’s actually not the main problem with the wings. Take a look at the following photo. Notice anything missing?
Well, what had happened was a second server (not the one who seated me) brought over my wings and, without a word (or a smile), promptly walked away to greet some newcomers. It was THAT busy. So, I didn’t even get a chance to say anything and she was gone. Whoa… No napkins or wet wipes for wings?!? Hello!?! (And also no small plate or anything for the bones.) Anyway, everyone was so busy running around that I couldn’t get anyone’s attention until I was almost halfway done with the wings. When I finally got a third server’s attention, I asked if they had any napkins or wet wipes. She brought two packages of wet wipes and a bucket for the bones, and apologized they hadn’t brought those two items over earlier. Well, the bucket was nice, as I could now dump the bones from the plate. 😦 I looked around and noticed that almost none of the other tables had any napkins, so apparently napkins wasn’t their thing at this restaurant! There was one table where a couple was sitting, though, where the wife had a piece of napkin. That was all that I spotted. In the whole restaurant.
Yes, I had tissue in my backpack, as well as a box of wet towels, but that was beside the point. I figured it was up to the restaurant to provide those things. 😦
After I had finished my wings, with all of these little hiccups, the smart move perhaps was to just ask for the bill. By that time, my phone was down to 29% and that meant if I were to surf the net on my phone while waiting for the next dish to come, my batteries would be so drained that I wouldn’t be able to take pictures of any more food. Around my table, there was no electrical outlet so I was out of luck if I wanted to charge my phone. (The only outlet I remember seeing was by the waiting area when I first walked into the restaurant.) Since Broadway has so many restaurants going in either direction anyway, the smart move perhaps would have been to get the bill, then go somewhere else that looked interesting and order a main dish, and possibly get my phone charged.
But hey, since this is a food blog, I wanted to take advantage of my first visit here to try something else on their menu. So, when the fourth server came around, I ordered their Singaporean Teriyaki instead of getting the bill. This dish was boneless chicken marinated in a Singaporean teriyaki, soy, and red wine reduction. It was served with rice. Well, what can I say… it was an all-chicken night for me. 🙂
The problem here, again, is the lack of napkins! The knife was a great touch, but the sauce had covered up the handle so it was pointless to use it – unless I wanted sticky fingers. As if they weren’t sticky enough already from the wings. Fortunately, the fork was still okay and didn’t get that much sauce along its handle. But it was going to be a messy meal. My fault here, because I didn’t think to ask for napkins/wet wipes the minute the server brought this dish over. As I was eating, I noticed that people were leaving and new diners had come in. All of a sudden, practically every table now had napkins! I also noticed that those who were waiting for wings (it was obvious what they were waiting for) already had buckets and small plates and forks and napkins set up at their tables prior to their wings arriving! What the!!
Again, all the servers were busy rushing around to help newcomers and do the bartending, etc., so I didn’t get the chance to get anyone’s attention. Needless to say, nobody really came to check on how I was doing. By the time I had only three pieces of chicken left, THEN the first server came to ask if I wanted another glass of Coke. I made sure to ask for napkins, and she brought one piece of napkin and one pack of wet wipes. Anyway, for the chicken, it was delicious, more so than the wings. The crispy skin on these boneless chicken pieces also made them taste very good. A little salty, but delicious. Had I gone with just this dish, then perhaps it would have been a superb dinner.
I mean, this was my first visit and although things started off very well, they just went downhill after that point. I suppose I could chalk this up as a one-off and give them another chance, but again, there are so many choices along Broadway that the average person would not come back given the little missteps that happened. Overall, a somewhat disappointing visit – since I’d had high expectations when I walked in.
I didn’t make any statement, though, when the bill came. I tipped the standard 15%, because after all, two wrongs don’t make a right. (I know from reading online, however, that some people wouldn’t have done this. I remember reading recently, a couple of restaurant reviewers named Grace O. and Tiffany C., for instance, commenting they left zero tips at different Japanese restaurants because of poor service received. I opted not to follow their leads.)
When: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
What: Sriracha Buffalo Wings; Singaporean Teriyaki
Where: Indochine Kitchen + Bar, 1 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC (Broadway and Ontario)
How Much: 50% off the wings because of their Wednesday specials, which came to C$5.25. The Singaporean Teriyaki was C$9.25. Coke, C$2.00.
Final Thoughts: It’s a great place to socialize and watch sports, as they have six flat-screen TVs mounted around the room. I didn’t mention this earlier, but on Wednesdays the other special is import bottled beers for only C$4.99. Other than a couple of different Japanese beers, they have beer from Singapore (Tiger), Thailand (Singha), the Philippines (San Miguel) on their menu. Because the tables are so close to each other, it will be very noisy when it’s busy. So, if you’re the type of person who prefers a quiet meal, you won’t enjoy the atmosphere. There’s also a small patio outside if you prefer too. And, be sure to make a reservation before coming. 🙂 For me personally, the wings weren’t as good as advertised. And they should have brought napkins without me having to ask. 😦 All in all, a disappointing evening as I had gone in with very high expectations.